Apple Watch Series 6 might be able to monitor your blood oxygen levels

Pride 2020 Apple Watch Bands Glasses Hero
Pride 2020 Apple Watch Bands Glasses Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple Watch Series 6 will offer blood oxygen level monitoring, according to a report.
  • The feature will allow wearers to keep tabs on another important stat.
  • The monitoring could detect when someone is having a panic attack.

When Apple launches the Apple Watch Series 6 wearable this fall, it'll come with a whole new sensor according to a new DigiTimes report.

First spotted by MacRumors, the report claims that a new sensor will be able to measure blood oxygen levels as well as the many other stats it is already capable of tracking.

Apple Watch 6 will feature biosensors that can monitor sleeping conditions, detect blood oxygen and measure pulse rates, heartbeats and atrial fibrillation, and will also incorporate MEMS-based accelerometer and gyroscope, all allowing the new device to continue to lead in measurement precision among wearable devices, the sources said.

Apple Watch Series 6 wouldn't be the first wearable to track blood oxygen levels – Fitbit can already do it – but it would be the first time an Apple wearable has had the feature.

A previous report by Jon Prosser also suggested that blood oxygen level monitoring could be used to help detect panic attacks and more.

"What their biggest focus on is right now and I hope it comes this year, it might come next year, but I hope it's coming to WWDC is mental health capabilities. Where they can take the oxygen levels in your blood with your heart rate and determine if you're hyperventilating. They can identify a panic attack before it happens and warn you on your watch. Especially if you're driving, they'll ask you to pull over and they'll offer breathing exercises once you get pulled over."

Leaked iOS 14 code has also previously pointed to the arrival of some sort of blood oxygen monitoring feature coming, likely to Apple Watch rather than iPhone for obvious reasons.

"Hints that blood oxygen tracking capabilities are coming to a future version of the Apple Watch were found in a leaked version of iOS 14. Blood oxygen monitoring is an important feature because a drop in blood oxygen levels can suggest a serious respiratory or cardiac problem that requires immediate medical attention."

While Apple has already confirmed that the 2020 iPhones won't arrive in their usual release window, nothing has so far been said about Apple Watch Series 6. Don't worry though – as soon as we know, so will you!

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.