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  • Apple watch oxygen app vs. other pulse oximeters

    Posted by Larry70 on December 28, 2023 at 3:24 pm

    I had a pulse oximeter that I got on Amazon during the Covid epidemic that seems reliable but lately seemed to give more alarming readings – occasionally giving a reading of 88-90 after I did some brief activity, like going up a flight of stairs, or similar exertion – and then several minutes later going back up to mid-90’s. I decided to get an Apple watch 8 a couple of days ago for its blood oxygen app. The readings are now much higher and consistent so far (which I’m very happy about), but I’m curious to hear if anyone else uses the Apple watch and might share their experience with its reliability compared to other oximeters. From what I’ve read it should have almost medical-grade accuracy.

    rosie replied 1 month, 2 weeks ago 12 Members · 18 Replies
  • 18 Replies
  • Carol

    December 28, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    I have an Apple Watch 10 series. I have Raynauds so they can’t get a reading with the oximeter that clips on a finger. They use one that straps on my forehead sometimes and I’ve checked with my Apple Watch at the same time and it reads very close to the same +/- 1% or so. I’m so glad I have it now. I keep it on all night and it randomly takes readings during the night so I can keep track.

  • Larry70

    December 30, 2023 at 2:00 pm

    Carol, good to hear. I like that it takes continuous readings throughout the day. I’m surprised that while my readings all mostly in the mid to high 90’s during the day drop down sometimes in the middle of the night when I’m sleeping. I’m not sure what to make of why when I was asleep my oxygen level would be recorded as 90 – 94 and other times 96-98 while I’m sleeping. I don’t think I have any sleep apnea or snoring, etc.

  • Carol

    December 31, 2023 at 6:03 pm

    I’m happy with having the watch. It only does readings on its own during the night. Sometimes more than other times. Maybe it’s because I toss and turn a bit. Mine drops during the night sometimes from 87-96. It’s usually just one drop to 87 and the rest of the readings are in the 90’s. Wish I could get that up a little higher but maybe that’s not possible. One day at a time I guess!

  • terrig

    January 2, 2024 at 2:24 pm

    Hi, I have an Apple Watch Series 7, and it’s usually pretty accurate with the oxygen and heart rate readings at my doctors’ offices.

  • Ruth Angaran

    January 2, 2024 at 2:51 pm

    I bought the Apple Watch this past summer because I had been neglecting keeping a close watch on my O2. I thought it gave high readings until I used my hand-held one to check against it. Very close to the same. I love it and feel very confident now that I am more efficient with my status.

  • Ruth Angaran

    January 2, 2024 at 2:53 pm

    Has anyone else read that Apple is taking this off the market? Apparently the Mfg.company of the Blood Oxygen reader had not been dealt with legally when Apple started using it. So they are taking it out of their watch now and recalling those new watches like mine. I said they would have to rip it off me!!

  • julian-bilier

    January 2, 2024 at 4:15 pm

    I am a long time oxygen user, 7 years and I don’t trust my smart watch.

    As to oxygen level drops into the 80’s, I walk 25 feet and my level drops into the 70’s, so you are OK. I am on 10 liters a minute, it takes me 5-10 minutes to return to mid 90’s.

    • michael-lewis-mcdowell

      January 2, 2024 at 8:40 pm

      Hi, i am the same, I even went into the high 60’s several times. When were you diagnosed ?

      2020 was my notice.


  • rhonda-kramer

    February 14, 2024 at 12:31 am

    I also bought a fitness watch to check my O2 levels, but I wanted one tested and approved by the FDA for O2 saturations. I found the Withing ScanWatch. I also bought a FDA approved oximeter and tested them by checking the readings between the two. Pretty much spot on. I need to remember to check it with my Dr.’s instrument next time I go in. I did see there is another watch recently approved by the FDA for O2 sats, the Masimo W1. I like the Withing ScanWatch for O2 and EKG, but it is lousy at counting steps. 🙁

  • elaine

    February 15, 2024 at 2:31 pm

    Hello I use a wearable “check me “ wellvue device I bought on Amazon and it’s amazing – it keeps everything charted on an app which I find very helpful sharing with my pulmonologist- I also use it whilst flying to keep an eye on my oxygen levels as I use a POC in flight. I do have the Apple Watch also but I find the wearable one is much more accurate.

    • george-poulsen

      February 17, 2024 at 2:34 pm

      I also have a Wellvue watch and finger device that I wear once or twice a week. It is extremely worthwhile for me and gives very accurate readings thru the nite when I use it most. Best is being able to print out the fairly detailed graphs of O2 and Heart Rate and O2 scores etc on my Iphone screen and PC and see where simply getting out of bed for a few moments will kick that ol’ heart rate and O2 into low and high gears rapidly. I have really begun to understand just how my heart and oxygen and breathing are interrelated and usually diametrically opposed to each other (one goes up while the other in my case goes down).

      I have been amazed how rock solid my O2 is throughout the nite at about 97/98 when on my At-Home compressor and only a setting of 4, whereas during the day I require always setting 5 on my portable compressor and occasionally setting 6. More impressive is that the manufacturer enabled the Wellvue to call back history from whenever you originally started recording. I can see backwards on the history now for 1 1/2 years by days, weeks etc and it shows some very interesting trends that I don’t personally like but also reflects the end result of even minimal consistent exercise.

      For those who use an Apple watch (which I also have), yes it gives a lot of error readings if not kept very still while reading, and I also cover mine with my hand since it operates on led light if I understand it right. It reads by different means than the little finger units so I expect some differences. I do note that my Iwatch will give fairly consistent higher readings while sitting. I think that may be to averaging techniques.. maybe.

      BUT…. anyone who is using one the Apple watches has another treat built into the Iphone if not aware of it. In the Apple “Heart” health app it keeps track of heart rates and even oxygen readings from the watch and of course steps and miles and stairs walked each day and lots of other good stuff and gives some very helpful overall history and health info as well. If you are not aware of this info you (anyone) should look for that Heart App and investigate it in detail and be sure your personal physical info age etc, are in there so it can return some pretty useful info on a regular interval. This keeps and displays data by hours/days/weeks/months etc. Look and use this, it helps a lot to stay knowledgeable of your own data in detail because not a lot of other folks (including professional) are always tuned into your own personal knowledge of yourself. I personally have found that having this data available helps me considerably in communicating with an assortment of doctors and others.

      Beyond that, I have to rely on a strong desire to somehow last long enough to beat this thing. I will continue to research the internet with new info maybe going to the credit of more efficient programming from the institutions using AI to assist them. I see seemingly new info every time I look and drop in some new keywords for search. I honestly hope that with so many people working on new approaches for so many varieties of this horrible disease that each of us might benefit from FDA and others who can push this process faster to get the pending information to all of us on progress and results. Sharing info thru this forum might just be the one best thing we can do to help ourselves and produce a little bit more hope and motivation when things get a bit dingy. It helps…..

  • telliott61

    February 16, 2024 at 12:23 pm

    Does anybody else have difficulty getting a reading from their Apple Watch? Several times I will attempt an O2 reading and it states that it’s unable to get a reading. The wrist band is not too loose, nor am I moving. It takes several attempts to get a reading, and by that time I’ve recovered somewhat and am less short of breath and the reading is 95-97% I don’t know how low I’m going, or if I’m hypoxic at all. So frustrating

    • Larry70

      February 20, 2024 at 4:17 pm

      I think that’s pretty common to get errors in manual apple watch readings. I sometimes want to see what my o2 sat is after strenuous exercise (like bike riding uphill) very difficult to get a reading but if i sit and put my wrist on a flat surface it usually works – trouble is that by then I’m already less out of breath.

  • Larry70

    February 20, 2024 at 4:26 pm

    My pulmonologist ordered a nocturnal oximeter device for me to wear overnight. It pretty much correlated with my apple watch – showing that it dipped down to 89 briefly a couple of times during the night. However, overall the o2 sats were all normal through the night. The test overall was considered normal. So, I’m guessing that having the o2 sat only very briefly ( I think it said around 1.8% of the time I was sleeping) isn’t considered much of a problem. So, I’m happy this seems like one less thing to worry about it and that my watch seemed to have performed reasonably close to an approved medical device.

  • paul-caden

    February 26, 2024 at 10:24 am

    my Google watch 2 records Oxygen well on a consistent basis as I also test on my finger and they are very close to one another

  • rosie

    February 28, 2024 at 11:11 am

    I have the Apple Watch 6. Even though itself not 100% accurate it helped me. I was experiencing oxygen drops during the night and early mornings for a couple of weeks. Met with my ph doctor and he scheduled a RHC. Turns out my near normal pressure was up to Stage 3. Had to add Uptravi to the Letairis. Want to get a new one but think I’ll keep this one

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