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New Apple Watch may have even better health tracking, according to iOS 14 leak

Apple Watch ECG
(Image credit: Apple)

A new health monitoring feature may come to the Apple Watch, allowing the smartwatch to keep an eye on your blood oxygen levels and provide a wider range of health warnings, in the same vein as other devices - like many Garmin watches.

That's according to information found by 9to5Mac within exclusive snippets of the code of the upcoming iOS 14 software update. 

Blood oxygen monitoring is mentioned within the code, and the wording seems to suggest it will give you a notification if your blood oxygen saturation drops below a recommended amount.

This could have wider benefits of monitoring sleep apnea, where breathing can become irregular during slumber and cause health issures, but the Apple Watch's battery life makes sleep tracking still somewhat prohibitive for that. 

Garmin's devices currently allow for that, but they have significantly longer battery life than the iPhone's companion wearable.

A healthy blood oxygen saturation level is said to be between 95 to 100 percent, while those with results below 90 percent are encouraged to seek medical advice.

This may be a good way to get those who wouldn't normally have the opportunity to take a test like this to keep an eye on these stats in a similar way to how an ECG (electrocardiogram) was introduced on the Apple Watch 4.

According to the iOS 14 code, Apple is also looking to make either a software or hardware fix to solve an issue where the ECG feature doesn't always take the right reading for those with heart rates between 100 and 120 beats per minute.

What is unclear about the blood oxygen monitoring feature is whether or not you'll be able to use this on an existing Apple Watch.

It may be something that Apple can enable with an over the air software update to standard watches, or it may be something that will be exclusive to a new product like the Apple Watch 6.

The additional point is that this monitoring would likely have an impact on battery life on your device, so the brand might be pushing to add it to hardware where a larger power pack could compensate.

Apple needed to introduce new hardware to activate its ECG feature, so it may be a similar situation for the introduction of blood oxygen monitoring.

We're expecting to hear more about watchOS 7 and iOS 14 at WWDC 2020 in June this year, so it may be that we hear about this at Apple's big software event. 

If not, we'll likely be waiting until September to see if the company introduces an Apple Watch 6 at September's expected iPhone 12 launch.

Via MacRumors