Numerous Apple Watch owners have taken to Apple’s forum and the MacRumors forum to express concern that the device’s heart rate sensor has taken a serious blow since the release of Apple Watch OS 1.0.1 on May 19th, 2015. The release of Watch OS 1.0.1 claimed to contain performance enhancements and bug fixes, however, Apple didn’t say anything about introducing a bug.
Apple was said to be working to further improve the health and fitness features of the device. Watch OS 1.0.1 was intended to improve how the Apple Watch calculates calories during rowing and indoor cycling activities and how it measures standing activity. The update was also intended to result in more accurate pace and distance data for outdoor runs and walks. So far there have been no negative reports regarding improvement (or lack thereof) of these features.
But, one thing Apple Watch owners were not expecting with this update was the effect it would have on the device’s heart rate sensor. By default, the watch is supposed to take your heart rate every 10 minutes throughout the day. The frequency of heart rate measurements is also supposed to jump dramatically during periods of exercise so that the Watch OS can thoroughly track your time of exertion.
After Watch OS 1.0.1 was released though, users started noticing huge gaps of time where the Apple Watch didn’t record any heart rate data. The device has become sporadic; sometimes spitting out heart rate data during the intended time frame, and sometimes spitting out heart rate data after an hour of dead air. Some have speculated that Apple may be cutting back on the frequency of heart rate measurements to improve battery time but this seems unlikely. The update’s release notes make no mention of this anyway.
It should be noted that the heart rate feature still works okay when manually accessed so this bug is most noticeable to fitness enthusiast Watch wearers. But fitness enthusiasts are an important new market for Apple so hopefully they will have the issue resolved by the release of Watch OS 1.0.2.