Apple has designed a new algorithm that Apple Watch uses to measure electrocardiogram (ECG) waves, according to developer documentation for the iOS 14.3 and watchOS 7.2 betas.
In the official documentation, a new “version 2 algorithm” declaration has been added. No other information is offered, however.
It’s hard to say what the upshot of the updated algorithm might be, but it could conceivably improve the accuracy of ECG readings. The ECG feature, which is now available in nearly 50 countries for Apple Watch Series 4, 5, and 6, allows users to directly measure electrical heart activity by simply placing their finger on the Digital Crown for 30 seconds.
The ECG feature also includes irregular heart rhythm detection, which intermittently measures the user’s heart rate in the background and sends a notification if it detects an anomaly it categorizes as atrial fibrillation, which can be a serious heart arrhythmia condition.
Both features are considered medical diagnostics, and so they require approval from regulators in each country where they are to be made available.
iOS 14.3 will introduce support for Apple Fitness+, Apple’s upcoming fitness service that will work with the Apple Watch, plus it brings a new Cardio Fitness feature that lets you know if your VO2Max levels are low. VO2Max is a useful measurement of overall fitness and heart health.
iOS 14.3 is set to be released on Monday, December 14, which is also the day that Apple Fitness+ is coming out.