The latest Apple Watch Series 6 comes with a blood oxygen sensor and an accompanying app to help you measure how well oxygenated your blood is at any given time. This is an excellent new feature for gaining insight into health and fitness. It can help you seek medical help in time if needed. Furthermore, the data is synchronized with the Health app on iPhone for easy access. Let’s learn more and see how to use the blood oxygen app on the Apple Watch Series 6.
What is blood oxygen and why measure blood oxygen?
Oxygen in the blood refers to the level of oxygen saturation (SpO2) in your blood at all times. It indicates the percentage of oxygen the red blood cells take up from the lungs to transport around your body. The body needs to get adequate oxygen supply to function healthily. Most people usually have blood oxygen levels of 95-99 percent.
Lower SpO2 levels are linked to diseases such as asthma, pneumonia and COVID-1
Things you need to measure oxygen in the blood
Note: The Blood Oxygen app is currently only available in select countries. Also, it is only available to people 18 years or older.
Here’s what you need to use it:
- An Apple Watch Series 6 updated with the latest watchOS 7.
- An iPhone 6s or later with the latest iOS 14.
How to set up the Blood Oxygen app on Apple Watch Series 6
- Go to Health app on iPhone.
- You will be automatically prompted for on-screen instructions. If you are not, press Scroll through category.
- Select The airways → Blood Oxygen → Put oxygen in the blood.
- follow instructions for use on the screen.
- When the installation is complete, start Blood Oxygen app on your apple See.
If you can’t see the Blood Oxygen app on your watch, you can install it from the App Store.
How to measure your blood oxygen levels with the Oxygen for Blood app
- Use the Apple Watch on your wrist and make sure it lies flat and turns up. Keep it warm, yet comfortable.
- To open Blood Oxygen app on the Apple Watch and press Start.
- Keep still and keep your arm steady 15 seconds.
- When you have received the results, press Finished.
Tips for getting accurate measurements of oxygen in your blood
- Hold your wrist while measuring flat and steady. You can rest it on a table or on your lap.
- Attach the Apple Watch close to your wrist while making sure it feels comfortable. The back of the watch must lie flat against the wrist for accurate reading.
- If the bones in your wrist interfere with the position of your watch, use it slightly higher on your arm where it can lie flat.
How to display blood oxygen data
All your oxygen measurements are automatically saved in the Health app on iPhone. To see these:
- Start Health app and go to Scroll through category.
- Select The airways → Oxygen in the blood.
You can see daily, weekly, monthly and yearly data, including both on demand and background measurements.
Furthermore, you can filter the measurements taken during sleep or in high surroundings.
How to turn on / off background measurements for oxygen in the blood
By default, the Apple Watch measures your blood oxygen content in the background. This usually happens when you are quiet or asleep if you have enabled sleep tracking on your watch.
The function uses bright red light flashing towards the wrist, so it can be disturbing in dark environments. Therefore, you can turn off these background measurements when your watch is in sleep mode or theater mode to prevent red light. This is how:
- Go to Settings on the Apple Watch.
- Press Blood Oxygen and turn off the options for In sleep mode and In theater mode.
How the Blood Oxygen App works
The Blood Oxygen Sensor is located on the back of the Apple Watch and is a groundbreaking wellness feature. It works by shining red and green LEDs and infrared light on the wrist.
It then calculates the amount of light reflected back, and advanced algorithms use this data to approximate the color of the blood, which determines the level of oxygenation. In general, bright red blood has high oxygen. On the other hand, a darker red indicates a lower level of oxygen.
Things to know about measuring oxygen in the blood
- As mentioned above, you can only use the Blood Oxygen app if you are at least 18 years old.
- Apple Watch is not medical equipment, so even under ideal conditions it may not give you a reliable oxygen measurement. It may even be impossible to get a measurement due to a combination of factors.
- Measurements can be affected by the amount of blood flowing through your skin, which can vary between different users and different environments. For example, if you are out in cold weather, there will be very little blood flowing through your skin, so the blood oxygen sensor will not work.
- Changes in your skin can affect the oxygen measurements in your blood. For example, tattoos can block the light from the sensor.
- Movement and posture can also affect the measurements. For example, it does not work if you fold your fingers in a fist.
- If your heart rate is above 150 beats per minute while you are at rest, you will not get a successful measurement of oxygen in the blood.
- The Blood Oxygen function is intended for general training and wellness purposes only. It is not for medical use.
- Readings taken while sleeping will usually be slightly lower than usual. Some users may also get values below 95%.
Are you excited about using the Blood Oxygen App on the Apple Watch Series 6? Let us know what you think about it in the comments below.
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