Apple makes it insanely simple for iPhone owners to become organ donors

Apple makes it insanely simple for iPhone owners to become organ donors


Steve Jobs' death pushed Apple to explore this initiative.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

As part of Apple’s ongoing mission to be a “force for good” in the world, the company is encouraging iPhone users to register as organ donors, courtesy of an upcoming software update for its Health app.

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The update will give users an easy sign-up button, which Tim Cook says he hopes will help ease the longstanding shortage of donor shortage. Cook says that the problem became apparent to him when Steve Jobs had to endure an “excruciating” wait for a liver transplant back in 2009. During that time, Cook even offered to donate his own liver to his boss, only for Jobs to turn it down.

The software update to allow Apple users to easily enroll in a national donor registry will arrive with iOS 10 when it arrives this fall.

Attempting to increase the number of organ donors is in keeping with Apple’s recent efforts in the mobile health field, as evidenced through data-gathering initiatives like ResearchKit. While we obviously don’t yet know how it will affect the overall number of donors around the U.S., I’d suspect it will have a significant impact.

As revealed in the book Nudge, around 97 percent of people show support for donating their own organs after death, although a fraction of this number have signed organ donor cards or have the relevant box ticked on their driver’s license. By making it easier than ever to sign up, Apple could have a major impact in helping save lives.