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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 ECG directly from your wrist. This means it as 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.

Apple-Watch-ECG-app

In addition to this, the Apple Watch can 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.

Availability

The good news is the ECG hardware and ability 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 they can do so at anytime in the future via a free software update.

Essentially, at some point it is possible Apple will push out the update to enable the ECG functionality to Apple Watch models around Australia. As they have done in the US and more recently around Europe. And if they were to do so I will be sure to update this article. The reason they have not done so yet is likely for a number of reasons.

Firstly, Apple had to work with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a number of years to receive De Novo Classification. Meaning it will likely require medical approval here too. 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. There is no doubt Apple would be wanting to expand it to Australia ASAP.

  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!

  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.

          Sorry!

          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.

  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.

  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.

  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
    Jesse

  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.

      Thanks,
      Ben

  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…

    Cheers,

    Michael

    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.

      Thanks,
      Ben

  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 ;-)

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