Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
55,069
17,436


Today's watchOS 7.2 and iOS 14.3 updates introduce a new cardio fitness feature that's designed to let users determine their cardio fitness level and receive notifications on the Apple Watch if it falls into a low range.

watchos-7-cardio-fitness-1.jpg

Apple says that "breakthrough technology" in watchOS 7 lets the Apple Watch determine cardiorespiratory fitness as measured by VO2 max. VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen that the body is able to use during exercise, and it can be improved through physical activity.

Prior to now the Apple Watch was already able to estimate higher levels of VO2 max during outdoor walks, runs, or hikes, but by taking advantage of all of the sensors in the Apple Watch, in watchOS 7.2 it's now possible for the watch to take cardio fitness measurements as users walk throughout the day, regardless of whether they're tracking a workout.
"Cardio fitness is increasingly recognized as a powerful predictor of overall health, and with today's update to watchOS 7, we are making it even more accessible to more people," said Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer. "Using its advanced sensors, Apple Watch now brings estimation of low cardio fitness levels from clinics directly to a user's wrist, so people have more insight into how they can improve their long-term health through daily activity."
This functionality lets Apple Watch better measure VO2 Max for users who don't often do high-intensity workouts. In a press release announcing the new feature, Apple says that a 2016 study from the American Heart Association recognized a link between low cardio fitness and higher risk of significant health issues like heart disease and high blood pressure later in life.

watchos-7-cardio-fitness-2.jpg

Cardio Fitness is available as a new category in the Health app on iPhone, and fitness level is classified as high, above average, below average, or low relative to people in your same age group and of the same sex. Users can also track how their cardio fitness levels have changed over the past week, month, or year, and if fitness levels fall into the low range, they can get a notification on Apple Watch that includes guidance on improving it.

Article Link: watchOS 7.2 and iOS 14.3 Add Cardio Fitness Notifications
 

edwrap

macrumors member
Nov 7, 2012
97
187
Glad to hear they got rid of the outdoor requirement, both due to COVID and because I hate jogging outside 😅

This was the main feature I missed coming from a cheap FitBit.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LegCortex

MareLuce

macrumors 6502a
Sep 26, 2010
960
395
Before I install the watch update do I need to first install the update to iOS on my iPhone?
 

StuBeck

macrumors 6502
May 6, 2008
429
213
Does this improve from earlier versions of watch os 7? I ran the beta OS all summer and went from barely being able to run for 5 minutes to running a 10k in November. It said there was zero change in my vo2 max. I'm sure something changed durng that time period.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ediks and Oscar_440

Yellowbean12

macrumors regular
Feb 4, 2008
113
293
This will be interesting for me as a cyclist. I do a lot of cardio exercise with my watch but because almost none of it is walking or running, my VO2 readings are very few and far between.
 
  • Like
Reactions: aloyouis

JM

macrumors 68000
Nov 23, 2014
1,921
2,467
Yo, if this works as advertised, then this is awesome for people who work all day and want to make sure they're being active enough to be "healthy"!

That's me. I work all day and worry if I'm being active enough. Me. I want to be healthy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TropN and sdz

LegCortex

Suspended
Sep 17, 2020
109
291
Before I install the watch update do I need to first install the update to iOS on my iPhone?
I initiated the watchOS update directly from the watch before I initiated the iOS update on my phone, and both the phone and the watch updated concurrently. The watch actually finished first and all my third-party apps functioned normally even though the watch was connected directly to my wifi while the phone was unavailable/finishing up.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MareLuce

itsmeaustend

Suspended
Apr 27, 2016
332
816
Both my partner and I's watches and phones just updated. Everything (except the 3 month trial) is working fine for me, however my boyfriend's health app is acting oddly. He doesn't get the new cardio fitness at all, his cardio section still looks like the older version. We have the exact same watches and phones and they're all up to date.

Odd bug.
 
  • Wow
Reactions: sdz

jicon

macrumors 6502a
Nov 29, 2004
608
380
Toronto, ON
Welcome update. I make frequent use of my treadmill indoors, and would maybe only have five VO2 entries for a year. I usually keep the running down to about 10 minutes at a time. I use it mainly for fast blood sugar control, anything more than ten minutes, and blood sugar will fall precipitously - I love running, just this autoimmune type 1 diabetes of mine is a bugger keeping safely between the lines. Anyway, run six times a day, and finally after the recent update I'm now seeing lots of daily entries, and trending in the right direction.
 

mcfrazieriv

macrumors 6502a
Jan 30, 2012
982
2,393
Both my partner and I's watches and phones just updated. Everything (except the 3 month trial) is working fine for me, however my boyfriend's health app is acting oddly. He doesn't get the new cardio fitness at all, his cardio section still looks like the older version. We have the exact same watches and phones and they're all up to date.

Odd bug.

My cardio fitness tab still says only VO2, does not look like new version. Updating watch to see if it changes.
 

aloyouis

macrumors member
May 30, 2011
58
65
I am excited to see this and like others have said I am happy to see it will work indoors. Winter is here and I am on the treadmill. I have some outdoor ins that have allowed for the previous version of SW to establish a VO2Max and this previous measurements were pulled into the new SW. Cool. I will hit the treadmill in an hour and hopefully see another (and then regular) VO2 measurement. On the good news front the app is telling me my fitness level is high for a 52 year old at 47.1Vo2.

The key part is now that the measurements will happen regularly, it will serve as a motivator for me.
 

DinkThifferent

macrumors 6502a
Oct 18, 2018
703
2,443
The Netherlands
I can’t update my watch (series 3). It keeps saying

“unable to install update. An error occurred installing the latest version of watchOS on your Apple Watch”.

both iPadOS and iOS14.3 were installed very quickly and smoothly but watchOS updates are always slow and rocky....

edit: wow. Turned out I had to turn on the WiFi on my watch to get the update going. When did that become mandatory? Updating now...
 
Last edited:

iwayne

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2011
314
98
Santa Clara, California
I switch back & forth between two apple watches as I don't feel like keeping up with the charging, My Health app didn't update until after both watches were updated to 7.2, strange bug.
 

lartola

macrumors 6502a
Feb 10, 2017
999
395
That’s usually how it works
usually but not always. since watchOS 6 and iOS 13 apple stopped requiring to update the phone first in order to update the watch for minor one point or two point software updates.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.