Apple Watch Series 4: How To Access And Use Health-Monitoring Features

Apple Watch
Pictured: Apple COO Jeff Williams discusses Apple Watch Series 4 during an event on Sept. 12, 2018, in Cupertino, California. Noah Berger/AFP/Getty Images

Apple is positioning its Apple Watch devices as valuable health-centric wearables, and it made great strides with the release of the Series 4 last year. The current-generation smartwatch has two features that previous iterations lack: the ECG app and Fall Detection. Both make the Apple Watch Series 4 a great companion for consumers who may be at risk of having heart conditions. 



The ECG app is made possible by the built-in electrical heart sensors in the Apple Watch Series 4. This means all previous models will never have access to this feature. For those who bought the latest-generation wearable, consider yourselves lucky because the app offers very handy features. However, the app is only available when watchOS 5.1.2 is installed.

The Apple Watch monitors the wearer’s heart rate and sends alerts whenever an irregular rhythm is detected. Users can set the threshold for low heart rate and high heart rate alerts. Low heart rate alerts are triggered when the sensors notice below 40-50 bpm for a 10-minute period. High heart rate alerts, on the other hand, are triggered when one’s heart rate is above 100-150 bpm for a 10-minute period.

The best part of the new Apple Watch, however, is its ability to warn users of possible atrial fibrillation, a condition that typically leads to a stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. Once notified of an irregular hearth rhythm, users are advised to take an electrocardiogram with the ECG app. The results can then be shared with a doctor for professional help. 


How to set up the app

  • Launch the Health app on the paired iPhone
  • Follow the onscreen guide
  • In case the setting up prompt does not show, head to Health Data > Heart > Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • After setting up ECG in the Health app, the ECG app should appear on the Apple Watch 


How to use the app

  • Launch the ECG app on the Apple Watch
  • Rest arm on a table 
  • Touch the Digital Crown using a finger of the free hand; no need to press
  • Wait for 30 seconds for the recording to finish
  • A classification of the symptoms is shown at the end
  • Save to record symptoms
  • Tap Done



Fall Detection 

Fall Detection on the Apple Watch Series 4 is possible with the inclusion of the next-generation accelerometer and gyroscope. As what its name suggests, the feature detects if the wearer has fallen, and it will automatically call emergency services and notify the owner’s emergency contact. 

This feature is turned on by default for Series 4 owners who are 65 years and above. The device of course learns about the user’s age through the Health app. The feature is off by default for younger wearers to prevent the possibility of a false alarm in case the owner dropped while playing sports or doing other activities. But this can be manually turned on in the Emergency SOS section of the Watch app on the paired iPhone.