Apple Watch: Blood oxygen app not medical – and only from 18

With Apple Watch Series 6 and the new family configuration, there are several restrictions to be observed: The blood oxygen app only works from the age of 18, as Apple has now announced – the app refuses to take a measurement for younger users. The age is determined based on the date of birth specified when the Apple Watch was set up or obtained from the health information entered in the Health app on the iPhone. So far, Apple has not given a reason for the restriction. Apple also recommends the age of the integrated ECG app – it is designed for people aged 22 and over – but does not block the function for younger users. The values ​​collected by the blood oxygen app are not intended for “medical purposes” or for self-diagnosis anyway, as the manufacturer warns. The measured values ​​would only be suitable for “wellness and fitness purposes”. The recorded values ​​are largely “useless” and vary greatly, writes the Washington Post after test runs with two Apple watches. With a “small part of the users”, the SpO2-Measurement will prove difficult due to various factors, a spokeswoman for the group told the newspaper – numbers on the reliability of the sensor were not given. Apple has not yet announced whether approval as a medical device is even being sought for the blood oxygen app. One wants to research in several studies whether the measurements for “future health applications” can be used, Apple only announced when the watch was presented. In contrast, the Apple Watch’s ECG app, which was introduced two years ago, has received approval as a medical product in various regions and, according to doctors, also provides good values ​​as a 1-channel ECG.
If an Apple Watch is set up for children or seniors without their own iPhone with Apple’s new family configuration, there are further restrictions to be observed: neither EKG nor blood oxygen apps are available on watches set up in this way, and there are no warnings about possible cardiac arrhythmias, as Apple lists in a new support document. Sleep tracking, cycle log, podcasts, shortcuts and smart home control are also excluded from the family configuration. Fall detection is available, but only from the age of 18, notes Apple.
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