Rumor Claims watchOS 7 Will Have 'Mental Health Capabilities' to Detect Panic Attacks

Apple's next-generation Apple Watch and watchOS 7 will focus on new mental health capabilities, according to leaker Jon Prosser who recently spoke on the Geared Up podcast. The mention of new Apple Watch features comes towards the end of the podcast.


The next-generation version of the Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Series 6, has been rumored to include a blood oxygen sensor, which Prosser says Apple will take advantage of to implement new mental health-related features, such as detecting panic attacks.

What their biggest focus on is right now and I hope it comes this year, it might come next year, but I hope it's coming to WWDC is mental health capabilities. Where they can take the oxygen levels in your blood with your heart rate and determine if you're hyperventilating.

They can identify a panic attack before it happens and warn you on your watch. Especially if you're driving, they'll ask you to pull over and they'll offer breathing exercises once you get pulled over.

Prosser says that while he hopes the feature is released this year, "it might come next year." He also says he hopes for a WWDC unveiling, but if the new feature relies on a blood oxygen sensor in an unreleased version of the Apple Watch, it's not likely Apple will unveil the capability until the fall when new Apple Watch models that support it are released.

There is, however, a possibility that it will be revealed at WWDC if older Apple Watch models have a latent ability to detect blood oxygen level, which is not clear at this time, or if the feature does not involve blood oxygen monitoring.

The panic attack detecting rumor was first shared by EverythingApplePro and leaker Max Weinbach back in April, who said that the Apple Watch will also be able to determine when a user is experiencing high levels of stress. Weinbach and EverythingApplePro did not suggest the feature would rely on blood oxygen monitoring, however, and said that it would be available on the Apple Watch Series 4 or later.

Hints that blood oxygen tracking capabilities are coming to a future version of the Apple Watch were found in a leaked version of iOS 14. Blood oxygen monitoring is an important feature because a drop in blood oxygen levels can suggest a serious respiratory or cardiac problem that requires immediate medical attention.

Multiple prior rumors from Bloomberg and other sources have also indicated that the next-generation Apple Watch and ‌watchOS 7‌ will include sleep tracking features, allowing the Apple Watch to measure sleep quality, length, and other metrics.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

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24 weeks ago
You: Thinking how much you just spent on another Apple product
Apple Watch: You’re having a panic attack
Score: 78 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 weeks ago
good way to make people more anxious
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 weeks ago
Apple has been using a plethysmograph to detect heart rate since series 0 on the Apple watch. This can technically measure oxygen level as well. This means that this feature can likely come to all watches.

To quote iFixit:
Apple’s heart rate monitor is actually a plethysmograph that looks and acts like a pulse oximeter, but Apple isn’t claiming it can measure your blood oxygen level.

Source: https://www.ifixit.com/News/7158/apple-watch-teardown-2
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 weeks ago
The amount of people in the comments speaking about "panic attacks" (even making fun of them) without obviously knowing what an actual panic attack is is too. damn. high.



Dumbest idea ever.

I’ve lived with chronic anxiety and panic disorder for 20 years and the LAST thing I need to think about ALL DAY is looking to see if I’m gonna have a panic attack.

You have it backwards.

You don't look all day whether you have one. Your watch INFORMS you when you're about to get one.

People don't seem to know there are actual service dogs trained to do specifically that! If you know you're about to have a panic attack, you can try beating it with coping mechanisms....


The feature isn’t for you. The feature is for people like my 35 year old roommate who thought he was having a heart attack, but his Watch 4 only showed a high heart rate, nothing else. If the watch instead could have told him he was having a panic attack, and then help him with deep breathing, it could have saved him the cost of an emergency room visit

THIS!
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 weeks ago
Due to health issues I mentioned on another thread, I’m really hoping for a blood oxygen monitor. You can derive a lot from having that information.

I’m (perhaps stupidly) holding off on buying a standalone blood oxygen monitor in the hope the next revision of the Apple Watch has one built in.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
24 weeks ago
I'm sure it'll be a great watch and OS but I'm not buying anything made in China ever again, at least as much as I can help it. It's time for us to stop complaining and finally do something about a country that exhibits such callous disregard for human life. I'll use my iPhone 8 until the wheels fall off, after which hopefully Apple will have moved some production of US-bound handsets elsewhere. If not then it's a S. Korean phone for me (Samsung/LG), which I guess means Android will become my daily-driver.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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