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Apple wants to save your hearing and track your menstrual cycle with new Apple Watch update

Apple wants to save your hearing and track your menstrual cycle with new Apple Watch update


Apple pushes further with Health

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Apple’s big upcoming update for the Apple Watch, watchOS 6, is going to try to protect your ears — Apple’s going to use the built-in microphone to tell you if ambient noise is too loud, and warn you to take care of your hearing. And that’s just one of several new health features, including menstrual cycle (and fertility) tracking on the Watch itself, and a new Activity Trends feature that’ll let you see how you’re tracking toward your fitness goals over time, the company just announced at WWDC 2019.

“Hearing health” on the Apple Watch.
“Hearing health” on the Apple Watch.

Yes, this means your Apple Watch microphone may now be listening to you more often, but the company says it will only be “periodically” sampling and doesn’t record or save any audio. We’re guessing security researchers will independently verify that claim soon. You can display the new “Hearing health” decibel meter directly on your watchface, by the way, since it’s got its very own complication.

Menstrual tracking isn’t actually a new feature for the iPhone — it arrived in 2015 after an outcry that it didn’t appear in the original 2014 Health app for iOS 8 — but being able to track your cycles on the Watch is a “finally” moment. Fitbit added female health tracking to its smartwatches last year, and Garmin did the same in April.

Here’s what it’ll look like on the Apple Watch:

The “Fertile Window” notifications for your watch are optional, by the way — in case you’re worried about such a thing popping up on your wrist at a potentially embarrassing moment!

Yes, this is a lot of very, very personal data to trust to Apple. The company says it’ll be stored locally on your iPhone or encrypted in iCloud, though.

Here’s a look at some of the new Activity Trends:

Apple’s been pushing for its devices to be the way you track your personal health since 2014, and the Apple Watch has become a huge component of that, not only tracking fitness and your heart rate, but adding an electrocardiogram (EKG) to check your heart rhythm in the Apple Watch Series 4. The Watch is rumored to add built-in sleep tracking by 2020 as well.