Family Setup in watchOS 7 lets your non-iPhone-owning relatives enjoy the health and fitness features of the Apple Watch. But families buying the new Series 6 Apple Watch for grandma may run into a serious annoyance—it turns out that the Series 6’s selling point, its blood oxygen monitor, is disabled on Apple Watches running on the Family Setup system.
Apple’s support page states that “the Blood Oxygen app is not available if you set up your Apple Watch with Family Setup.” But the company hasn’t clarified why Family Setup disables the blood oxygen monitor. Is it a hardware limitation, or is Apple trying to prevent people from using its non-FDA-approved Blood Oxygen app for “medical” purposes?
The Blood Oxygen app is also unavailable to people under the age of 18, even if they own their own iPhone. Apple keeps track of users’ age through the Health app, which asks for a birth date during setup.
Activating Family Setup on a relative’s Apple Watch will not affect the functionality of your iPhone or Apple Watch. This limitation only affects family members using a Series 6 Apple Watch without their own, personal iPhone. Other health monitoring features, such as fall detection and ECG, are unaffected by Family Setup.