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Massive leak hints Apple Watch 6 may get sleep tracking, better parent controls, and more

Apple Watch 5
(Image credit: Future)

The Apple Watch 6 might be a laundry list of long-awaited and new features, like sleep tracking, better parent control, and improved ECG scans, according to alleged iOS 14 code leaked to 9to5Mac.

While we’d heard sleep tracking might come to a future Apple Watch, this code chunk affirms that the iPhone Health app will get sleep goal-setting functionality, suggesting the Apple Watch 6 could feed the data to the app.

The Apple Watch 6, and with it watchOS 7, could get more sociable features like swapping watch faces, sharing photo albums, and a new ‘tachymeter’ distance-tracking common on analog watches that sits on the bezel of infograph watch faces.

The leak also suggests there will be new parental controls, too, allowing one iPhone to manage additional Apple Watches used by children (with controls restricting contacts and music). A new feature reportedly called Schooltime will let parents limit what features and apps are available on a child’s Apple Watch during specific hours. 

So...why blood oxygen levels? 

The same code leak revealed the Apple Watch 6 might get the ability to monitor blood oxygen levels, according to a separate 9to5Mac report, something the Fitbit Versa 2 is already able to do.

While 95% to 100% blood oxygen levels are normal, falling below 90% saturation is considered low, and dropping under 80% for a prolonged period risks cardiac arrest or respiratory issues, per 9to5Mac. That iOS 14 code chunk suggests the Apple Watch 6 will notify wearers if their blood oxygen levels drop dangerously low.

The code leak didn’t suggest what software or hardware changes will come in the Series 6 nor watchOS 7 to monitor blood oxygen levels. But it might take an optical sensor: the Withings ScanWatch, for example, which is still waiting for health authority approval to release on the market, uses SpO2 sensors that emit and absorb light waves to track blood oxygen levels. 

The Apple Watch 6 will have better ECG scans, which should accurately track readings within 100 and 120 beats per minute – a range that the Apple Watch 4 and Apple Watch 5 had difficulty with, according to 9to5Mac. Similarly, it’s unclear what hardware and/or software upgrades it will take to achieve this.

Via The Verge