Google Fit for iPhone Can Now Track Your Heart Rate Without a Smartwatch

Suzanne Humphries

Review Geek

Google Fit app on the screen smartphone with headphones. Google Fit is a health tracking platform developed by Google.


Earlier this year, Google unfurled a feature in Google Fit that’d allow Android users to track key vitals directly with their phone without having to use a companion smartwatch or fitness tracker. And now, Google has quietly rolled out the same ability for iPhone users.

Simply by using your Apple smartphone’s camera, you can check your heart rate measurement and see how many breaths you take per minute. The feature initially rolled out in February and only to Pixel devices; other Android phones gained the ability in the following months. And now, 9to5Google just noticed cards advertising the two features in Google Fit’s Home feed on iOS.

To check your heart rate measurement with the app, place your finger on the rear-facing camera lens with light pressure; you might want to opt to turn on the flash for a more accurate read, especially if you aren’t in a brightly-lit room. The app then tracks “subtle changes in the color of your fingers” for roughly 30 seconds to better estimate your blood flow rate, with its algorithm taking into account factors like age, skin tone, and lighting levels of the room you’re in.

Detecting your respiratory rate is just as easy. Simply set your iPhone upright on a balanced and flat surface, and ensure the front-facing camera has full view of your head and upper torso without any obstructions. From there, the app will prompt you to sit still for 30 seconds while it watches for subtle chest movements then determines how many breaths per minute you take.

You can also initiate either tool by accessing the “Browse” tab, tapping “Vitals,” then scrolling down on that page until you find which prompt you want. Google even gives you the option to save each vitals read to Fit, so you can have a record to watch over time, as well as the ability to toggle regular reminders if you so desire.

Although these results might not be as accurate as readings you’d get from a dedicated fitness tracker (or from a visit to the doctor’s office), Google put the capabilities through clinical studies.  They can still give you a general idea of the two measurements in under a minute, which is great when you want to check in but left your fitness tracker at home.

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via 9to5Google

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