Apple Watch ECG Availability In NZ

What it does and when will it be available in New Zealand

You may have read, or seen a lot of information regarding the new Apple Watch Series 4 and ECG. A feature which allows you to take an electrocardiogram right from your wrist – the first direct-to-consumer product to do so.

I’ve been asked a lot of questions on this. From what it does, how can we use it, and when will it be available in New Zealand? The purpose of this post is to answer those.

ECG Feature

New electrodes in Apple Watch Series 4 enable it to take an ECG directly from your wrist. This means it as the ability to capture heart rhythm in moments where you experience symptoms such as a rapid or skipped heartbeat. This information is then recorded and the data can be displayed at any time or sent to your physician.


In addition to this, the Apple Watch can occasionally check your heart rhythm in the background. If it detects an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be atrial fibrillation (AFib), it will alert you. AFib is one of the leading conditions that can result in stroke, the second most common cause of death around the world.


The good news is the ECG hardware and ability of an Apple Watch Series 4 to perform the measurement is included in models sold here. But unfortunately, Apple has not enabled it here (or in Australia), although they can easily do so in the future with a software update.

Essentially, at some point, it is possible Apple will push out an update to enable the feature here, as they have recently done in the US. And if they were to do so I will be sure to update this article. The reason they have not done so yet is likely for a number of reasons.

Firstly, Apple had to work with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a number of years to receive De Novo Classification. Meaning it will likely require medical approval here too. Secondly, the feature is only very new, it is likely Apple will want to launch it in one market first before going worldwide. Already though it has gone on to potentially save someone’s life.

Other Features

Despite this, the Apple Watch has a number of health and exercise tracking features available here. Including the ability to record your workouts, heart-rate, fall-detection, calories burned, and a whole lot more.

You can learn more or buy an Apple Watch from Apple’s online store.

Update (March, 2019): Apple has expanded the ECG feature to a number of European countries, and Hong Kong. While Australia has still not received the feature, the expansion shows Apple is actively bringing the ECG feature outside of the US.

  1. Hi
    I’m confused I would like to buy an Apple Watch series 4, the main reason I want to buy one is to record my Atrial Fibrillation and be able to email recording via a PDF.
    I live in New Zealand, so does the series 4 do an ECG ??? Or is this not possible in New Zealand ???
    I don’t want to spend the money if I can’t do this.

    1. I wouldn’t , actually I did and now have buyers remorse as it will never be turned on in our nanny state countries .
      I’m gonna break mine open and put a traditional watch face under the glass for shits and giggles as it’s no good to me for anything else .

    2. As at 22nd September 2019, the functionality is still not enabled in watchOS 6.0. When (if) it is enabled for NZ, it’ll work the same on a series 4 or series 5 Watch. New Zealand clearly isn’t a market that gets Apple’s attention. We’ve never got the cellular version of the Watch, and have to be content with the aluminium case. Those two things are fine with me (hate to think what they’d cost), but clearly they made a big deal of the ECG app when announcing the series 4.

  2. The answer is that the Apple Watch 4 has the capability but requires a version upgrade that includes the ECG software. However, this version is not currently available in NZ or Australia, but across 19 other countries presently.

    I’m in NZ and bought the watch yesterday and, irrespective of this one feature being absent, there’s a huge amount of value in owning this incredible watch, in preparation for when the ECG software upgrade arrives.

  3. My wife and relatives in NZ teamed up to buy me an Apple Watch Series 4, specifically because of my heart condition. I was surprised when my wife returned to the UK to find that the ECG feature didn’t work, simply because it was purchased in NZ. I think it was very dishonest of Apple to market the watch in NZ as having all the features (including the ECG mode), when they knew it wouldn’t work on watches sourced in Australasia. I updated my iPhone to IOS 12.4 last night, and my watch OS to 5.3, but they feature still hasn’t been unlocked. It’s a shame, as with my heart condition the way it is, this is one of the main reasons my family bought me this watch in the first place! ?

  4. I am interested in getting the Apple Watch because of ecg app but it’s not here yet.

    When will in be in NZ please


  5. I am the same and according to web information the answer is no.
    JB HiFi nearly sold me one saying it did ecg but then I fount out it does not

  6. Any update re: series 4 and ECG now that series 5 has ECG available in NZ (so I’m led to believe)? Hoping a watchOS update will enable the ECG here…



  7. I would like to buy one and as per above a major reason is to record ECG’s.
    I understand that the feature is not currently available in New Zealand. However it is available in America. If I was to get my son to buy one in America and send it to me….would the ECG function firstly, work in New Zealand, and secondly…and perhaps most importantly, continue to work in New Zealand where the watch’s OS and SW might be updated, somewhat automatically, from time to time.

    Does anyone know and could they advise me please.
    Thanks, Jeff

    1. The answer is yes. But, you need to activate the feature with the Watch linked to a US Apple ID. Even having a US sourced Watch will not work with a NZ Apple ID.

  8. omg i brougt it for the ecg option too. We should be allowed to get a refund for false advertising! They should not be allowed to advertise it as having this function then not be able to use it. Id never have purchased had i known!

  9. i havea friend who has an American apple store account (he is Kiwi but using his US credit card allows him to access the US apple store). Then account allows him to access the US software and he freely uses the ECG functionality here in NZ.

  10. I have checked with MedSafe NZ and they inform me that they do not have issue with, nor need to approve this functionality on Apple Watches sold in NZ so it is Apple who are dropping the ball on this, how do we get some action from Apple? After all, they are happy selling the $979 devices no problem at all!

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