Prosser: Apple Watch will soon be able to detect oncoming panic attacks

Apple Watch Breathe app
Apple Watch Breathe app (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A new rumor claims Apple is bringing mental health features to Apple Watch.
  • Leaker Jon Prosser says the Watch will soon be able to detect panic attacks.
  • The feature could be coming to the Apple Watch as soon as this year.

Apple is set to unveil watchOS 7 at its virtual WWDC keynote event on June 22nd, but we may already have an idea of at least one feature that may be coming to the latest update for the software that powers the Apple Watch.

Reported by MacRumors, leaker Jon Prosser was on the Geared Up Podcast when he spoke about a new feature that could be coming to the Apple Watch as soon as this year. Prosser said that Apple is looking to bring "mental health capabilities" to the Apple Watch, such as the ability to detect an oncoming panic attack.

"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."

Apple is rumored to be working on blood oxygen monitoring for a future version of Apple Watch, but according to EverythingApplePro and leaker Max Weinbach, the mental health capabilities would not rely on such a feature.

"The panic attack detecting rumor was first shared by EverythingApplePro and leaker Max Weinbach back in April, who said that the Apple Watch will also be able to determine when a user is experiencing high levels of stress. Weinbach and EverythingApplePro did not suggest the feature would rely on blood oxygen monitoring, however, and said that it would be available on the Apple Watch Series 4 or later."

Blood oxygen monitoring can detect a respiratory or cardiac issue, so it will be another major health leap for the Apple Watch if the company pulls it off.

"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."

We will have to wait until WWDC to see if Apple plans to bring its mental health features to the Apple Watch this year.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.