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Apple might disable a key health feature on its watches to avoid a ban

The company has reportedly started shipping modified watches to stores in the event its appeal fails.
By
January 16, 2024
An Apple Watch Series 9 rests among watch boxes.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Apple is reportedly planning to remove blood-oxygen tracking from two of its watches to avoid a US ban.
  • The news comes after Apple won a temporary reprieve against a sales ban on its watches.
  • It’s believed this functionality will be removed if the Apple’s appeal fails.

Apple was struck by a major blow in December when its Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 were both subjected to sales bans. The bans, which were temporarily lifted a few weeks ago, came after a legal battle with medical equipment manufacturer Masimo.

Now, Bloomberg reports that Apple plans to remove blood-oxygen tracking functionality from the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra if an appeal on the sales ban fails.

The plan was reportedly revealed by Masimo and said to be approved by the US Customs and Border Protection agency. It’s believed that this is a software workaround, suggesting that Apple could reinstate blood-oxygen tracking capabilities if it reaches a deal with Masimo or wins an appeal.

Bloomberg reports that Apple has started to ship modified watches to retailers but that these stores were told not to open or sell these devices just yet.

Either way, you might not want to update your Apple Watch Ultra 2 or Series 9 in the coming days or weeks if you rely on SpO2 tracking.