The Apple Watch’s irregular heart rhythm notification approved in Australia ahead of ECG

Apple’s irregular heart rhythm notification feature on the Apple Watch has received approval from the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, according to official documents.

EFTM reports that this doesn’t mean the Apple Watch has been medically certified for use in Australia as a mobile ECG. But because Apple typically brings the ECG feature and irregular heart rhythm notification to new markets at the same time, the approval of the notification could mean that the ECG feature could soon launch in Australia.

The ECG launched with the ‌Apple Watch‌ Series 4 back in 2018. It’s unclear why it’s taking Apple so long to launch the feature in Australia because rival devices that provided similar functionality, like the Withings ScanWatch, have gained approval from regulators in Australia.

An image showing an irregular heart rate notification displayed on an Apple Watch

With recent releases of OS 14.3 and watchOS 7.2, Apple has updated the ECG algorithm. No information could be gleaned about the updated algorithm besides speculation that it might let the ECG app check for atrial fibrillation at higher heart rates, like during exercise.

The irregular heart rhythm notification checks your heart rhythm intermittently in the background. You’re alerted on the wrist when watchOS detects unusual patterns that could be indicative of atrial fibrillation, which is the most common form of arrhythmia. If left untreated, atrial fibrillation can lead to stroke—the second leading cause of death in the world.