When Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 4, without doubt, the biggest feature was the addition of a new ECG capability that would allow users to take their own Electrocardiogram without having to visit a medical facility. While the Apple Watch will never be able to compete with a medical specialist attached to a costly piece of equipment in a controlled environment, being able to take an ECG anywhere, any time has the very real potential to save lives.
Apple confirmed that the feature would be added as part of a software update after the watch went on sale, and while we’re still waiting for that to happen, we have learned one important fact: while the ECG feature will be a US-only affair – at least at first – there may be a way to use it anywhere.
While Apple is still waiting for the required health clearance from various medical bodies around the globe, it already has FDA clearance for use in the United States. With that in mind, it appears that the only limitation on whether the ECG feature will work is based around the region a user has their device set to. That means, if they live, for example, in the UK, they could change their iPhone and Apple Watch’s region to the United States and gain ECG functionality.
Once Apple does add the ECG feature to US-based Apple Watches, anyone else heading into Settings > General > Language & Region > Region and selecting “United States” should be good to go. The downside is that you’ll notice a few oddities such as US date formats and whatnot, but if you really want ECG capabilities, it may be a small price to pay.
Hopefully, it won’t be too long before Apple gets ECG support switched on worldwide, too.
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