Apple Watch’s Heart Rate Sensor Can Detect COVID-19

The Apple Watch can detect positive COVID-19 successfully with a heart rate sensor for up to one week before the PCR-based nasal swab test, according to a recent study conducted by Mount Sinai researchers.

The report ‘Warrior Watch Study’ was recently published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Medical Research. Several hundred Mount Sinai healthcare workers using a dedicated Apple Watch and iPhone application that has been tracked and collected their health data. Over several months, participants had to provide every day direct feedback on the possible signs of coronavirus and other causes, including stress.

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Apple Watch’s Heart Rate Sensor Can Detect COVID-19


From April to September, the data collection duration extended for several months. The research focused specifically on the variability of the heart rate (HRV), which is a primary indicator of stress on the nervous system. These results were then combined with reported disease-related symptoms like fever, aches, dry cough and taste, and smell loss.

In addition to detecting infections up to a week before testing, the Warrior Watch analysis also found that the HRV patterns of participants recovered very rapidly after the diagnosis and returned to normal for about a week to two weeks after positive tests.

The team believes that these findings will help to predict the results and remotely isolate people from other people who are at risk without having to do a medical check or perform a swab test. The research is also expanded to include other wearables of different brands.

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