When Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 4 earlier this year, it introduced a new ability that allowed the smartwatch to take an electrocardiogram of the user’s heart, with the help of new sensor additions at the back of the dial. At the time of launch, Apple announced that only users in the US will get the ability to use the ECG feature, while it didn’t confirm or deny its availability outside of the US region, in the future. However, a fresh report claims the feature is software-based, and that a simple change in region is all that is required to enable ECG on the Apple Watch Series 4.
9to5Mac reports that they tested this methodology on a pre-release software for the Series 4 smartwatch and it worked. Note, that things may be different with public release software, and Apple may very well region-lock the feature. The report states that just by changing the region on the iPhone and Apple Watch enabled them to use the ECG feature in another region. However this means, that those users who want to try ECG immediately, will have to live with the date and time of the US region, instead of the live date and time zone they are actually in.
In any case, users who want to try ECG, can simply change the region to US, by heading to Settings > General > Language & Region > Region > Select United States. The report explains that the ECG feature limitation is software-based and not hardware-based, and therefore this simple workaround works for them. Apple has integrated ECG sensors into all Apple Watch Series 4 models, irrespective of region. In any case, it cautions that Apple may tweak this workaround when the ECG feature becomes public for the US region.
The ECG functionality has been given a ‘De Novo’ classification by the US FDA, and if Apple secures approval from other authorities, it will open up the ECG feature for more regions soon.