In addition to releasing iOS 13, Apple on Thursday also rolled out the watchOS 6 update to select Apple Watch models. Apart from new apps like Noise and Voice Memos as well as features such as menstrual cycle tracking and the ability to install apps directly from the watch itself, the update brings new health-focussed features to India. First is notifications for irregular heart rhythm (A-fib detection), which will be available to all Apple Watch models that receive the watch OS 6 update. Additionally, Apple Watch Series 4 users will now be able to record electrocardiograms using the built-in ECG app. The features will also be available in Apple Watch Series 5 when it goes on sale in the country next week.
Atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, is an abnormal heart rhythm, which indicates rapid and irregular beating of the heart. Sometimes, it’s accompanied by other symptoms like chest pain, but quite often, there are no outwards signs. If left untreated, A-fib can result in stroke, which makes timely detection of A-fib extremely important.
The irregular rhythm notification feature can occasionally check heart rhythms in the background and send a notification if an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is identified. Apple notes that the Apple Watch is not constantly looking for A-fib, so all instances of A-fib may not be detected.
However, if irregular heart rhythm such as A-fib is identified on five rhythm checks over a minimum of 65 minutes, a notification will be generated to alert the user.
Available only to Apple Watch Series 4 (and newer) users, the ECG app requires a more active approach from the users. Electrodes built into the back crystal of the watch as well as the Digital Crown work together to enable users to take an electrocardiogram from the convenience of their home or office. Just fire up the ECG app on the Apple Watch, touch the crown, and watch the app count down 30 seconds.
Each heart rhythm is then classified as A-fib, sinus rhythm, or inconclusive. Apple says that all recordings and their associated classifications as well as any noted symptoms are stored in the Health app on iPhone. If needed, users can share a PDF of the results with physicians.
watchOS 6 update
watchOS 6 update brings new features and apps like Calculator, Cycle Tracking, Voice Memos, Noise, a native App Store, and more. New watch faces include Modular Compact, Solar Dial, California, Gradient, and Numerals.