One of the most important new feature coming in watchOS 7 is the Blood Oxygen monitoring. However, because of hardware limitations this is only available with the 2020 Apple Watch flagship.
You can easily turn your Apple Watch Series 6 into a Blood Oxygen Monitor, by installing the new Blood Oxygen app and resting your arm on a desk, or in your lap for 15 seconds. That’s all the time that watchOS 7 needs to scan and read the saturation of oxygen in your blood!
What is Blood Oxygen Saturation?
The blood oxygen level shows to what percentage of the hemoglobin from your red blood cells has bonded with oxygen molecules. A healthy human body requires the values of oxygen in the blood to be between 95 – 100 %.
Fact: The oxygen from your blood stream comes from your lungs, when uou inhale. Blood Oxygen levels have become increasingly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, because one of the main complications caused by the novel Coronavirus are lung infections. These, if left untreated can lead to death! One of the early signs of serious COVID-19 problems are blood oxygen values below 95%!
Tip To Enable Blood Oxygen On Apple Watch
If you recently upgraded to the Apple Watch Series 6, you might not see the new Blood Oxygen app in the app gallery. This happens when you install the new Apple smartwatch by restoring from a backup of your previous Apple Watch. The Blood Oxygen app is obviously not available with an older version and you have install it.
1. Open the Health app on the paired iPhone.
2. In the Summary tab, scroll for Blood Oxygen.
3. Tap on Get Started.
4. Confirm that you want to install the Blood Oxygen app on your Apple Watch and you’re ready to go.
Tip: Alternatively, if the Blood Oxygen app is already installed and you get the ‘Measurements are Off’ prompt, tap on Settings and enable the Blood Oxygen Measurements option.
How To Measure Blood Oxygen With Apple Watch
- 1. Click the Digital Crown to open the app gallery.
- 2. Scroll for Blood Oxygen.
- 3. Place your hand on a desk or in your lap and tap Start.
Fact: Your most recent reading will be displayed right above, the Start button. The Apple Watch is able to measure your blood oxygen saturation randomly.
- 4. Stay still until the 15-seconds timer is elapsed and the oxygen in your blood is measured.
- 5. Review the result and tap Done.
Tip: You can view a history of your Blood Oxygen measurements in the Health app, on the companion iPhone.
Add Blood Oxygen Complication To Watch Face
For quicker access to manual Blood Oxygen measurements you can add the Blood Oxygen complication to your Watch Face:
- 1. Long-press on the Apple Watch face.
- 2. Tap on Edit.
- 3. Swipe-left to bring up the Complications edit screen.
- 4. Tap on the complication that you want to change with Blood Oxygen.
- 5. Scroll for Blood Oxygen complication and tap on it. Click the Digital Crown twice, to save your settings.
Apple Watch Blood Oxygen Review
Watch our video review of the new watchOS 7 Blood Oxygen app:
Apple Watch Blood Oxygen Accuracy
Are you wondering how accurate the Apple Watch blood oxygen monitor is? I had the same question. Especially, because measuring the Blood Oxygen several times within a distance of only a couple of minutes can often display different results. I measured the blood O2 three times within 2 minutes and got values between the 97% – 100% range.
To check the accuracy we used a regular blood oxygen monitor and found identical results. This means that although Apple mentions that the Apple Watch Blood Oxygen feature shouldn’t be considered medical advice, the readings provided by the Blood Oxygen app are a good indicator that you need to consult your doctor if values go below 95%!
Apple Watch Blood Oxygen Not Working?
Is your watch not able to measure your blood oxygen levels? Are you getting the Unsuccessful Measurement message? Here are some tips that you can apply to fix this:
- Make sure that your Apple Watch isn’t positioned too low on your wrist.
- The smartwatch band should be snug but comfortable (not too tight).
- Keep your Apple Watch facing up, during the entire procedure (15 seconds).
- Don’t move your hand. You can rest your wrist on a table or in your lap.
- Don’t tap your fingers on the table while the blood oxygen level is measured!
Turn Off Blood Oxygen During Sleep
The Apple Watch is able to randomly measure your oxygen levels to provide a better picture. The automatic measurements are done similar to the Heart Rate readings, when you’re standing still. This happens both during the day and during the night. However, you might want to turn them off while sleeping, because the flashing red LED can be disturbing in low light. Here is how to:
1. Open the Watch app on the companion iPhone.
2. In the My Watch tab, scroll for Blood Oxygen.
3. In the Allow Background Measurements section disable ‘In Theater Mode’ or ‘In Sleep Mode’. This will stop random measurements while you bring your Apple Watch in Theater Mode and / or while you sleep.
How To Check Blood Oxygen Readings
You can check the history of your Apple Watch blood oxygen measurements in the Health app, on the companion iPhone:
1. Open the Health app.
2. Tap on the Browse tab, available at the bottom of the screen.
3. Scroll for Vitals.
4. Tap on Blood Oxygen and check the graph.
Tip: Scroll for the Add to Favorites option and enable it. This will show your Blood Oxygen values on the Health app Summary screen.
What’s your feedback about the new Apple Watch Series 6 Blood Oxygen feature? Let us know with the help of the comments section available below.
Related: Check out plenty more new Apple Watch tricks in watchOS 7!