Apple has released an update to Apple Watch that adds significant new health features to the Apple Watch Series 4, including an ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications.
The WatchOS 5.1.2 update arrives along with iOS 12.1.1 for iPhone and iPad and MacOS Mojave 10.14.2 for Mac.
Of course watchOS 5.1.2 also includes bug fixes, refinements, and some other capabilities for Apple Watch, but the biggest new feature is the inclusion of the health functions, including the ECG app. The release notes for watchOS 5.1.2 are further below.
Updating to WatchOS 5.1.2
Updating watchOS is done through the paired iPhone:
- Open the Apple Watch app on iPhone, then go to “My Watch”
- Go to “General” and then to “Software Update”
- Install watchOS 5.1.2 when it shows as available
A quick side note; you can use this trick to speed up slow Apple Watch software updates.
Remember, only the Apple Watch Series 4 (or later) will support the ECG and irregular heart rhythm features, so if you have an earlier model then you will not have those features available even if you update to the latest watchOS release. Additionally, the ECG feature is currently limited to the USA, but is likely to roll out to other countries and regions as Apple gets the necessary local approvals to do so.
Setting Up & Using the Apple Watch ECG
After you have updated to watchOS 5.1.2 on an Apple Watch Series 4, then you can use the ECG:
- Open the Watch app on iPhone
- Go to Health Data, then to “Heart” and choose to setup the ECG app
You can learn more about the ECG and Afib detection features of new Apple Watch models in the Apple press release here.
Apple Watch “Real Stories” Videos
Along with the release of watchOS 5.1.2, Apple has released a handful of powerful and touching stories from real Apple Watch users, where the devices features proved vital to their lives:
The first video is titled “Real Stories” and is roughly four minutes long, covering several different stories where an Apple Watch impacted their lives in various ways. The text accompanying the video on YouTube describes the video as follows:
“People reach out to Apple all the time to share how Apple Watch has become an indispensable part of their lives. Here are some of their stories.”
The second video is titled “Real Stories: Michael” and tells the story of how an individual was alerted to a serious medical condition thanks to Apple Watch. The accompanying descriptive text on YouTube describes the video as so:
“Many people reach out to Apple to share how receiving heart rate notifications on Apple Watch has helped them recognize and react to serious conditions. Here is Michael’s story.”
These compelling stories, combined with the myriad of health features on Apple Watch (and to a lesser extent, iPhone), are sure to increase the popularity of these devices for the health conscious.
watchOS 5.1.2 Release Notes
Release notes for the latest Apple Watch system software as follows:
This update includes new features, improvements and bug fixes:
– New ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 (US and US territories only)
— Allows you to take an electrocardiogram similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram.
— Can indicate whether your heart rhythm shows signs of atrial fibrillation—a serious form of irregular heart rhythm—or sinus rhythm, which means your heart is beating in a normal pattern.
— Saves ECG waveform, classification and any noted symptoms in a PDF on the Health app on iPhone to share with your doctor.
– Adds the ability to receive an alert if an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be atrial fibrillation is detected (US and US territories only).
– Enables direct access to supported movie tickets, coupons and rewards cards in Wallet when tapped to a contactless reader.
– Receive notifications and animated celebrations when you achieve daily maximum points in a day during an Activity competition.
– New Infograph complications for Mail, Maps, Messages, Find My Friends, Home, News, Phone and Remote.
– Manage your availability for Walkie-Talkie from Control Center.
Separately, Apple released an update to tvOS for Apple TV, iOS 12.1.1 for iPhone and iPad, and MacOS Mojave 10.14.2 for Mac.