Apple Watch users can now take a reading of their heart’s electrical signal by holding a finger on the crown of the device.
On Thursday, customers with the Apple Watch Series 4 who install the latest software update can access a new feature to identify atrial fibrillation, a common form of an irregular heart rhythm, as well as opt in to more passive monitoring. Anyone over age 22 can use these new heart health features, although not all them are designed for people who have already been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, or AFib, by their doctor.
All of this has been in the works for years. Apple got a first-of-its-kind clearance for its electrocardiogram app from federal regulators in September after conducting a preclinical study with 2,000 people. It also did a clinical trial with 600 other participants to ensure it could distinguish between a normal heartbeat, or sinus rhythm, and atrial fibrillation. The company released data on its new features in a white paper, published on Thursday, as well as a physician-facing website.
Ahead of the launch, I’ve been playing with the device all week and getting back information about my heart’s rhythm that I’ve never seen before. Here’s how you can do it