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How to get the ECG app on Apple Watch

The ECG app for Apple Watch was announced at the September event and will be available by the end of 2018 as a free software update. The ECG app requires Apple Watch Series 4 which features electrodes in the digital crown and the back plate of the device. Due to legal reasons, the ECG app is limited by region.

All Apple Watch models record your heart rate, a number in beats per minute. You can use the Heart Rate app to get a heart reading, or Apple Watch takes a heart rate reading passively every few minutes.

The electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) records the actual pattern of the electrical impulses of your heart. This chart can then be found in the Health app and exported as a PDF to send to your doctor.

To get the ECG app, your Apple Watch must be bought from a support region, as well as the paired iPhone. As ECG functionality crosses into the realm of medical health, Apple must get regulatory approval for each country to offer the ECG app.

You can get the ECG app for Apple Watch Series 4 in the following countries:

Available countries for ECG app

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Guam
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Romania
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • US Virgin Islands

The ECG appears on the home screen honeycomb grid of apps. You just tap on it and follow the onscreen instructions to get an ECG. Simply place one finger on the Digital Crown and wait 30 seconds whilst it reads the electrical impulses in your body.

Apple Watch can detect some cases of atrial fibrillation. As always, consult your doctor and do not take the Apple Watch recommendations at face value. Atrial fibrillation detection happens with an explicit ECG session and in the background, so you can get an atrial fibrillation notification just as you were walking around.

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Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.