With the release of watchOS 5.1.2, Apple enabled the ECG and irregular heart rate feature on Apple Watch Series 4. If you are a Series 4 owner or are just curious as to how the feature works, check out our guide below.
It goes without saying that you must update your Apple Watch to watchOS 5.1.2 and your iPhone to iOS 12.1.1 before the ECG feature can be used. The feature is also only available in the US right now so if you live in any other region, you are out of luck.
It is also important to note that you must keep your expectations in check with the ECG feature. While it is definitely a technological marvel on Apple’s part to bring ECG feature to Apple Watch Series 4, it is no substitute for a proper ECG machine.
How to Set Up and Use ECG feature on Apple Watch Series 4
Step 1: When you will first open the Health app on your iPhone after the update, you will automatically get a prompt to set up the new ECG app.
Step 2: You will have to enter your date of birth to continue the setup process. Apple will then explain how the ECG app on your Apple Watch will work. The app will take an ECG or EKG reading to get a range of the upper and lower chambers of your heart and see if they are in a rhythm or not. If they are out of rhythm, you have an atrial fibrillation and you should contact your doctor immediately.
Step 3: With the ECG app setup, you can now take your first ECG reading on your Apple Watch Series 4. For this, open the ECG app on the wearable and proceed to rest your arm on a table or on your lap. Then, hold the Digital Crown and wait for 30 seconds for the app to take the reading.
It is recommended that your Apple Watch is fit snugly in your wrist for an accurate reading. You should also try and not move your hand around during the ECG reading process.
When the test is complete, you will get one of the three results: Sinus rhythm, atrial fibrillation, or inconclusive. The first one means that your heart is working just fine, while atrial fibrillation means your heart is not beating in a regular rhythm. An inconclusive rhythm — which is the result you are likely going to get most of the times — means an improper and inconclusive reading.
The complete results of your EKG test will be shown inside the Health app on your iPhone. This includes a graphical chart of your heart rate’s rhythm and Apple’s recommendations.
As mentioned above, the ECG reading from the Apple Watch Series 4 might not be as accurate as a dedicated machine. Nonetheless, if the app shows a warning, you should immediately contact your doctor about it.