Apple Watch Series 6 Blood Oxygen Monitoring Available in Most Countries Worldwide

Apple yesterday announced the Apple Watch Series 6 with a new sensor that enables blood oxygen monitoring capabilities, but Apple did not clarify which countries the feature would be available in.

apple watch series 6 blood oxygen monitoring 1
Some health capabilities, like ECG and irregular heart rate notifications, have been limited in availability because of regulatory requirements, but it appears that those requirements don't apply to the blood oxygen monitoring feature.

According to the Apple Watch Feature Availability page, blood oxygen monitoring is available in more than 100 countries, suggesting there are no health-related regulatory issues that Apple has to overcome. A support document on using blood oxygen monitoring does mention that it's only available in "certain countries and regions," however, so there may be some omissions.

Those who are interested in purchasing an Apple Watch Series 6 specifically for the feature should double check the availability page to make sure blood oxygen monitoring is supported in their country.

Measuring blood oxygen with the Apple Watch Series 6 is done through the new Blood Oxygen app. It uses a series of red and green LEDs and infrared light to measure the amount of light reflected by the skin, with advanced algorithms using this data to calculate the color of the blood to derive the blood oxygen level. Bright red blood has more oxygen, while darker red blood has less.

The Apple Watch Series 6 is available for purchase from Apple's online store, with orders set to arrive starting this Friday.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 7
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

nitramluap Avatar
13 months ago
Pulse oximetry is quite a simple and well established technology (>40 years) so there is absolutely no reason it won't be as accurate as the ones we use in hospital.

It will also be just as temperamental as the red (and infrared) LED is much more prone to interference. It's the reason why they will continue to use the green LED for plain pulse tracking - much more accurate & less susceptible to interference - particularly with exercise or any movement really.

So it will be:
- Green LED -> Exercising pulse rate*
- Red & Infrared -> Pulse Oximetry, foreground & background (+/- green LED to help lock onto the pulse rate**)
- Infrared -> background pulse rate reading when not moving*

* Just like all Apple Watches since day one.
** This is where Apple might be able to improve on existing tech

EDIT:
My money is on Apple introducing a Sleep Apnoea detection function next. The pieces of the puzzle are all there already:
- pulse oximetry
- movement detection
- noise detection

Disclosure: Anaesthesiologist
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nitramluap Avatar
13 months ago

https://rk.md/2020/apple-watch-6-does-not-measure-blood-oxygen/
Yes, I made this point here in another thread yesterday. 'Blood Oxygen Levels' does not equate to 'Pulse Oximetry'.

But even my colleague there simplifies it somewhat...

You can be hypoxic even if your pulse oximetry is normal and your Hb levels are normal.

How?
If a large proportion of your Hb is in a form that can't carry oxygen (eg. from carbon monoxide poisoning). However, if you ran a sample of the same blood through a laboratory *co-oximeter* it would show that your true saturations are in fact low.

Pulse oximeters measure functional oxygen saturation, ie. what percentage of Hb that can carry oxygen (ie functional Hb), is carrying oxygen. Even hospital pulse oximeters are limited in this way.

Laboratory co-oximeters measure fractional saturation, ie. what percentage of all Hb is carrying oxygen.

In short, if your Hb is normal (ie. you're not anaemic) and there is no chance there is a lot of abnormal Hb floating around (Met-Hb, Carboxy-Hb) then pulse oximetry is a good indicator of 'oxygen levels'.

None of this really matters to the user, but they really should rename 'Blood Oxygen Levels' to 'Pulse Oximetry'. It's correctly named in the 'Health' app.

If you were significantly anaemic you'd also have an abnormally increased heart rate so perhaps the Watch might pick up on that? I just feel sorry for all my US friends that have to pay lots of money to see a General Practitioner. We pay almost nothing here in Australia (but we do pay - happily - more tax for that benefit).
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PickUrPoison Avatar
13 months ago

It sure would be nice to find info on its stated accuracy range to see how it compares to the fingertip meter I have. The caveats about 'not for medical diagnostic purposes' are understandable, but whats the real world potential look like? I'm thinking this will be a popular use case these days.
I’m sure there will be comparisons from the usual clickbait tech tubers on day one. Looking forward to a thumbnail with some guy with a screwed up expression on his face and doing some weird pose with his hands ?

Anyway, it’s great this feature doesn’t have to go through regulatory approvals. But Apple talks about blood oxygen levels, not O2 sat. There (can be) a big difference.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
3rdiguy Avatar
13 months ago
Hope they release a product red iphone to match that watch. That thing looks sweet
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BornAgainMac Avatar
13 months ago
I wish it could just show Green if you are healthy, Yellow if you are sick, and Red that you are going to die.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Niklas_nick Avatar
13 months ago

I wonder why it didn’t need FDA approval?
In Germany there‘s a disclaimer in every series 6 promo picture stating that blood oxygen measurement is “not for medical use, not even for self-diagnosis or consulting a doctor, and is only suitable for fitness and wellness purposes”.

This last part was also stated by the MD announcing the feature in the keynote, so I guess that’s how they get around regulation.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

applewatchs5designheartrate

Apple Watch Series 6 to Feature Blood Oxygen Monitoring Sensor

Friday July 31, 2020 1:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 6 will add blood oxygen monitoring to its features list when it's launched later this year, according to a new report from DigiTimes. Apple Watch 6 will feature biosensors that can monitor sleeping conditions, detect blood oxygen and measure pulse rates, heartbeats and atrial fibrillation, and will also incorporate MEMS-based accelerometer and gyroscope, all allowing the ...
Apple Watch Blood Oxygen

PSA: Family Setup Prevents Relatives From Using Blood Oxygen Monitoring on Apple Watch Series 6 Models, Regardless of Age

Thursday September 24, 2020 5:20 am PDT by
In watchOS 7, Family Setup is a new feature that allows kids, elderly relatives, and others to take advantage of many of the capabilities of Apple Watch without the need for their own paired iPhone. Family Setup offers helpful tools for parents and kids, with Schooltime and Downtime features that offer controls over when and what kids can do with their Apple Watch. For older adults, it...
bloodoxygenapplewatch

Apple Watch Series 7 Rumored to Feature Blood Glucose Monitoring

Monday January 25, 2021 5:05 am PST by
The Apple Watch Series 7 will reportedly feature blood glucose monitoring via an optical sensor, according to ETNews. The report, which mainly focuses on the blood glucose capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, explains that Apple is intending to bring blood glucose monitoring to the upcoming Apple Watch Series 7 using a non-invasive optical sensor. Measuring blood glucose levels,...
prosser apple watch series 7

Prosser: Apple Watch Series 7 to Feature Flat-Edged Design, New Green Color Option

Wednesday May 19, 2021 10:49 am PDT by
The upcoming Apple Watch Series 7 will feature a flat-edged design, similar to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, and the addition of a new green case color option, according to Apple leaker Jon Prosser. In a video, Prosser explains that Apple is looking to redesign the Apple Watch, which has featured the same design since its launch, with the Series 7 later this year. One of the most striking ...
apple watch series 3 trio

Apple Watch Series 3 Owners Now Required to Perform Restore When Updating Due to Storage Constraints

Thursday May 27, 2021 3:12 pm PDT by
Following the iOS 14.6 and watchOS 7.5 updates, Apple Watch Series 3 owners who update their devices to a new version of watchOS are prompted to unpair and re-pair the Apple Watch from the iPhone during the update process because of storage space constraints. The GPS-only version of the Apple Watch Series 3 only has 8GB of internal storage, which limits the amount of space available for...
1blood oxygen app

Why Apple Didn't Need FDA Approval for the Blood Oxygen Tracking Feature in the Apple Watch Series 6

Wednesday October 7, 2020 12:26 pm PDT by
Prior to releasing ECG functionality in the Apple Watch Series 4, Apple needed FDA approval for the feature, but the same isn't true of Blood Oxygen monitoring in the Apple Watch Series 6 because Apple doesn't see it as a medical feature. As outlined by The Verge, pulse oximeters like the blood oxygen tracking feature in the Apple Watch are considered Class II Medical devices and...
bloodoxygenapplewatch

Apple Watch Series 7 to Gain Breakthrough New Health Feature

Friday March 5, 2021 5:34 am PST by
Apple is reportedly planning to bring a new, first-of-its-kind health technology to the Apple Watch Series 7, in what could be a breakthrough for managing conditions such as diabetes more easily. According to a recent report from ETNews, the Apple Watch Series 7 will feature blood glucose monitoring via a non-invasive optical sensor. Measuring blood glucose levels, also known as blood...
top stories 30jan21

Top Stories: iOS 14.4, Record Apple Earnings, Apple Watch Series 7 Rumors

Saturday January 30, 2021 6:00 am PST by
This week saw a good mix of Apple news and rumors, led by the release of iOS 14.4, a blockbuster earnings report from Apple, and a fresh report that the next Apple Watch might be able to monitor blood glucose levels. We also went hands-on with Apple's new "Time to Walk" feature for Apple Watch, while AirPods Max owners can now purchase standalone ear cushions to mix and match colors. Read on ...
Apple Watch Blood Oxygen

Apple Watch Series 6 Rumors: Blood Oxygen Tracking, Performance Improvements, Faster WiFi and More

Monday August 31, 2020 1:29 pm PDT by
Alongside new iPhones each year, Apple unveils an updated version of the Apple Watch, introducing new features and improving on existing functionality. We're expecting the sixth-generation Apple Watch in 2020, and we could perhaps see some useful new health tracking functionality. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The most notable new feature we could see in Apple...
Kardia Band apple watch

AliveCor Files Antitrust Suit Against Apple for Preventing Third-Party Irregular Heart Rhythm Analysis on Apple Watch

Wednesday May 26, 2021 10:34 am PDT by
AliveCor, a company that that has developed an ECG 'KardiaBand' for the Apple Watch, today filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple that accuses the Cupertino company of "monopolistic conduct." According to AliveCor, Apple's decision to exclude third-party heart rate analysis providers from the Apple Watch has harmed AliveCor and impacted patients and consumers. To go along with the...