Changing Your Apple Watch or iPhone's Region Won't Enable ECG App Outside of United States

Apple today released watchOS 5.1.2, which enables the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 models. However, as Apple made clear, the ECG app is currently only available in the United States and its territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, preventing it from being used internationally at this time.

applewatchseries4ecgfeature
Many software features on Apple devices are initially limited to the United States, but international users have often been able to simply change their iPhone or Apple Watch region to the United States to gain access.

That's not the case with the the ECG app on the Apple Watch Series 4, though, as it only functions on models purchased in the United States. Those who live in and bought an Apple Watch in Canada, the UK, or elsewhere abroad can't use the region-switching trick to enable the ECG app — it doesn't work.

Note that the ECG app requires an Apple Watch Series 4 with watchOS 5.1.2, paired with an iPhone 5s or newer with iOS 12.1.1.

Both the ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications are regulated features on the Apple Watch. Both features have been granted De Novo classification by the FDA for users 22 years and older in the United States. Apple says people already diagnosed with atrial fibrillation should not use the app.

It's unclear when the ECG app will expand to additional countries, but Apple Watch Series 4 models sold internationally do have the necessary electrical heart sensor. Apple is likely in the process of gaining clearance for the ECG app in other countries, but it has yet to comment on wider availability.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 7
Tag: ECG
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

konqerror Avatar
47 months ago
This is not the type of innovation we want Tim! :mad:
Nothing to do with Tim. Selling an unapproved medical device is a serious crime in nearly all countries. For example, an unlimited fine and 6 months jail in the UK.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
porkrind Avatar
47 months ago
WOW! **** you Apple!

I love how the ********s waited with releasing this information so people who bought on release day cannot return the watch.

I bet you'll need to buy a new shiny ECG enabled model if you want the feature after it's approved by your country too.
This is a bunch of *********. They said during the keynote that this functionality would be US-only until other approvals roll in. Once those approvals happen, there's no reason at all to think that they won't be able to enable the functionality just exactly as they did for the US today.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rmoliv Avatar
47 months ago
Pay for something you cannot use even if you moved to the US because your watch was purchased elsewhere. Ridiculous. Doesn’t make sense.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
aldanger99 Avatar
47 months ago
"That's not the case with the the ECG app on the Apple Watch Series 4, though, as it only functions on models purchased in the United States"

So this begs the question: can I just buy a series 4 while in the U.S. (I'm Canada based), bring it home and enjoy the feature? We used to do this with the original iPhone before Canada got them and have done so with lots of tech stuff in the past. If the unit itself is a U.S. model and I set my region to the U.S., which I have already done to get the Apple News App, will I be able to use the ECG feature? Might have to investigate this one with a trip south!
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bbednarz Avatar
47 months ago
Pay for something you cannot use even if you moved to the US because your watch was purchased elsewhere. Ridiculous. Doesn’t make sense.
The advertising was pretty clear that this was only going to be available in the USA. They cannot change the health laws of other countries.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mgollaher92 Avatar
47 months ago
That's really a pity, what's the point that I got an ECG built-in Apple Watch 4? I'm from UK.
They were pretty clear it would be US only for the time being when they announced it. You can't just willy nilly sell something that performs ECG functionality because you feel like it. Looks like they had to do a lot of work for this to even be advertised as such in the US. Plus it's the first over the counter device of its kind that can do an ECG.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

top stories 2jul2022

Top Stories: M2 MacBook Air Release Date, New HomePod Rumor, and More

Saturday July 2, 2022 6:00 am PDT by
The M2 MacBook Pro has started making its way into customers' hands and we're learning more about how it performs in a variety of situations, but all eyes are really on the upcoming M2 MacBook Air which has seen a complete redesign and should be arriving in a couple of weeks. Other top stories this week included a host of product rumors including additional M2 and even M3 Macs, an updated...
Mac Studio IO

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished Mac Studio Models

Thursday June 30, 2022 7:42 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling refurbished Mac Studio models for the first time in the United States, Canada, and select European countries, such as Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, two refurbished Mac Studio configurations are currently available, including one with the M1 Max chip (10-core CPU and 24-core GPU) for...
airpods pro 2 1

AirPods Pro 2 No Longer Expected to Feature Built-In Heart Rate or Body Temperature Sensor

Sunday July 3, 2022 8:07 pm PDT by
While past rumors have indicated the upcoming second-generation AirPods Pro will feature a built-in heart rate and body temperature sensor, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has cast doubt on those rumors turning out to be true, saying instead such a feature is unlikely to come anytime soon. "Over the past few months, there have been rumors about this year's model gaining the ability to determine a...
Apple Watch 8 Unreleased Feature Thumb

Apple Watch Series 8 Model Rumored to Feature 5% Larger Display

Monday July 4, 2022 5:50 am PDT by
Apple is working on an Apple Watch Series 8 model with a larger display, according to DSCC's Ross Young and Haitong International Securities's Jeff Pu. In October last year, Young suggested that the Apple Watch Series 8 could come in three display sizes. Now, responding to a query about the rumor on Twitter, Young claims that the additional display size joining the Apple Watch lineup will be ...
macbook air m2

Exclusive: Apple Plans to Launch MacBook Air With M2 Chip on July 15

Wednesday June 29, 2022 5:23 pm PDT by
The redesigned MacBook Air with the all-new M2 Apple silicon chip will be available for customers starting Friday, July 15, MacRumors has learned from a retail source. The new MacBook Air was announced and previewed during WWDC earlier this month, with Apple stating availability will begin in July. The MacBook Air features a redesigned body that is thinner and lighter than the previous...