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The Apple watch EKG function

Apple released a bunch of software updates yesterday — 10.14.2 of Mac OS; 12.1.1 of iOS; and 5.1.2 of watchOS. The updates for the iPhone and the Apple watch enable the long-promised EKG function on the Apple watch 4.

I’m going to guess that thousands of people who’ve never seen an electrical graph of their own heartbeat before (including me) saw that for the first time today. It’s easy. You press your right finger against the stem of the watch, and the back of the watch has electrical contact with your left wrist. That forms a circuit that goes across your heart. In 30 seconds, the watch creates a simple EKG. The test is intended only to detect atrial fibrillation.

The iPhone saves a record of all your EKG’s. If you request it, the iPhone app will create a PDF of the EKG that you can use to start a conversation with your doctor. I used that PDF to create the image above.

Lucky for me, the watch didn’t detect a problem.

I’ve had the Apple watch for about three weeks now. I have become very fond of it, not only as a timepiece but also as a communications device and fitness coach. If I’ve been sitting at the computer for too long, it taps my wrist and tells me that it’s time to stand up and move around for a while. It has encouraged me to walk more, knowing that it counts every step and that I’d like to have a good report at bedtime. I am still trying to understand how to make use of its “heart rate variability” function (as are many watch wearers). But heart rate variability is a complicated subject for another day, after I understand it better.

Three times, I have triggered the watch’s fall detector. In all three cases, I was slapping my hand against my leg — for example, when I was on the deck yelling at the squirrel to get off the roof. I replied to the watch’s prompts and told it that I had not fallen.

Honestly I would feel a little insecure now without the watch on my wrist. That, I’m sure, is just what Apple was aiming for.


  1. frigast wrote:

    So-o-o, the watch is watching over you – funny 🙂

    Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 2:01 am | Permalink
  2. daltoni wrote:

    Apple has much room for improvement. For what it costs, the watch should help with the cooking and clean Lily’s litter box.

    Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

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