Apple on Wednesday released watchOS 7 to the public, and the latest operating system for compatible Apple Watch models also brought ECG and irregular heart rhythm notifications to users in Colombia, Israel, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates for the first time.
Apple Watch Series 4, 5, and 6 users can generate an ECG waveform in just 30 seconds by placing their finger on the Digital Crown. The idea is that you can take this information to your doctor, if the results are abnormal, and use it as a basis to discover if you have any larger issues at hand.
The irregular rhythm notification feature also intermittently checks heart rhythms in the background and sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm is identified that could potentially be atrial fibrillation (AFib).
Atrial fibrillation is a health condition that often goes undiagnosed, so ECG app and heart rhythm alerts on Apple Watch will be highly useful for detecting early signs of disease. ECG readings also normally require a full ECG machine and a visit to the doctor, which is far less convenient than a reading taken with the Apple Watch.
Apple routinely has to gain approval from government health agencies before marketing the Apple Watch’s ECG feature in different countries. Apple won U.S. FDA clearance to promote the function when the Apple Watch Series 4 launched in 2018.