Fitbit beats Apple Watch to monitoring blood oxygen levels

How to download watchOS 6 beta 1 to your Apple Watch
How to download watchOS 6 beta 1 to your Apple Watch (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Fitbit users recently started noticing SP02 monitoring in their Fitbit apps.
  • Oxygen level monitoring is something expected to come to Apple Watch.
  • But Fitbit beat it to the punch.

Fitbit has started to roll out oxygen level monitoring to some of its fitness trackers, with the Ionic, Versa, and Charge 3 all seeing new options appear in the Fitbit app.

Users in the US started seeing blood oxygen monitoring – or SPO2 – data appear today according to a Tizenhelp report (via 9to5Mac.) And while the Fitbit app does note that the data is estimated, it's certainly going to be more accurate than what Apple Watch offers. Which, at this point, is nothing.

Blood oxygen saturation normally fluctuates, but big variations can be linked to breathing issues. Estimated oxygen variation approximates the changes in your blood oxygen saturation.

Fitbit app

Fitbit app (Image credit: Tizenhelp)

Given the fact that this feature was added via software, it's possible that Apple may be able to do something similar if its Apple Watches already have the hardware required. We don't know whether that's the case, but it would absolutely stand to reason. There would likely be FDA approval requirements to consider, but it's possible we could see Apple Watch SPO2 monitoring in the future. Hopefully we won't need to buy Apple Watch Series 6 to get it, though.

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.