How to Set Up & Use the ECG Feature on Your Apple Watch

* This article is from our Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

The new Apple Watch ECG app works with your Apple Watch Series 4 to read your heart's rhythm and detect any irregularities that might indicate atrial fibrillation (AFib), while letting you take note of any additional symptoms you want to record. To use the ECG app, your Apple Watch Series 4 with watchOS 5.1.2 or later needs to be paired with iPhone 5s or later with iOS 12.1.1 or later. Older Apple Watches do not have this feature.

Related: How to Share Fitness Metrics with Friends in Activity App

iPhone Life
Discover your iPhone's hidden features
Get a daily tip (with screenshots and clear instructions) so you can master your iPhone in just one minute a day.

To Set Up the ECG App:

  • On your iPhone, open the Health app. 
  • Tap Set Up ECG App.
  • If you don't see a prompt to set up, tap the Health Data tab at the bottom of the screen and then tap Heart and select Electrocardiogram (ECG). 
  • Enter your date of birth and tap Continue
  • The next few screens will explain how the ECG features work, what the results might mean, the limitations of the Apple Watch ECG, and how to take an ECG.
  • Once the setup is complete, tap Done and you are ready to take an ECG on your Apple Watch.

How to Take an ECG on the Apple Watch Series 4:

  • After setting up the ECG app in the Health app, the app will be on your Apple Watch.

Make sure that your Apple Watch is on the wrist that you selected in the Apple Watch app, and is snug for the most contact. (If you're not sure, open the Apple Watch app, tap the My Watch tab, and then go to General > Watch Orientation.) 

  • Open the ECG app on your Apple Watch.
  • Rest your arms on a table or in your lap. 
  • With your other hand (the one not wearing the watch), place and hold your finger on the Digital Crown. You don't need to press the Digital Crown. 
  • Wait for 30 seconds. Try not to move your arms. This is how long it takes to record your heartbeat. If you move, the 30 seconds will restart.
  • At the end of the recording, you will receive a classification. The three classifications are:
  1. Sinus Rhythym, which meansyour heartbeat has a uniform pattern between 50 and 100 BPM.
  2. Atrial fibrillation or AFib, which means your heartbeat is an irregular pattern between 50 and 120 BPM and can indicate a serious irregular heart rhythym.
  3. Low or high heart rates are displayed when heartbeat is under 50 BPM or over 120 BPM. You can also receive an inconclusive reading, which could happen because the Watch is loose, you need to rest your arms, or from too much movement.
  • After receiving your classification, you can tap Add Symptoms and choose your symptoms.
  • Tap Save to record any symptoms. Then tap Done.

You can take an ECG whenever you want. Try it when you have general concerns about your heart health or when you receive an irregular rhythym notification. Please remember Apple Watch can't detect heart attacks and is not always testing for an AFib. If you have any concerns, always consult your doctor.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.


Author Details

Hallei Halter's picture

Author Details

Hallei Halter

Hallei is a 2018 graduate of Maharishi University of Management with a BFA in Creative & Professional Writing. She's currently working on a novel about people using witchcraft to clean their houses.