The Apple Watch can, quite literally, be a lifesaver. While many consumers buy the wearable for productivity or health reasons, the Watch has built-in heart monitoring capabilities that are extremely accurate — and can alert you to potentially dangerous medical conditions.
Heart rate monitoring is included on all Apple Watch models, but you’ll need a Series 1, 2, or 3 for this feature. And while the Apple Watch will continually monitor your heart rate, you can set it to alert you to spikes or abnormalities. Here’s how to set elevated heart rate alerts in watchOS.
How to Figure out Your Resting Heart Rate
Generally, for most adults, a healthy resting heart rate is between 60 and 100. But you can get a bit more specific.
First, set a timer for 15 seconds. (You can use the stopwatch feature within the iOS Clock app.)
Find your pulse (the inside of your wrists, side of your neck, etc.) and place a finger on it.
Start the timer and count the number of beats within that 15 seconds.
Multiply the number you get by 4 to find your resting heart rate (in beats per minute). Once you get this number, you can move on to setting up your Apple Watch alert.
How to Set Elevated Heart Rate Alerts
Open up the Watch app on your connected iPhone.
Tap the My Watch tab in the bottom-left corner.
Find and tap on Heart Rate.
Tap Elevated Heart Rate.
Choose an alert threshold. By default, watchOS sets it to 120 beats per minute. But you can tweak that based on your own resting heart rate. Just make sure to set it slightly above your normal resting heart rate.
Once you set it, your Apple Watch will automatically notify you of a spike in your heart rate — but only when you appear to be inactive for at least 10 minutes. That will prevent it from giving you a false alarm when you’re working out.
Once you get heart rate monitoring set up, you don’t have to do anything else. The Apple Watch will automatically alert you when it detects an elevated heart rate when you’re at rest.
Of course, if you do get a heart rate alert out of the blue, you should take it seriously. As we’ve seen, the Apple Watch can save lives, but only if owners heed its warnings and go to the doctor when issues are detected.