Apple’s New Health and Fitness Features

Sep 17, 2018

Health Related Features in iOS 12 and WatchOS 5

Apple’s new Health and fitness features are being released today!

iOS 12 and Watch OS 5 are being officially released today, September 17, 2018. Orders are already being taken for the Apple Watch Series 4, which will begin shipping on September 21, 2018.

Apple continues to emphasize health and fitness in the new Apple Watch Series 4, and has made significant enhancement of health and fitness features in WatchOS 5 and iOS 12.

Special hardware has been added to the Apple Watch to support ECG measurements directly on the Apple Watch as well as built-in fall detection. Many enhancements have been made to the Workout app, the Activity app, the Health app and the Watch app that are directly related to health and fitness.

WatchOS 5

Heart Rate Notifications

In earlier versions of WatchOS there was an option for Elevated Heart Rate Notifications. These are now called High Heart Rate Notifications. Watch OS 5 has added Low Heart Rate Notifications. This allows you to be notified if your heart rate is lower than a certain threshold for more than 10 minutes. The thresholds for High Heart Rate Notifications and Low Heart Rate Notifications can be set in the Watch app on the iPhone.

Another notification has been added to detect an Irregular Heart Rate. An irregular heart rate could be an indication of Atrial Fibrillation, or some other irregular heart rate that may indicate a potential problem with your heart.


WatchOS 5 contains many enhancements that make the Apple Watch an even better workout companion.

A new Yoga workout type has been added to provide more accurate tracking of Active Calories burned during a Yoga workout. In addition, a new Hiking workout has been added that keeps track of your total elevation climbed during the hike. This information is also used to calculate your Active Calories burned during a Hiking workout.

Outdoor Run


If you are doing an Outdoor Run using the Workout app, there are several enhancements in WatchOS 5. You can set a target pace and then be given alerts if you are ahead of, or behind your target pace. You can also track your cadence and see the Rolling Pace during your run. The rolling pace shows you your pace for the last mile (or kilometer) that you have run. You can determine what will be shown on the screen during your run in the Watch app on the iPhone.

Auto-detect Workout

workout_detectionThe Workout app on the Apple Watch can now detect that you have started a workout, and often it can determine what type of workout you are doing. If you confirm that you are doing a workout, the workout will be recorded from when it started. Once you stop moving, or your heart rate begins to slow down, the Apple Watch will automatically determine that you have finished your workout, and will ask you if you want to end the workout.

Activity Competition

competitionYou can invite other Apple Watch wearers who you share your Activity with to compete in a seven day Activity Competition. During the competition, you will be given updates to encourage you to stay engaged and win the competition.

Apple Watch Podcast App

Apple-watchOS_5-PodcastsThere is now an Apple Watch Podcast app. This allows you to listen to Podcasts directly from your Apple Watch. This can be very convenient if you are doing a workout without your iPhone.

Apple Watch Series 4

The new Apple Watch Series 4 runs WatchOS 5. All of the above enhancements will work on the new watch as well as older watches. There are several new features that are supported only on the Apple Watch Series 4, and not on any older Watches.

Built-in ECG

apple_watch_series4-ecgThe Apple Watch Series 4 has added support for ECG (Electrocardiogram) measurements. This allows you at any time to check your ECG by running the ECG app, and placing your finger on the digital crown for 30 seconds. After the ECG reading has been taken, a PDF file is created that can be sent to a health care professional for further review.

Fall Detection

The Apple Watch Series 4 has also added support for Fall Detection. Using a new and more sensitive accelerometer and gyroscope, the Apple Watch is able to detect when you fall. If you don’t acknowledge that you are ok within a certain amount of time after falling, it will automatically call local emergency services as well as your emergency contacts.

New Watch Face

The Apple Watch Series 4 has a new watch face that has eight complications. This allows you to have many health and fitness related complications all one one watch face for easy access.



The Health app and the Watch app on the iPhone have been updated to support all of the enhancements that have been made in WatchOS 5 that are related to Health and Fitness. This includes support for High Heart Rate Notifications, Low Heart Rate Notifications, Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications, ECGs and Fall Notifications.

ECGs that have been recorded on the Apple Watch Series 4 will be saved in the Health app where they can be viewed and shared with your health care provider.

The Activity app on the iPhones allow you to invite friends to an Activity Competition and to track the competition once it has begun.

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