Apple Releases watchOS 5.1.2; With New ECG App and Irregular Heart Rate Notifications for Apple Watch Users in the United States

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today released watchOS 5.1.2, bringing a new ECG app and irregular heart rate notifications for users of specific Apple Watch models in the United States.

Announcing the release of watchOS 5.1.2, apple said “the ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notification feature will help users identify signs of AFib, the most common form of irregular rhythm.”

Starting today, the ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4 marks the first direct-to-consumer product that enables customers to take an electrocardiogram right from their wrist, capturing heart rhythm in a moment when they experience symptoms like a rapid or skipped heart beat and helping to provide critical data to physicians. The irregular rhythm notification feature on Apple Watch can now also occasionally check heart rhythms in the background and send a notification if an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be atrial fibrillation (AFib) is identified.

As previously reported in our review of Apple Watch Series 4, the new ECG app takes advantage of the electrodes built into the Digital Crown and new electrical heart rate sensor in the back crystal of the Apple Watch Series 4. To take a reading you simply touch the Digital Crown and after 30 seconds, receive a heart rhythm classification. All recordings, their associated classifications and any noted symptoms are stored in the Health app in a PDF that can be shared with physicians.

The irregular heart rate notifications will be available on Apple Watch Series 1 through Series 4. As with the new ECG app, this feature will be limited to users in the United States for now.

To enable these new heart features, you will be taken through an onscreen setup flow that includes details about who can use these features, what the features can and cannot do, what results you may get, how to interpret those results and instructions for what to do if you are feeling symptoms that require immediate medical attention.

Additionally, the watchOS 5.1.2 update introduces new complications for the two Infograph watch faces on the Apple Watch Series 4. These new complications include Mail, Messages, Home, Maps, Apple News, Find My Friends, Phone, and Remote.

watchOS 5.1.2 also adds a new toggle to the Control Center for turning the Walkie-Talkie feature on and off.

For VoiceOver users, Digital Crown feedback is no longer automatically disabled if you have Digital Crown navigation enabled.

At the time of writing, we are unaware of any additional changes for blind and low vision users in this release. If you do spot any fixes, regressions or enhancements, please do let us know by posting a comment below.

watchOS 5.1.2 is available by going to the Watch app on your iPhone and navigating to General> Software Update. To install the update, your Watch must be connected to its charger and have at least 50% battery power.

As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts on this update.

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