Apple Watch blood pressure and glucose monitoring delayed until 2024

An Apple Watch blood pressure sensor has hit development snags, prompting a delay in introducing the feature until 2024 at the earliest, says a reliable source.

A slide from Apple's presentation with an Apple Watch sensor array on the back crystal shown on a slide
  • Employees are testing Apple Watch blood pressure monitoring and glucose tracking but the features are reportedly a few years away from debuting.
  • Apple allegedly made this decision after early testing showed unreliable performance and inaccurate readings for blood pressure monitoring.
  • Despite those development snags delaying the alleged new sensors, watchOS 9 will nevertheless add body temperature monitoring and other new health-focused features to the iPhone’s Health app.

Apple Watch won’t get blood pressure sensing until 2024?

Unnamed sources told reporter Mark Gurman, the author of a new Bloomberg report, that employee testing has concluded that a blood pressure sensor currently does not show specific systolic and diastolic readings. As a result, this feature got delayed until “2024 at the earliest,” possibly even longer.

Blood-pressure features may become a key selling point for smartwatches in coming years, but the technology hasn’t been easy to master. Though Apple rivals such as Samsung Electronics have launched watches with the capability, they require monthly calibration with a traditional monitor. Last year, Alphabet-owned Fitbit launched a public study to test wrist-based blood-pressure measurement.

As for a non-invasive blood sugar sensor, a holy grail for diabetics, this promising feaure is still very much work-in-progress, the report cautions.

The iPhone maker is running trials of its blood-pressure technology on employees. Its planned approach won’t tell users their specific systolic and diastolic readings—the numbers used to assess blood pressure—but would warn those wearing the watch that they may have hypertension, which is high-blood pressure, and should consult a doctor or use a standard blood pressure checker.

Until it arrives, Apple could, Bloomberg speculates, introduce support for third-party glucose meters in the Health app to help those with diabetes. Both blood pressure and blood sugar sensors have been several years in development.

New Apple Watch health features coming in 2022

As for the health-focused features that could be launching this year, Gurman said recently in his Power On newsletter that both the iPhone and Apple Watch would gain new health-tracking features with iOS 16 and watchOS 9, including expanded sleep and fitness tracking, as well as new medicine management that will let users scan their pill bottles into the Health app.

Today’s report adds more color to teh claim:

The software will monitor adherence and remind users to take their medication. But the initial version of the feature for this year is unlikely to include all of the planned functionality. Apple also is planning to add more workout types and additional metrics related to running within the Workout app on the watch.

watchOS 09 should also improve upon atrial fibrillation detection:

As part of watchOS 9, Apple is planning to improve its existing atrial fibrillation detection feature with a new capability to measure how long a person is in a state of atrial fibrillation across a certain period. There may also be more workout types and additional metrics for running workouts in the Apple Watch’s Workout app.

Last but not least, the Cupertino giant could also add a body temperature sensor to Apple Watch Series 8 in 2022 to help women with fertility planning initially before implementing other features for the sensor via future updates.