Users won’t have to wait for Apple Watch Series 6’s blood oxygen sensor

For the first time, there's a Product Red Apple Watch.
The blood oxygen sensor on the new Apple Watch is big news.
Photo: Apple

Fans had to wait quite a few months before the ECG feature on the Apple Watch Series 4 went live. The feature only switched on in the U.S. three months after the device shipped, and users elsewhere had to wait even longer.

This year’s big Apple Watch Series 6 update — the blood oxygen sensor — won’t have a similar delay, however. According to Apple’s list of watchOS features, the Blood Oxygen app will seemingly be available from day one in the United States and a whole lot more countries as well.

You can see the whole list here. It includes more than 100 markets around the world — with one notable exception being China.

Blood oxygen sensor: The big new Apple Watch feature

The blood oxygen sensor is the big new feature of Apple Watch Series 6. Particularly useful in the year of COVID-19, the blood oxygen sensor promises to provide an early warning relating to a number of different health problems.

“Oxygen saturation, also known as SpO2, is like a vital sign,” said Dr. Sumbul Ahmad Desai, Apple’s VP of health, during Tuesday’s “Time Flies” event. It’s a key measurement that contains critical information about your breathing and circulation.”

“Blood oxygen and pulse oximetry are terms that we’ve heard a lot about during the COVID pandemic,” Desai continued. “As you breathe, your heart and lungs work together to deliver oxygen throughout your body, but oxygen saturation is an indication of how well the system is functioning and of your overall respiratory and cardiac health. And pulse oximetry is how you measure it.”

This year’s Apple Watch Series 6 update is not one of the biggest updates in Apple Watch history. In fact, the more exciting Apple Watch is the new Apple Watch SE, which offers a lot of the Apple Watch core functionality at a lower price. However, the blood oxygen sensor certainly sounds useful. It’s good to know that users seemingly won’t be waiting around for it.

Apple Watch Series 6 starts shipping Friday.