Can Apple Vision Pro track its wearer's breathing? Apparently yes, according to a secret line of code

A woman wearing the Apple Vision Pro headset
(Image credit: Apple)

Although Apple's WWDC event is just days away, one of the surprises for Vision Pro users may have been spoiled a little early, as a new discovery suggests that Apple's VR/AR headset could monitor a user's breathing in future visionOS iterations.

This news comes via MacRumors, which suggests that Apple is planning a new "respiration tracking" feature that would come into play during mindfulness sessions.

The outlet found references to the feature in lines of code in the Mindfulness app, which is intended to help a user wind down with meditations. Respiration tracking is also part of the suite of metrics the Apple Watch collects, and can be used to improve mindfulness content, monitor sleep and so on.

What's most interesting, however, is that it wasn't known before if the Vision Pro headset could track a user's breathing. It appears this iteration may well be capable of doing so, or there is at least code that exists anticipating the feature, potentially allowing third-party apps to track breathing in the future.

Apple Vision Pro 1-1 update

(Image credit: Future)

Analysis: Breath tracking with headsets

While the Apple Watch, like many of the best fitness trackers, can track a user's breathing, knowing the Vision Pro can do the same is a little surprising. After all, it's worn on your head, presumably understanding your breathing through inhaling and exhaling with your nose and mouth while wearing it.

With breathing a core tenet of mindfulness tracking (in VR and in general), it's perhaps not too surprising to see Apple attempt to bring it into the visionOS version of the Mindfulness app.

While it may raise some questions about exactly how Apple is able to track breath with a VR headset, the company's privacy-first mantra likely means the only place it could send any data is to the Apple Health app, so any privacy concerns should be suitably assuaged. Apple has always been very careful to emphasize the security of the data it collects.

Could other headsets also collect breathing information in the future? Respiration tracking has the potential to enhance headsets with mindfulness apps and games like Headspace XR for Meta Quest. However, other VR headset manufacturers and third-party app creators may potentially be a little more open when it comes to data harvesting, so there's the possibility that in the future, while you use a VR headset, the hardware tracks your breath along with eye tracking and other health data – providing the headset has permission to do so. 

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Lloyd Coombes
Freelancer & Podcaster

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance tech and fitness writer for TechRadar. He's an expert in all things Apple as well as Computer and Gaming tech, with previous works published on TopTenReviews,, and Live Science. You'll find him regularly testing the latest MacBook or iPhone, but he spends most of his time writing about video games at Dexerto.