Apple has been improving and perfecting its Apple Watch ever since it first launched the smartwatch back in 2015. The Cupertino tech giant has added a number of health and fitness-related features to it to make it more than a watch that simply sits on your wrist or one that just connects you to your phone. And over the past few years, the company has taken the Apple Watch’s safety and health features to a different level. A level where the smartwatch could actually save its user’s life. From notifying you about abnormal heart rates to informing emergency contacts if you have taken a serious fall, the Apple Watch has got you covered. With the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple has added more features that make it even more useful if you find yourself in a health/safety pickle. Here are eight ways (and one more) in which the Apple Watch can actually prove to be a life saviour, making it one of the most helpful pieces of technology that one could wrap around their wrist.
This Sherlock detects crashes and gets help too
If you are involved in a car crash (lord forbid), the Apple Watch gets into crash detection mode. Its array of sensors including the 3-axis gyroscope and a new g-force accelerometer (with the “highest dynamic range in any smartwatch,” as per Apple) swing into action, in coordination with the microphone, barometer, and GPS. And pulling the strings of all these is a sensor fusion algorithm that is based on over a million hours of driving and crash data from the real world. The result? When it senses that you have been in a crash, the Series 8 watch chimes and taps your wrist, and also displays a message (“It looks like you have been in a crash!”) and an Emergency Call slider. It waits for 20 seconds for you to respond, and if you do not do so, it automatically calls emergency services, as well as any emergency contacts that you might have added. A point to be noted is that this feature works only with cars, not with other vehicles. Another point to be noted is that it really works and is turned on by default. In fact, it is so effective that it could send off alarms from roller coaster rides, so if you are headed to an amusement park that involves any crashing, put the Watch Series 8 in Airplane Mode.
Why do we fall, sir…never mind, the Apple Watch will get help when we do
Fall detection has been a feature of the Apple Watch for a while now and it comes to the Series 8 as well. All those amazing sensors that detect crashes, also play a role in figuring out when you have had a hard fall. When the Apple Watch Series 8 detects that you have fallen hard and have not moved for about a minute, it will tap your wrist, sound an alarm and display a message (“It looks like you have taken a hard fall”) and give you the option to either indicate you are OK or make an emergency call. If you do not respond, it will attempt to call emergency messages. The feature is enabled by default if you enter your age in the Watch and are above 55 years of age. You have to otherwise enable it. It is as simple as going to Settings on your Apple Watch Series 8, heading to SOS and turning on Fall Detection. Do remember that the feature will not work if you have turned off Wrist Detection. In a neat touch, Fall Detection is optimised when you are working out!
Heart rate alerts
Whenever your heart goes racing… you will know
One of the most amazing features of the Apple Watch is its ability to not just measure your heart rate, but also to detect abnormally high or low heart rates. By default, if your Apple Watch Series 8 senses that your heart rate is above or below certain points (you can change this in the Apple Watch app) for 10 minutes, it sends you an alert, telling you that your heart rate is on the higher or lower side. So the next time you feel your heart racing and feel a tap on your wrist, check your Apple Watch Series 8. It could well save your life.
An ECG on your wrist, with the gift of spotting skipped beats
Since the Apple Watch Series 4 (but excluding the SE series), the Apple Watch has been coming with an electrocardiogram (ECG) feature, letting you take a reading of the condition of your heart, without having to head out to a clinic or diagnostic lab. The Series 8 too is capable of generating an ECG that’s similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram. It can not only generate an ECG by as simple a gesture as placing your finger on the crown for 30 seconds, but also can spot irregular heart rhythms that could be a sign of Atrial Fibrillation. What’s more, you can even generate PDFs of your ECG chart and share them with your doctor from the Health app on your iPhone. The ECG app cannot detect a heart attack but it literally is a lifesaver in those situations when you feel that your heart is beating erratically, and there is no doctor or hospital nearby.
Blood oxygen matters, because COVID ain’t gone yet
The worst of the pandemic might be behind us (fingers crossed), but COVID remains a threat even now. And one of the ways of detecting associated health issues is by monitoring blood oxygen. The Apple Watch Series 8 comes with a sensor to measure blood oxygen not only whenever you want, but also keeps recording it throughout the day and night. Recording it is as easy as opening the option on the watch, and keeping your wrist steady for 15 seconds!
Never get lost… Backtrack has got your back
One of the worst scenarios for anyone is to be lost, especially in an area where you do not have the option to ask for directions. It can happen when one is out on a hike or a drive and ventures a little too far, or sometimes it can even be as simple as forgetting where you parked your car in a part of town you are not familiar with. Fortunately, the Apple Watch Series 8 can help you find your way back. Doing the magic is the Compass app on the Apple Watch. Open it and mark the location from where you start your trip into the relative unknown as a Waypoint. As long as you are within 50 miles (or 80 kilometres) of your Waypoint, you can select it on your Watch and get directions to it, thanks to the Compass app and GPS on the watch.
Pop those pills on time always
The right medicine can save your life. And missing taking it on time can severely risk it. Well, there is no chance of you missing your medicines with the Apple Watch Series 8. The watch comes with a Medications app that tracks the medicines, supplements and vitamins you need to take. You just need to enter the medicines you need to take and the frequency and schedule, and the Watch will tap your wrist to remind you when it is time to pop your next pill, sip your syrup or munch a supplement. You will not miss a dose even if you doze off.
SOS, SOS… just hit the button on the Watch
Need help urgently? Just press and hold the button below the Crown on the Apple Watch Series 8. This will give you the option to make a call to local emergency services. If you do not feel able to make the call, keep the button pressed and the Watch will call the services. Your emergency contacts will then get a text message saying you need aid and also share your location (they will also get updates if your location changes). Just remember that you will need to have a cellular connection on your Watch Series 8 or Wi-Fi calling via an Internet connection with a paired iPhone to avail of this life-saving feature.
And one more thing… Wash your hands of the germs in your life
They say that washing your hands is one of the best measures you can take to keep germs and infections at bay. And they were saying that well before COVID became a thing. The Apple Watch Series 8 comes with a feature that reminds you to wash your hands when you return home. What’s more, it even has a timer that ensures that you wash your hands for twenty seconds. You just need to head to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and set it up in the Handwashing section.