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Apple Watch ECG app and irregular heart rhythm Notification Launching In New Zealand

No word on support for Australia


New Zealand will be the latest country to receive the ECG app and irregular heart notifications on Apple Watch. With the new features to be enabled in a free software update due to arrive next week, according to Apple.

The feature will be the first direct-to-consumer product, allowing Apple Watch wearers to take an electrocardiogram right from their wrist. Also known as an ECG, it captures heart rhythm like a rapid or skipped heartbeat. The information is then saved in the Health app on their iPhone, providing physicians with critical data. Capturing an electrocardiogram will be available on Apple Watch Series 4 or newer, including the current generation Series 5.


In addition to the ECG feature, irregular rhythm notifications will arrive on Apple Watch Series 1 or later models. Occasionally Apple Watch will check the wearer’s heart rhythm in the background. If the heart rate rhythm appears to be irregular, a notification will advise when atrial fibrillation (AFib) is identified.

Apple goes on to say: “The ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notification feature will help users identify signs of AFib”. And that it is “the most common form of irregular rhythm.”. If AFib is left untreated, it can go on to be one of the leading conditions that results in stroke. And it is the second most common cause of death around the world.

Availability and Release

ECG and irregular rhythm notification features on compatible Apple Watch models will be available with iOS 13.4 and watchOS 6.2. These two software updates are due to be released on March 25th, 2020.

It is unclear when Australia will gain the features, which most likely require medical approval before launching.

  1. Most of the world now has approval of Apple Watch ECG. Now vulnerable people with heart conditions are trapped at home. It’s not a 12 lead marching but it’s been shown to be useful in identifying arrhythmia. How about the bureaucrats at the TGA make a special approval to allow this app.

    1. Apple has talked to TGA but haven’t applied most likely because either the requirements are unfulfillable for a non-medical company as Apple, or costs big sum of money not worth it commercially for just a feature… Which is kind of stupid, if the TGA cared for the health of the population they should allow it.

  2. It’s a shame. The TGA have stayed the ecg itself isn’t the problem, the fact that Apple are claiming it can offer health benefits is the reason they need to regulate.
    If Apple could just say it’s a neat feature in Australia that has no implications on you seeking medical advice then we’d have it already.
    Let’s just hope now NZ has it, the regulations are similar enough to make the process speedy in oz.

  3. Without the ECG function, this is a deal breaker for me buying an Apple Watch. Plenty of other alternatives that do the same thing for less.

    1. Hi Stephen – I note your comment above – Have you been able to purchase a watch that monitors Atrial Fibrillation for use in Australia.
      With thanks

  4. I live in the UK and have an Apple Watch Series 4 that was bought in Australia. Until recently the ECG was not working, however, since the last update I now have ECG. So if you are in Australia, you may want to change your region settings for the watch and it may work

  5. Australia health system really primitive. I traveled around the world and stayed long times. I never seen before like this health system. So you wait long time ECG function. Maybe after Iraq or Iran then will be come to Australia.

    1. Clearly you’ve never been to the United States if you think Australia’s healthcare system is primitive. We have one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Just because Apple has not given us one function doesn’t make our system primitive.

      1. Umm Adam said the “health” system is primitive (which is kind of true), not the “healthcare”system…we do have one of the best “healthcare” system.

  6. It looks like there is something in the works….

    Apple said it was “working hard” to bring its latest watch – which could also take electrocardiograms or ECGs – to Australia.
    The head of electrophysiology at Melbourne’s Baker Institute and Alfred hospital, Prof Kistler said he used a component of the new Apple Watch technology in his research into “the gender gap” in AF treatment.

  7. This watch most likely helped save my life. Until recently I lived in Canada and bought my Apple Watch there. My watch identified afib and prompted a consultation with a cardiologist who confirmed the condition and prescribed meds to manage it. Since returning to Australia(where the app still works as I had initiated it in North America)the symptoms identified by the watch worsened and again were confirmed by an ambulance crew here following another extended overnight episode that would not resolve. I am now in recovery following an ablation, an operation which scars the area of the heart. The doctors, specialists and emergency ambulance crew all acknowledged the ability of Apple Watch to identify these symptoms and data and confirmed it with their own specialist equipment which I would have expected. It is a shame this is not approved yet in Australia – even if they just considered the benefit from a savings perspective, the reduced benefit to the medical burden on our health system would be significant.

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