Only U.S. residents will have access to the Apple Watch Series 4’s Electrocardiogram (ECG) feature when it launches. However, reports indicate that the restriction is software based and a simple tweak can unlock it for anyone.
Right now, all Apple Watch Series 4 devices come equipped with the ECG sensors regardless of which country you purchase it in. However, Apple received ‘de novo’ clearance from the FDA. This means when the feature is ready, Apple can turn it on for U.S. residents.
While de novo isn’t the same as approval — and the FDA recommends those under 22 or those diagnosed with atrial fibrillation don’t use the feature — it still allows Apple to sell the watch.
Apple says it’s working with other countries to lift the restriction. However, if you’re impatient, 9to5 Mac found code in the pre-release software indicating that users can access the feature by changing their region to the U.S. when the function goes live.
iPhone users can change their region by navigating to Settings, then General, Language & Region, and then Region. You can select the “United States” region. Users should note that switching the region will affect time, date and currency formats, among other things.
Once you set the connected iPhone to the U.S. region, you should be able to access the ECG feature on your Apple Watch Series 4.
However, 9to5 Mac emphasized that it discovered this bypass using pre-release software and Apple may change it before publicly releasing the ECG feature.