New Apple Watch features make menstrual and ovulation tracking even easier. According to a speaker at the Apple event, tens of millions of Apple Watch users use the device’s three-year-old cycle tracking functions, and the Series 8’s “advanced cycle tracking capabilities” will mature the women’s health functions with multiple developments. According to Apple, a new temperature sensor on the Apple Watch Series 8 — which will be available later this month — can detect body temperature changes as small as 0.1 degrees Celsius, which is a game changer for ovulation tracking because basal body temperature fluctuates by fractions of a degree during peak ovulation times. During overnight body temperature monitoring, the sensor reads wrist temperatures every five seconds.
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“In the health app, you’ll be able to see nightly shifts from your baseline temperature, which can be caused by things like exercise, jet lag, alcohol, or illness,” Apple says, adding that, while basal temperature tracking is important for fertility and conception, it has traditionally been done “manually, with a thermometer and journal.” Apple Watch Series 8 can use temperature data to provide users with a retrospective estimate of when ovulation occurred in the previous cycle and identify potential cycle abnormalities, such as early or late ovulation, and securely store that information so the user can monitor trends or share data with their healthcare provider.
Data security a priority in women’s health data, Apple says
Apple also stated that “privacy is at the heart” of its women’s health suite of functions, reiterating the company’s commitment to data security. “We believe that privacy is a fundamental human right, and that your health data belongs to you and you alone,” Apple said at the unveiling event. According to the company, data collected by the watch is securely stored and encrypted within the user’s personal device, with access required via passcode or biometric entry.
“Apple does not have the key to decrypt the data and thus cannot read it,” the company said when cycle tracking and menstrual data are synced to an iCloud account with two-factor authentication. The user has complete control over when and with whom health data is shared. “Women’s health is critical, and we’re excited to bring these new advanced cycle tracking capabilities to the Apple Watch Series 8.”