What is your Apple Watch trying to tell you about your health?

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These days Apple Watch detects far more than just your heart rate
Understanding these Apple Watch stats is key to unlocking its healthy potential.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

If you’ve been wearing an Apple Watch for a while now, chances are you have built up a huge amount of data related to your health. But do you know what it all means? What exactly is that wrist-mounted technological marvel trying to tell you?

All those different stats Apple Watch saves to the Health app can be a little overwhelming. But if you know how to interpret them, they provide a surprisingly wide variety of insights into your health. Like how fit you are, how much stress you are under and whether you are at risk of heart disease.

It’s worth taking the time to understand what your Apple Watch is telling you. It can help you improve your wellbeing — and it might even save your life.

Apple Watch shipments shot up 49% last quarter

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Apple Watch in Singapore
When you see someone wearing a smartwatch, there’s a good chance it’s made by Apple.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s wearable is turning into a real success. Shipments of Apple Watch grew 49 percent in the first three months of this year.And it makes up the lion’s share of all smartwatches.

This company’s revenue for this product category grew 30 percent last quarter.

Tiny attachment gives iPhone better ECG than Apple Watch

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KardiaMobile lets an iPhone detect three types of heart problems.
KardiaMobile lets an iPhone detect three types of heart problems.
Photo: AliveCor

AliveCor‘s KardiaMobile has been cleared by the FDA to detect the three most common heart arrhythmias. It’s the only personal ECG cleared to do so.

That puts this pocket-size phone accessory well ahead of the Apple Watch, which can only detect one type of heart problem.

Apple Watch ECG already helped save a life in Germany

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Apple Watch ECG debuted in Germany last week.
Apple Watch ECG debuted in Germany last week.
Photo: Apple

The electrocardiogram (ECG) feature of the Apple Watch was only turned on last week in Europe there’s already a report of it discovering a serious heart condition in a German man.

This is exactly what it’s intended to do: find heart problems for which there are no obvious symptoms.

Apple Watch ECG finally makes it to the heart of Europe

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The ECG feature of the Apple Watch Series 4 isn’t just for Americans any more.
The ECG feature of the Apple Watch Series 4 isn’t just for Americans any more.
Photo: Apple

After debuting in the United States last fall, the Apple Watch Series 4 electrocardiogram (ECG) feature is available to Europeans, at last.

The ability to monitor the electrical activity of the wearer’s heart just debuted in 20 additional countries, and only requires upgrading to watchOS 5.2.

Apple Watch ECG already finding stealth heart problems

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Apple health care
Using the ECG on Apple Watch Series 4 is dead easy.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Ed Dentel has become the poster child for the new ECG function of the Apple Watch. He installed the recent update that allowed this wearable to check the electrical activity of his heart and it immediately told him he had a problem.

At first he thought the new technology was faulty. Instead, the fault was his heart.

Ready, set, relax! Go deep with Apple Watch Breathe app [Cult of Mac Magazine No. 274]

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Cult of Mac Magazine No. 274
The serenely subtle Breath app has a surprisingly deep history.
Cover: Graham Bower/Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Take a deep breath and learn how to get the most out of your Apple Watch with a pair of handy how-tos. Every Apple Watch owner can take advantage of Apple’s stress-busting Breathe app. However, you’ll need a Series 4 (and this week’s watchOS update) to get in on the ECG action.

Get those how-tos and the week’s best Apple news and reviews — including an expose on Apple’s biologically bogus squid emoji — in your free issue of Cult of Mac Magazine. Download it now on iTunes. Or keep reading for the week’s best Apple news, reviews and how-tos. (Plus, enter to win a set of rugged iPhone XS Max cases.)

No, watchOS 5.1 doesn’t add ECG to Apple Watch Series 4

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Apple Watch ECG
Apple says the ECG app is still "coming later this year" to Apple Watch Series 4.
Photo: Apple

Apple just released watchOS 5.1, an update that brings new features to this wearable. But one of these is not the software needed for Apple Watch Series 4 users to take an electrocardiogram. Other sites are incorrectly reporting that the ECG app is part of this update.

No Apple Watch ECG app in watchOS 5.1 beta 3

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Apple Watch ECG
watchOS 5.1 shows no sign of getting the Apple Watch ECG application so many people are waiting for.
Photo: Apple

There’s bad news for Apple Watch Series 4 users: the third beta of watchOS 5.1 is out and it still lacks an ECG application. The hardware to take an electrocardiogram is built into Apple’s latest wearable but the software is still MIA.

There’s also a new beta of tvOS 12.1 today, along with iOS 12.1 beta 3. The latest macOS 10.14.1 pre-release version came out yesterday.

Series 4 makes me fall in love with Apple Watch all over again

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apple watch
Cupertino’s latest shiny wearable is really giving me the feels.
Photo: Apple

Can Apple Watch Series 4’s fall-detection feature tell when you have fallen in love? I hope so, because I’ve really fallen for it. Big-time. I haven’t felt this way about an Apple Watch since my first love, the original model, was announced back in 2014.

It’s not just the sleek new design. Nor the spacious new screen. It’s not even the breakthrough new health features. It’s when you combine them all together. It defies all logic and reason that Cupertino managed to cram so much awesomeness into such a tiny, beautiful package.

I can’t wait to strap an Apple Watch Series 4 onto my wrist next Friday and take it for a run. But until then, here are my first thoughts on this exciting new direction for Apple Watch.