Apple Watch Series 4 ECG feature works outside of the US

Simple workaround gives you access to the serious health monitoring feature
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Apple's ECG feature, introduced on its Watch Series 4 smartwatch, is reportedly now accessible outside of the US.

ECG enables the Series 4 to take a reading of your heart rate, via electrodes on the rear of the smartwatch, and on the new Digital Crown. The ECG app can then reveal abnormal patterns, and the 30 second ECG can be presented to your doctor via a downloadable PDF.

Essential reading: Best Apple Watch Series 4 apps to download first

The Watch feature was not available at launch, and crucially was only said to be limited to use in the US. That's down to the fact that Apple has FDA approval for the feature to be used to detect serious heart health issues such as atrial fibrillation.

Apple hasn't officially said the feature is good to go in other countries, but the sensors to enable it are of course already on board. According to the folks at 9to5Mac there is a workaround to get it running. All it apparently takes is to simply change your region to the US to activate it. Doing that though will impact on other Watch settings such as date/time formats and units of measurements. So that's definitely something to be mindful of if you're desperate to try it out.

As mentioned, the ECG feature on the Watch Series 4 has currently only been approved by the appropriate regulatory body in the US. It'll have to go through a similar process to get it the thumbs up to be used for serious health monitoring in other countries.

That could take a while though. In the UK for instance, it's believed it could take years to be approved with Apple's smartwatch likely to have to be used in a study as part of the approval process. That would help it get the sign off by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). That's the UK equivalent of the FDA.

So if you really want to see what ECG on the Watch Series 4 is all about, it looks like you can try it out now. Just be very aware that unless you live in the US, it's not been cleared to help detect serious health issues yet. Maybe it's one feature you wait for until Apple gives it the all clear.

WareableApple Watch Series 4 ECG feature works outside of the US




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Michael Sawh

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Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.


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