After releasing the iOS 12.1.1 for the iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch, Apple rolled out the new watchOS 5.1.1 for all the Watch series models. However, this update is more important for the latest Watch Series 4, as it unlocks the long-awaited ECG (Electrocardiography) readout feature.
Apple worked with government-run Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for several years and finally got the De Novo classification for the ECG app and the irregular heart rhythm notification feature, making the features available on Apple Watches.
The irregular rhythm notification feature on Apple Watch can now also occasionally check heart rhythms in the background and send a notification if an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be atrial fibrillation (AFib) is identified. AFib if left undetected can cause stroke and is said to be the second most common cause of death in the world.
As of now, the ECG app for Watch Series 4 is available in the US region only and Apple is said to be in talks with other local governments in global regions to make it available to more people. Even in India, the Watch Series 4(review) has all the necessary hardware and once the company gets the nod, the ECG read-out app will be activated with a software update.
Here's how to get ECG readout on Watch Series 4:
The new electrodes built into the back crystal and the Digital Crown of the Apple Watch Series 4 works together with the ECG app to enable customers to take an ECG similar to a single-lead reading.
Step 1: Launch the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 and hold your finger on the Digital Crown. This will complete the circuit and the electrical signals across their heart will be measured.
Step 2: After 30 seconds, the heart rhythm is classified as either AFib, sinus rhythm or inconclusive.
Apple, a well known strong advocate of the user privacy, has assured that all the data and the associated classifications including any noted symptoms will be stored securely in the Health app on iPhone. Users can share a PDF of the results with physicians.
Also, the watchOS 5.1.2 also brings 'Irregular Rhythm Notification' app, which will detect most cases of arrhythmia. This condition causes a sudden spike in heartbeats and also too low heartbeats.
This app will be available to all from Watch Series 1 to the latest Series 4, as it makes use of optical heart sensor.
This Irregular Rhythm Notification feature will occasionally check the user's heart rhythm in the background for signs of an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be AFib and alerts the user with a notification if an irregular rhythm is detected on five rhythm checks over a minimum of 65 minutes.
"We are confident in the ability of these features to help users have more informed conversations with their physicians," Sumbul Desai, MD, Apple's vice president of Health said in a statement.
"With the ECG app and irregular rhythm notification feature, customers can now better understand aspects of their heart health in a more meaningful way."Desai added.
Here's how to install watchOS 5.1.2 on your Apple Watch:
For those unaware, the new watchOS 5.1.2 is available to the Watch Series 1, 2 and 3(review) and 4. It is being rolled out in phases, so it might take a few hours depending on the network connectivity of your area.
You can manually check for the software update on your connected iPhone. Also, it will only upgrade to the new watchOS only if your iPhone runs the latest iOS 12 update.
Step 1: Go to Watch app on your iPhone >> tap General>> Software Update>> check for the update
Step 2: You will get a prompt to download and install>> accept it
Step 3: Once the accepted, it will take a few minutes to download and initiate the installation procedure.
Note: Make sure the Apple Watch is on the Charging pad during the entire installation procedure and also make sure it is near the companion iPhone connected to Wi-Fi.
Step 4: Once done, the companion Apple iPhone will notify you that the installation is complete and you are good to go.