Apple Watch ECG Availability In Australia

What it does and when will it be available in Australia

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You may have read, or seen a lot of information regarding the new Apple Watch Series 4 and ECG. A feature which allows you to take an electrocardiogram right from your wrist – the first direct-to-consumer product to do so.

I’ve been asked a lot of questions on this. From what it does? how can we use it? and when will it be available in Australia? The purpose of this post is to answer those questions.

ECG Feature

New electrodes in Apple Watch Series 4 enable it to take an electrocardiogram (ECG) directly from your wrist. Meaning it has the ability to capture heart rhythm in moments where you experience symptoms such as a rapid or skipped heartbeat. This information is then recorded and the data can be displayed at any time or sent to your physician.


In addition to this, Apple Watch will occasionally check your heart rhythm in the background. If it detects an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be atrial fibrillation (AFib), it will alert you. AFib is one of the leading conditions that can result in stroke, the second most common cause of death around the world.


In terms of being able to use the ECG function of Apple Watch in Australia, there is some good and bad news.

The good news is the ECG hardware of an Apple Watch Series 4 to perform the measurement is included in models sold here in Australia. However, the bad news is Apple has not enabled the feature here. But most importantly, they can do so at anytime in the future via a free software update to Apple Watch.

Essentially, at some point it is possible Apple will push out the update to enable the ECG functionality to Apple Watch models around Australia. And they likely will – eventually. Apple has expanded the feature beyond the US, more recently around Europe, Singapore, Canada, Hong Kong, and more.


So why has Apple not yet enabled the feature? The most likely and simplest explanation is it needs medical approval. And this would need to be done via the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration). It is currently not known if Apple has applied.

In the US, Apple had to work with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a number of years to receive De Novo Classification. Secondly, the feature is only very new, it is likely Apple will want to launch it in one market first before going worldwide. Already though it has gone on to potentially save someone’s life.

Other Features

Despite this, the Apple Watch has a number of health and exercise tracking features available here. Including the ability to record your workouts, heart-rate, fall-detection, calories burned, and a whole lot more.

You can learn more or buy an Apple Watch from Apple’s online store.

Update, March 2019: Apple has expanded the ECG feature to a number of European countries and Hong Kong. While Australia has still not received the feature, the expansion shows Apple is actively bringing the ECG feature outside of the US.

Update, July 2019: Apple has released an update to Apple Watch bringing the ECG feature to Canada and Singapore.

Update, September 2019: Apple will be holding an event in the early hours of September 11th, 2019. There is a chance Apple may reveal ECG availability in more countries. Apple has announced the Apple Watch Series 5, however, ECG remains unavailable in Australia.

  1. Thanks for the article, its a shame that it hasn’t been released in Australia. This is would be such a great reason to upgrade for someone with a Series 3 watch…. C’mon Apple, push it through

    1. Australia does not even enable the irregular heartbeat already available on the Watch 3! I would be asking more why something already FDA certified is taking so long to get through here!

        1. As it’s a deemed a medical device it requires the TGA (Australian equivalent of FDA) to review and approve. It’s a length and costly procedure

      1. I purchase a IPhone 10xs and Apple Watch in HongKong last week 2/8/19. I locked manual software updates on both phone and watch after setup. Software 12.3.1.
        The ECG app worked in HongKong and it works in Sydney this week.
        I also have Kardia Band and Kardia Livecor device working on my Australian Phone. I have ordered a HongKong Kardia New six lead unit. Still waiting on despatch out of HongKong for that as I could not find stock at any stores.

  2. If this feature was available I would buy one right now.I am certain there would be a lot of potential buyers in Australia waiting for the ECG to be made available

  3. This was one of the reasons I purchased an Apple watch as I suffer from AF reasonably often and I wanted to monitor it closely. Very disappointed to now find out I cant do it. Come on Apple, no false advertising please. Nowhere in the ads days it say its not available in Australia.

  4. in reality no one knows it will come to Australia or not Apple sold lot of Series 4 watch and ECG base but everyone is sitting quite.

  5. Not good enough your marketing talks all about the ecg capability on the watch and my wife bought me one from one of your authorised resellers who told me it was on the watch. They did not tell me that ecg had not been rolled out here and there is in fact little chance that it will be any time soon. We bought it for this feature.. I could have saved hundreds of dollars and bought a cheaper watch that does most of the other features. What countries does the ecg feature work in?

    1. At this stage Apple have only enabled the feature in the United States. Hopefully it will be expanded to other countries including Australia soon.

  6. Well well well!
    Apple guilty of lying by omission, who would have thought!
    So many people relying on this product to assist them with monitoring their heart health and Apple take advantage of them in the name of greed.
    This is both professionally irresponsible and morally reprehensible.

    1. At NO point did Apple announce nor did they market ECG in Australia.

      “So many people relying on this product to assist them with monitoring their heart health”

      If you look at the classifications of this product, it’s not to be relied upon, it’s merely one extra tool that COULD possibly help detect early signs.

      “reprehensible” did you learn this word in TAFE?
      Seriously, there’s no need to use synonyms just to try and sound smart.

      1. Reprehensible is an adjective, you idiot. Used by many people who know what it means and don’t need to try to sound smart. And it is reprehensible that Apple didn’t make it more obvious that this feature would only be available to US purchasers. I also spent $750 to upgrade to a series 4 (I already had a six-month-old series 3) on the advice of my heart specialist as I have AF. That was a waste of money.

        1. Clearly you must be the idiot to buy a new one without the only feature you wanted not being avaliable in Australia!
          If you watch the key note it was spelt out quite clearly

        2. Apple did make it obvious.


          I gave my mother my old Apple Watch (original) and it has just picked up some variations in heart rate and this alerted her to a potential issue.

          I double checked her heart rate against a pulse oximeter, and when they were giving different readings I surmised that she may have a heart rhythm issue. (I could have checked her blood pressure and the blood pressure meter has an irregular rhythm warning)

          She saw her doctor and yes – she has AF – picked up due to her wearing my series 1 watch.

          I have been saying since the announcement of the series 4 watch that both she and I need to upgrade when it supports the ECG function in Australia. So if it was not mentioned anywhere why was I saying this?

          BTW the diagnosis of AF due to the Watch was last week. So I was correct – we both need the ECG functionality.

          I have ectopic beats amongst other heart issues. I bought an Apple watch for its heart monitoring, as it’s one of the tools I use when I have chest pains to work out if I need to be going to the Hospital. I upgraded to a Series 3 watch partly for the improved heart rate monitoring.

          If I could get ECG functionality I would definitely be upgrading.

          This is something therefore I have kept an eye on since the launch.

          BTW the Apple Watch 4 has fall detection and alerting, which would be ideal for at least 2 people I know. That is also I believe not yet active in Australia. Again I am waiting for this.

          Meanwhile tomorrow morning my Mother begins her medication for the AF. As a result her heart rate may go up or down. Thanks to my old Apple watch she will be able to monitor it.

          BTW that old Apple watch, which was not meant to be waterproof, had been used by me in the pool about 3 times a week for years, it eventually began to suffer from that, then I upgraded and gave it some time to recover and it’s been fine ever since, they are way more durable than they claim them to be.

          This was one other reason I upgraded – to get a watch that was meant to cope with being underwater.

        3. Sorry to burst your bubble ,but apple in brisbane were pushing the ecg function, I bought one on there advice

  7. Honestly everything is coming to Australia so late because of all the lame and useless extra rules they have here. It looks like those parents who over protecting their children and wont let them be able to enjoy the world like the rest of the kids…

  8. I also bought the Apple Watch 4 for the ecg function alone and am very disappointed. I do not think it is clear online that the ecg does not function in Australia, it is in the small print on the app data. Moreover which other devices historically, when globally marketed, have functions limited to one country only so why would the average consumer suspect this might happen? It is clear I am not alone and although I am by no means a technophile I am not stupid either. Most people interested in this device are likely to be over 50yrs because of the risk of AF and we expect a device to do what it says on the tin rather than having to follow a trail of breadcrumbs to make sure we are not being sold an expensive dud.

    1. I have the same problem with a CPAP machine I purchased in US the wireless doesnt work here in Australia very disappointed and now my apple watch ECG doesnt work in Australia…

  9. If we did that – import it from the US – would it function here or would the Australian updates render it useless after a time?

    1. Importing it will NOT work. The feature is enabled not by location or time, rather by serial number. Basically, Apple knows which units were sold in which countries and are enabling the feature by serial number.

        1. I believe they also block the feature if the connection IP address, or location data tells them that the Watch is in Australia.

    2. Purchase it in the US and you will also need a US Apple iTunes account and have it attached to that. TGA have not passed the the Apple Watch and last I heard Apple was not going to pay them the fee to register it as a medical device. So it ain’t coming.

  10. C’mon, be a good journalist. You say: “There is no doubt Apple would be wanting to expand it to Australia ASAP” Have you actually asked them if they have submitted an approval request to the TGA?

  11. Whats the Fucken point get this feature up and running otherwise its just a waste of ohhh 899$ aus
    Plus we can’t get value for our money
    Get it together

  12. I bought my apple watch 4 in australie ! In the apple store they told me that it was ready ??For ecg??Back in Holland I discovered that the dutch apple watches had ecg !!! But the watch from Australië has not , so I got false information , and I have the wrong apple watch??????What to fo?

  13. I also bought the apple watch 4 for ECG capability…..very disappointed it still has not been approved for Australia.

    1. Hi Justin,

      The process of having ECG approved will be different between countries. I am hoping there will be news of Australia getting approval when Apple hosts their week-link WWDC event. That begins in less than a months time.


  14. Hi Ben, Thanks for the useful article. I was clearly told that this function was not yet available in Australia. As it had to be cleared by the FDA in the US, I imagine that it has to go through similar processes in Australia. There is no reason for Apple to secretly punish us for being Australian and, as you say, it is being rolled out around the world.

    One note… May I suggest that you always date your articles? It is sometime hard to know on a Google search whether an article is old or new…



    1. Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your comment and feedback regarding the date of posts.

      I intentionally hide the date because sometimes an article posted a long time ago is still relevant. But you do make a good point, so I have turned on the “last updated” date which is now displayed towards the top of the article. :)

      Yesterday Apple released a new watchOS update that enabled ECG for more European countries. I’m hoping we hear something during WWDC in 2 weeks time regarding ECG for Australia.


  15. If you really want, simply set the Region on your Apple Watch to US… then ECG function will work… only downside is that your units will be in US format, but hey, better than missing a heart attack ;-)

  16. I have been taking medication costing me $50/month for the past 5 years following a single known AFib episode. Based on non-government subsidized overseas pricing it is also costing the Australian taxpayer $500/month. I have recently read that sporadic episodes of AFib generally do not require constant taking of medication. Having a 48-hour monitoring done in Australia costs nearly $500 and still only gives a snapshot. With a fully enabled Apple Watch 4 I can monitor my AFib for more than a month or more and decide if I need to continue spending $50/month for the rest of my life and maybe save the Australian taxpayer $500/month. What can be done to speed up the approval process?

  17. Update : I have contacted the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) to find out if the Apple Watch 4 is in the process of being approved and their response seems to indicate that Apple has not even applied. Many Australians have already bought the Watch specifically to monitor their AFib, only to find out that the ECG function has been disabled in Australia. The process to have it added to the ARTG (Australian Registry of Therapeutic Goods) appears to be a fairly simple and inexpensive. Why are they not doing it? 10%+ of people over 65 are affected by AFib. What are they waiting for?

  18. Classic leave Australia till last. Products that have functions that are turned should be required by law to have a large print warning that you are paying for a product that will not work as touted. All advertising including apples website should have large warnings on them including one during the purchasing process that you are buying a functionally deficient product. They would have had this approved at launch if that had been the case. It is purely a case of treating some customers as second rate.

  19. Come on Apple Australia! Where are you in this discussion?
    Obviously you have lots of dissatisfied Apple Watch owners, who feel they have been sold duds, and many potential owners eagerly waiting for availability of the fully functional product. I am in the latter category.
    Ridiculous to blame Australian therapeutic goods regulators for the delay, while Australians can buy a whole array of personal ECG monitoring devices on eBay.

  20. Apple ECG will never be available in Australia. This is unfortunate, but opinions of health authorities is that such devices will create additional pressure on medical practitioners using Medicare refund scheme, which is already stretched to the maximum. The same applies to watch band with ECG for Apple watch – producers are not allowed to send them to Australia.

    1. Hey Andrew. This may well be the case but is this based on speculation or actual comments from the Health Dept/

      1. There were two articles in press this year (I think one in The Age) where representatives from the medical panel evaluating medical equipment were very negative about it, saying it shall not be approved here due to unwanted stress and not necessary visits to GPs this can create. I was trying to find those sources but do not have now subscription to The Age.

  21. why advertise functions if not available, seems we all have right to submit to consumer affairs in each state for misleading or deceptive advertising and go Apple for misleading advertising

  22. Apple under Tim Cook has always been about announcing a feature way too early and the releasing it in few countries and then forgetting about it.

  23. why is Australia so backward in going forward. We are totally over-regulated who believe they are ensuring our safety when all they are really doing is securing the well lined pockets of the medical profession (sic) if you can call it that……

  24. Then…. IF TGA declines to approve… Typical of the Nanny State.. Then for those of us with Aussie Market Watches and Australians… One could argue false advertising and claim a refund under Consumer Law.

  25. We need to send a message to Apple!
    I for one will not buy another iwatch until the ECG feature is activated in Australia.

  26. I’m sure Apple have had conversations with the TGA, just nothing on the record. Similar to how they had early secretive talks with the FDA

    When Apple got FDA clearance for the Apple Watch ECG ‘app’, they magically circumvented the rules that apply to every other medical device manufacturer. They got FDA clearance for an ECG app only, not the Apple Watch or ECG electronics and electrodes built into the Apple Watch that actually measures the ECG, somehow blinding the FDA and other regulatory bodies.

    Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the FDA explains that “The watch isn’t a medical device, just the apps that help consumers detect serious medical conditions”, and justifies the Apple Watch and ECG hardware being unregulated because the watch and it’s ECG measuring capability is a standard platform, like a phone or other computer.
    By this logic, medical device manufactures should be able to make an app that measures Blood Pressure, or Blood Glucose, or any other similar type of medical device, without the hardware component having to be included as part of the medical device and therefore not subjected to the usual manufacturing, safety, performance, and regulatory requirements, as long as the hardware is built into a ‘standard platform’ like a watch, phone, laptop etc.

    Many others in the medical device industry have raised similar questions “It defies the laws of physics to describe an ECG device as anything but including electrodes and this new regulation that FDA has created which is now law defines ECG as software only and that is absolutely contrary to the laws of physics”

    I very much doubt it, but perhaps the TGA are not so easily wooed and taking time to consider the wider implications here? An ECG device that is an ‘app’ only contradicts their clear definitions of what constitutes a Software only Medical Device, so they would have to make special exceptions for Apple to get TGA approval. Alternatively, Apple could be required to manufacture their Apple Watch under ISO 13485 and to have the Apple Watch with ECG hardware included as part of the medical device and subjected to the same regulatory review like every other ECG device manufacturer.

  27. When is a feature, not a feature…when it’s in Australia. So much for free trade. I brought it for this feature, only to find it is nobbled. C’mon Apple need greater effort here.

  28. I have an AliveCor KardiaMobile unit which will detect Atrial Fibrillation by ECG but knowing when to run a scan is problematic when I don’t know if I am having an episode of irregular heart rhythm. Having had conflicting diagnoses of Ectopic Beats and Atrial Fibrillation and not receiving treatment because of the doubt, I am anxious to get 24/7 notifications any of irregular heart rhythms so that I would know when to run an ECG scan on the Kardia Mobile unit. I understand that ECG measurements and Atrial Fibrillation diagnosis is not available on the Apple Watch 4 sold in Australia.but hoped that the Series 4 might be able to at least do that. However, after visiting two Telstra Shops (no Apple Shops near where I live) and looking around the internet, I can’t find out whether notifications of Irregular Heart Rhythms are available on the Apple Watch 4 as sold in Australia. Can anyone shed some light on this?

    1. Hi Wayne,

      I can confirm that Irregular Heart Rhythms are NOT available on Apple Watch in Australia – again, I don’t think it is possible yet because it likely needs to be approved. At least that is my understanding. I have found the following document about the feature on their US website:

      You may or may not know, Apple is going to be having an event tomorrow (3am September 11 Sydney time) where it is expected they will announced Apple Watch Series 5. I’m really hoping they bring aFIB and ECG feature to Australia.


      1. Thanks Ben. I was aware of the impending release of the Series 5 watch and though it has ECG capability, my guess is that even Apple wont have much luck with the Australian bureaucracy and get the ECG feature approved any time soon. However, the actual availability of an ECG scan is not what I am what I am seeking, rather notifications of Irregular Heart Rhythms. Although perhaps not as accurate as Electronic sensors, Optical sensors have the potential to provide this. There does not seem to be a smartwatch/fitness tracker using optical sensors that provides irregular heart rhythm alerts on the market, EXCEPT perhaps the Series 3 Apple Watch? But I cant ascertain whether the Series 3 can do this. Seemingly, a User Guide for the Series 3 is not available on Apple websites, and only via some dodgy “vendors” of manuals/user guides in the web. Any suggestions re how to find out whether notifications of Irregular Heart Rhythms are available on the Series 3 watch would be greatly appreciated.

  29. Please note my last post content August 7. refer working ECG app on apple watch in Australia.

    During the last two years I have progressed through an number of cardiac events including 8 hours of Tachycardia on an international flight to Sydney, 4 separate cardiac ablations ((VT,SVT, PVC’s (54 a minute) and sinus node remodelling)), implanted loop recorder, syncope and cardiac arrest ( flat line asystole ), double leaded pacemaker implant three times due to poor lead impedance ( issues with my heart tissue) and along the way had a good deal of experience with many personal ECG devices.
    Everybody’s journey is unique I have found education without obsession very comfiting. While I have used Kardia Livecor mobile phone mounted single lead devices, Kardia Band on Apple watch 4 with monitoring and neural network alerts and more recently Kardia 6 lead. (Neural Network now turned off.) I have also use the Apple Watch ECG app briefly as I purchased to donate to my cardiology team for evaluation. see previous post.
    If your worried about your heart see a good cardiologist first and get his/her advise as to your likely prognosis and as whether monitoring can be assistive with your condition. I personally have never had AF but most devices can accurately detect it, I have been extremely lucky that my Cardiologist is a very strong proponent of patient education and spends the time to do that. I found that these devices when supported by well qualified professionals are fantastic in early warning between medical visits and even when in hospital. Most times that a Hospital administered ECG’S is carried out its in only a very small window of time and its is quite likely that it will miss many events that occur. Even when being monitored 24 hours and day using loop recorders Pacemakers or heart holter the report is at best only once daily electronically and that’s where these devices really come into their own. I have regularly felt an issue, recorded it, then notified my cardiologist with the printouts via email. I have also use Kardia’s own Cardiologist review feature ($20) money that can put your mind at ease or move you to take action.
    Most of these devices are extremely accurate but the manufacturers will generally not diagnose or even give an opinion because of legal issues, so it’s up to you and your doctors to determine what the ECG results mean for you and what action is most appropriate.
    The big advantage for any personal ECG device is being able to notify you in a timely manner when its important, and that means on your wrist or body all the time. Then that information must be in a form that can easily be transmitted and read by professionals. Its always comforting to know that when you turn up at emergency that its because of sound medical advice and there are people that know your coming’ and why. Hopefully Apples TGA approvals with be forthcoming in the near term as the continuous monitoring now that Kardia Band is turned off ( apple software upgrades I believe) is the best first alert tool ( nearly here).

  30. So maybe what we need is a legal case brought to the courts by a grieving spouse who’s partners life could have been saved. They were wearing an apple watch with the capability to have detected a problem (proven) and rather than risk accidentally alarming someone and save lives, the bureaucracy would prefer to keep a higher risk of dying by blocking advances in technology.

  31. That sounds good to me…. I would love to know is it Apples fault or our TGA not passing it for use???? Maybe a class action could be looked into …A device that could save a persons life… defibulaters seem to be situated around now in sports fields..

    1. Darleen, for AUD199 you can get an AliveCor KardiaMobile ECG unit from an Australia supplier which is FDA approved and will work with both Android and iPhones . This unit can detect Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). LiveCor used to make their KardiaBand which was designed to use with earlier Apple Watches (pre Series 4 & 5) but was discontinued because of accuracy issues when used with the Apple watches. Even so, according to a publication by the American Heart Association (AHA), it was found to be more accurate than the optical (PPG) sensor used on those watches, though Apple claimed that they could detect AFIb reliably. If all you want to do is run a scan when you feel that you are in AFib, then the KardiaMobile unit is an option.The accuracy of the PPG sensors in the non-ECG Apple watches is a bit questionable anyway; according to the AHA Research Report, which shows that even in Sinus Rhythm, when a 60 BPM Heart Rate reading was recorded by ECG, the Apple PPG watches were registering anything from 55 to 110 BPM. The accuracy of the Apple PPG sensor seem to in better agreement than the ECG at higher heart rates.

  32. Thankyou so much i will look into it… Will this unit record while you sleep? I suffer from palpitations and cardio told me about the band …

    1. Darleen, the AliveCor unit is passive; ie, it will only take an ECG scan when you want it to (it is not “wearable”), thus it cannot act a sleep tracker. There are some Smartwatches/Fitness Trackers (other than Apple units) on the market that will track track heart rate, but to my knowledge will not alert to arrythmias or high/low heart rate episodes. Some will allow the user to see variations in heart rate historically. I had a Fitbit unit that would do this, but I had to have access to an internet connected computer to do this.and having satellite internet, it was not always possible to do this.So, if you want to see if you are having “palpitations” (fast heart rate/skipped beats???) whilst asleep some Smartwatches/Fitness trackers might be able to do this.

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