Users of Apple Watch Series 8 will be able to more accurately predict when they ovulated thanks to information from new temperature sensors. The built-in menstrual cycle monitoring app on the Apple Watch Series 8 uses two sensors to assess users’ wrist temperatures every five seconds overnight. Since body temperature fluctuates throughout the menstrual cycle and increases in reaction to ovulation, this should make it possible to track ovulation.
Changes to the cycle tracking software in watchOS 9 and iOS 16 will also alert users to any irregularities in their menstrual cycle depending on the information they enter about their periods. According to Sumbul Desai, vice president of health at Apple, variations in a person’s cycle, such as more spotting than usual, can be a symptom of health issues like fibroids or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Usually, people who want to take their own temperature in order to determine when they’re most likely to become pregnant must do so manually. Similar to how the Oura Ring gathers temperature and other user data to forecast when a person may start their period, Apple Watch would carry out that action automatically.
In order to avoid getting pregnant, this kind of temperature-based cycle monitoring and ovulation detection is frequently employed. It’s difficult to get right, and it’s not a good strategy for people with irregular cycles, but it can work effectively if done correctly.
Because the Apple feature is not a birth control that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it cannot be promoted as a method of preventing pregnancy.
However, the additional characteristics are getting closer to competing technology that can be marketed as birth control. It forecasts the times of the month when a person is most likely to become pregnant using body temperature and cycle monitoring data, and notifies them to wear condoms or refrain from sex during those times.
Additionally, Natural Cycles has received FDA approval to make forecasts using data from wearable technology. As of right now, it accepts temperature data from the Oura Ring. Natural Cycles’ representative Lauren Hanafin told in an email that the company has addressed the possibility of incorporating data from the Apple Watch as well. The use case would depend on how accurate it is, she said, and the organisation would first need to undertake validation tests.
It’s also significant that Apple is adding cycle tracking features — which might conceivably be used to identify if someone is or has been pregnant — in the few months after the Supreme Court abolished government protection for abortion. There is still a chance that cycle tracking data could be used to prosecute individuals who are thought to have had abortions in locations where they are no longer permitted, according to experts.