Apple Watch Blood Oxygen Sensor Helps Save Son's Life at 14,000 Feet

Apple Watch Series 9

14-year-old with acute altitude sickness managed to stay stable overnight, monitored via Apple Watch with the function of determining oxygen in the blood.

Apple Watches with blood oxygen detection capabilities are banned from importation into the United States, but the feature is still active on devices already sold to users. While it's not the flashiest or most important feature of the Apple Watch, it's known to be crucial for helping people in difficult situations.

One Apple Watch user named Joseph approached Apple CEO Tim Cook with an incredible story of using the Apple Watch to detect blood oxygen in a critical situation. He shared his story and Cook's response in an email to AppleInsider.

Joseph's 14-year-old son developed acute altitude sickness at 14,000 feet in Peru, which can quickly become fatal if left untreated. Luckily, he had an Apple Watch and was able to monitor his son's oxygen levels throughout the night until help arrived.

Cook responded to Joseph's email:

This sounds like a dire situation. I believe he is ok now.

Thank you for sharing his story with us.

Please give him my best wishes.


Apple Watch is equipped with sensors that can help alert the user to an impending health problem, although it is not technically classified as a health device. This is why Masimo's CEO believes that users will be better off if this feature is not enabled.

Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, sold by Apple in the United States, have blood oxygen detection disabled. This feature is still active for international models and products purchased before January 18.

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