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Apple Watch blood oxygen tracking could return via software, but when?

It looks like recent Apple Watch models could regain blood oxygen tracking via software, but it might take a while.

Published onMarch 13, 2024

Apple Watch Series 9
Aamir Siddiqui / Android Authority
  • Recently published documentation has revealed how Apple might bring blood oxygen tracking back to affected Apple Watches.
  • The documentation suggests that Apple could re-enable the feature via a software update.

Apple suffered a serious blow back in January when it was forced to remove blood oxygen tracking capabilities from recent Apple Watches. The blow came after Apple lost a legal battle against medical health firm Masimo over the feature. However, it looks like there’s a pathway to re-enable this feature in the future.

The US Customs and Border Protection agency has published the exclusion order for the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Apple Watch Series 9, IP Fray reported (via MacRumors). The order reveals that Masimo was able to re-enable blood oxygen tracking on offending Apple Watches by jailbreaking a paired, older iPhone running an out-of-date version of iOS.

More specifically, Masimo paired a jailbroken iPhone X running iOS 15 to the affected Apple Watch models using the Legizmo Lighthouse app. This third-party app, which needs to be sideloaded, allows users to pair an Apple Watch with an older, unsupported iPhone.

A long wait for this feature to return?

This turn of events shows that Apple has indeed used software to disable blood oxygen tracking on new Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models. This suggests that the company can indeed re-enable the feature on affected models via a software update if it wins an appeal.

IP Fray also notes that Masimo’s patents in question expire in August 2028. The outlet suggested that Apple could push out an update after this date to re-enable blood-oxygen tracking.

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