Apple Says watchOS 5.1.2 Coming Today With ECG App Enabled on Apple Watch Series 4

Apple has announced that watchOS 5.1.2 will be publicly released today and will enable the long-awaited ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 models in the United States. The update will also enable irregular heart rhythm notifications on Apple Watch Series 1, Series 2, Series 3, and Series 4 models.

iphone apple watch ecg
watchOS 5.1.2 should be available through the Apple Watch app on a paired iPhone around 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time as usual.

Apple's COO and Apple Watch team head Jeff Williams:

Apple Watch has helped so many people around the world and we are humbled that it has become such an important part of our customers' lives. With the release of these heart features, Apple Watch takes the next step in empowering people with more information about their health.

Last week, MacRumors was first to report that watchOS 5.1.2 will enable the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 models, based on an internal Apple Store training document. ECG data will be available in the Health app and exportable via PDF on an iPhone 5s or newer, after updating to iOS 12.1.1 released yesterday.

watchOS 5.1.2 will feature an Apple-designed ECG app that can indicate whether your heart rhythm shows signs of atrial fibrillation, a serious form of irregular heart rhythm, or a normal sinus rhythm. This is possible thanks to new electrodes built into the back crystal and Digital Crown on Series 4 models.

Apple Watch Series 4 is capable of generating an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram, according to the FDA. Both the ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications are regulated features that have received De Novo classification from the FDA, making them available over the counter.

The ECG app will check heart rhythm every few hours or so, and if there are five consecutive readings that appear to be abnormal, the Apple Watch will alert the user to see a doctor. As for notifications, users will be alerted if an irregular heart rhythm is detected on five checks over a minimum of 65 minutes.

Importantly, in an internal document obtained by MacRumors, Apple cautioned that the ECG app is "not intended to be a diagnostic device or to replace traditional methods of diagnosis," and "should not be used to monitor or track disease state or change medication without first talking to a doctor."

To take an ECG reading from the Apple Watch, users will need to place a finger on the Digital Crown while wearing the watch. The reading is completed in 30 seconds, allowing users to determine whether their hearts are beating in a regular pattern or if there are signs of atrial fibrillation.

Apple says the ECG app's accuracy was validated in a clinical trial of around 600 participants in the United States:

Rhythm classification from a gold standard 12-lead ECG by a cardiologist was compared to the rhythm classification of a simultaneously collected ECG from the ECG app. The study found the ECG app on Apple Watch demonstrated 98.3 percent sensitivity in classifying AFib and 99.6 percent specificity in classifying sinus rhythm in classifiable recordings. In the study, 87.8 percent of recordings could be classified by the ECG app.

Apple is making good on its promise of making the ECG app available by year's end. watchOS 5.1.2 has been in beta testing since November 7, but the ECG app was nowhere to be found during the pre-release period.

Apple says the setup process for these heart health features will include details about who can use the features, what the features can and cannot do, what results users may get and how to interpret them, and instructions for what to do if users are feeling symptoms that require immediate medical attention.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 9
Tag: ECG
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

SteveOfTheStow Avatar
71 months ago
And 99% of users will try it once, find out their heart is normal and never touch it again, despite vehemently demanding it every day for the past 2 months.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Piggie Avatar
71 months ago
Fingers crossed. :rolleyes:
Not sure it will work correctly if you keep your fingers crossed ;)
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Return Zero Avatar
71 months ago
And 99% of users will try it once, find out their heart is normal and never touch it again.
True... Statistically, the percentage of people who don't have any heart rhythm issues is more like 95%. However, for that remaining 5%, including my wife who has SVT, it is literally a potential life saver!
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Steve121178 Avatar
71 months ago
so, do i have to permanently (until it comes to UK/EU) move my AppleID to US to make ECG work properly?
It should be approved in the EU/UK by around 2053, just in time for the iPhone 28s & Apple Watch 19.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tromboneaholic Avatar
71 months ago
And 99% of users will try it once, find out their heart is normal and never touch it again, despite vehemently demanding it every day for the past 2 months.
Irregular heart rhythm notifications will also be enabled in watchOS 5.1.2 on Series 1 through Series 4.

Hopefully less than 1% of users need this feature as well, but it will be a passive feature that doesn't require anything besides wearing the watch.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thadoggfather Avatar
71 months ago
I’m infinitely curious how well or not well this works, since Apple software quality control (in general not just the watch) has taken a serious nosedive in the past several years

5.1 bricked watches! 5.1.1 fixed it supposedly, and now 5.1.2 will be in control of your ECG monitoring. That’s quite the progression
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

Troubling iOS 17.5 Bug Reportedly Resurfacing Old Deleted Photos

Wednesday May 15, 2024 5:29 am PDT by
There are concerning reports on Reddit that Apple's latest iOS 17.5 update has introduced a bug that causes old photos that were deleted – in some cases years ago – to reappear in users' photo libraries. After updating their iPhone, one user said they were shocked to find old NSFW photos that they deleted in 2021 suddenly showing up in photos marked as recently uploaded to iCloud. Other...
CarPlay Sound Recognition

Apple Previews Three New CarPlay Features Coming With iOS 18

Wednesday May 15, 2024 9:18 am PDT by
Apple today previewed new accessibility features coming with iOS 18 later this year, and this includes some new options for CarPlay. Apple highlighted three new features coming to CarPlay: Voice Control: This feature will allow users to navigate CarPlay and control apps with just their voice. Color Filters: This feature will make the CarPlay interface visually easier to use for...
General Apps Messages

iMessage Down for Some Users [Update: Service Restored]

Thursday May 16, 2024 3:00 pm PDT by
The iMessage service that Apple users to send messages to one another appears to be down for some users, and messages are failing to go out or are taking an extra long time to send. There are numerous reports about the issue on social networks and a spike of outage reports on Down Detector, but Apple's System Status page is not yet reporting an outage. Update: Apple's status page says...
apple tv 4k red image

Apple Releases tvOS 17.5

Monday May 13, 2024 10:01 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 17.5, the fifth update update to the tvOS 17 operating system that came out last September. tvOS 17.5 comes two months after the release of tvOS 17.4. tvOS 17.5 can be downloaded using the Settings app on the ‌Apple TV‌. Go to System > Software Update to get the new software. ‌Apple TV‌ owners who have automatic software updates activated will be upgraded to ...
ChatGPT for Mac

OpenAI Announces ChatGPT App for Mac, GPT-4 for Free, and More

Monday May 13, 2024 10:43 am PDT by
At its Spring Update event, OpenAI announced that it will be releasing a desktop app for the Mac, as seen in the screenshot below. The app will be rolling out to ChatGPT Plus subscribers starting today, ahead of a wider launch "in the coming weeks." "With a simple keyboard shortcut (Option + Space), you can instantly ask ChatGPT a question," OpenAI's press release says. In addition, Voice...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With the New M4 OLED iPad Pro

Wednesday May 15, 2024 10:40 am PDT by
Today is the official launch day of the new iPad Pro models, and these updated tablets mark the biggest feature and design refresh that we've seen for the iPad Pro in several years. We picked up one of the new 13-inch models to check out everything new. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. When it comes to design, Apple is still offering 11-inch and 13-inch size options ...