No, region-switching trick won’t make Apple’s ECG app magically appear for non-US users

Changing the region to United States in your iPhone’s settings won’t automagically make Apple’s new ECG app appear on Apple Watch Series 4 for non-US customers.

The FDA-regulated app is currently intended for over-the-counter use in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands. As such, it’s not available yet internationally.

That’s according to Joe Rossignol of MacRumors, who after trying out this trick for himself was able to determine that it didn’t really work as it was supposed to.

Those who live in and bought an Apple Watch in Canada, the UK, or elsewhere abroad can’t use the region-switching trick to enable the ECG app—it doesn’t work.

I’m guessing this is because heart health being such a big deal has prompted Apple to use other signals to determine who’s eligible to use the app, like your geolocation, Apple ID settings, your phone number and carrier information,  and so forth.

About two months ago, 9to5Mac unequivocally stated that the ECG feature would be accessible to people outside the US by adjusting regional settings, but they were wrong.

Here’s what 9to5Mac originally wrote:

That the Apple Watch ECG limitation is software-based is already a good sign, since software limitations are inherently easier to bypass when compared to hardware ones. By being based on the region, users will be able to get access to the feature by changing the region on their iPhone and Apple Watch, similar to how other features such as Apple News can be enabled on unsupported countries.

9to5Mac could be forgiven for assuming the trick would work because setting your device’s region settings to United States does indeed unlock a bunch of region-specific apps and services that may be unavailable in your country, like Apple News.

According to Apple, the ECG app was not designed to be used by people who are younger than 22 years nor will it check for signs of a heart attack.