How to use the Apple Watch Series 8 temperature sensor | Digital Trends (2023)

The most significant improvement to this year’s Apple Watch Series 8 is the addition of a new wrist temperature sensor. It’s the first new health sensor to come to the Apple Watch since the Series 6 added support for detecting blood oxygen levels. It also joins car crash detection as one of only two features that distinguish the new Apple Watch from last year’s model.

Contents

  • Sensing body temperature
  • Cycle tracking
  • Sleep tracking

However, Apple is only allowing the new temperature measuring capabilities to be used for two very specific areas of health monitoring, and there’s no indication that third-party developers will have any access to it. It’s an interesting contrast to Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5, which also introduced a body temperature sensor that has yet to be used for anything — but for which Samsung has promised to work with developers to build third-party solutions.

How to use the Apple Watch Series 8 temperature sensor | Digital Trends (1)

While the applications for the new temperature sensor are pretty narrow at this point, there’s some hope that Apple could expand the sensor’s capabilities in future WatchOS updates or at least create an API that third-party apps can take advantage of. Still, it’s critical to understand the limitations of the technology that hold it back from being a full-fledged thermometer.

(Video) Top 8 New Features of Apple Watch Series 8!

Sensing body temperature

When we first heard reports of Apple’s work on a temperature sensor for the Apple Watch, many hoped that it would be sophisticated enough to power a broad array of health applications. The idea of being able to take your body temperature on your wrist opened up numerous possibilities, from monitoring general health and wellness to detecting early signs of infection.

However, it quickly became apparent that the human body doesn’t work in a way that’s conducive to a wrist-based temperature sensor. There’s a reason why medical professionals take your temperature in the mouth, ear, or less comfortable parts of the body. To get a good reading on one’s core body temperature, you need to be reasonably close to the body’s core.

How to use the Apple Watch Series 8 temperature sensor | Digital Trends (2)

Since the Apple Watch is worn on your wrist, it rules out the possibility of a temperature sensor that can reliably tell if you have a fever. There’s simply no way to get an objectively accurate temperature reading from a bodily extremity.

This is also why Apple has avoided calling the new feature a “body” temperature sensor. In most of Apple’s documentation, you’ll see it referred to either as a “wrist temperature sensor” or merely a “temperature sensor.” It doesn’t measure your true body temperature but rather just the temperature at your wrist.

To accomplish this, the Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra incorporate two separate temperature sensors, one located on the back crystal and another just under the display.

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Cycle tracking

Still, it turns out this is enough to power some valuable features. The Apple Watch may not be able to determine your temperature in absolute degrees, but it can establish a baseline “normal” temperature and then record when that rises above or falls below normal. This lends itself to a feature that’s especially useful for many women.

When Apple introduced the original Apple Watch and its HealthKit framework in 2014, it was widely criticized for omitting any features related to women’s reproductive health. Apple’s Health app could track the most obscure vitamin and mineral intakes, yet it had no place for women to record their menstrual periods.

Apple quickly addressed that the following year with iOS 9 and WatchOS 2, and by the time WatchOS 6 arrived in 2019, the company had made an even more serious commitment to women’s health with a dedicated Cycle Tracking app.

The new app was quite valuable for women who wanted somewhere to record information related to their menstrual cycles. However, it was still an entirely manual process. Women had to specifically enter stats like basal body temperature or the results of an ovulation test. From there, it could predict fertility windows and provide other health insights, but it was only as reliable as the data you put into it.

The temperature sensor on the Apple Watch Series 8 (and Apple Watch Ultra) takes away much of that guesswork. There’s a measurable change in a woman’s body temperature after ovulation, and the new sensor on the Apple Watch can detect this to provide a retrospective estimate of when ovulation occurred — without the need to take manual temperature readings and punch them into the Cycle Tracking app.

(Video) Introducing Apple Watch Series 8 | Apple

It’s a promising feature for anybody who is trying to conceive a child or simply wants more insight into their menstrual cycles. However, don’t expect it to work right out of the box; your Apple Watch needs time to get to know you first.

How to use the Apple Watch Series 8 temperature sensor | Digital Trends (3)

Since the temperature sensor can only detect differences, the Apple Watch must first establish a firm baseline to determine your normal temperature and when changes typically occur. This means one needs to wear the Apple Watch consistently for at least two menstrual cycles to gather the necessary wrist temperature data.

Further, to mitigate against false readings from everyday activities, wrist temperature data is only recorded while you’re sleeping. This means you’ll need to wear your Apple Watch to bed every night with Sleep Focus enabled for at least two months before you’ll get an ovulation estimate. It also helps if you’ve already been accurately logging your periods in the Cycle Tracking app to give the Apple Watch a hint as to when ovulation is more likely to occur.

Since the Apple Watch was released less than a month ago, it’s still too early to tell how well this will work under real-world conditions. Hopefully, we’ll start seeing some hands-on reviews in the near future. In the meantime, Apple notes that Cycle Tracking shouldn’t be used as a form of birth control or as a way to diagnose a health condition without seeing a medical professional.

Sleep tracking

With Apple’s emphasis on the temperature sensor for predicting women’s periods and fertility, it’s easy to dismiss the new feature as entirely useless for people who don’t have ovaries.

(Video) Apple Watch Series 8 REVIEW! Best smartwatch HANDS DOWN

However, it turns out that the Apple Watch records your wrist temperature data irrespective of whether you’ve set up Cycle Tracking, and it’s happy to offer that data up as part of your nightly sleep tracking results.

If you regularly wear your Apple Watch to bed for sleep tracking, the Series 8 (or Ultra) will measure your wrist temperature while you sleep, taking readings every five seconds to provide an aggregate temperature for the night. After five nights of at least four hours of sleep each night, you’ll be able to see a chart showing how much your temperature fluctuates from night to night.

How to use the Apple Watch Series 8 temperature sensor | Digital Trends (4)

Your Wrist Temperature data can be found in the iPhone Health app under Body Measurements. It also shows up in the comparisons section of your sleep tracking data. For the first five days of wearing your Apple Watch to bed, you’ll see only a note indicating more data is required, but once it has enough data, you’ll get a retroactive estimate that includes those first five days.

Apple doesn’t offer much insight into how to interpret this data, suggesting only that it can “provide insight into your well-being.” Nevertheless, it’s an interesting metric for those who like to track every detail of their health. It could also prove helpful to your doctor in diagnosing a specific problem or medical condition. While Apple notes that fluctuations of up to 1.8 degrees are common, more extreme variations could be a sign that you need to see your doctor.

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FAQs

How do you use the temperature sensor on Apple Watch 8? ›

‌Apple Watch Series 8‌ and ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ have two temperature sensors. One is on the back near your skin, and the other is just under the display.
...
How to View Your Wrist Temperature Data
  1. On your iPhone, open the Health app.
  2. Tap Browse, then tap Body Measurements.
  3. Tap Wrist Temperature.
3 Oct 2022

How does the Apple Watch temperature sensor work? ›

Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra have 2 temperature sensors—one on the back crystal, near your skin, and another just under the display. While you sleep, Apple Watch samples your temperature every five seconds. This design improves accuracy by reducing bias from the outside environment.

Does Apple Watch Series 8 track temperature? ›

When worn to sleep each night, your Apple Watch Series 8 can track temperature changes and use this data to help improve period predictions and provide retrospective ovulation estimates.

How accurate is Apple Watch temperature? ›

Apple designed the temperature-sensing feature to work best during sleep, measuring changes as small as 0.1ºC every five seconds while you sleep, which is pretty impressive. However, it won't be able to measure it in absolute degrees.

Does Apple Watch measure water temp? ›

Apple Watch Ultra is a capable companion to accompany your ocean, lake, and pool activities. Use the Depth app to measure water temperature, underwater duration, and depth to 130 feet (40 meters).

Does Apple Watch track basal body temp? ›

The Apple Watch measures basal body temperature every five seconds overnight, when the body is most at rest. It contains sensors at the bottom of the watch near the skin as well as under the watch display that can detect changes in body temperature as subtle as 0.1 degrees Celsius.

How accurate is wrist temperature? ›

Compared with the tympanic temperatures, used as the gold standard, the forehead measurement had a mean difference ranging from −1.72 to −0.56 °C, and the wrist measurement had a mean difference ranging from −0.96 to −0.61 °C.

Does Apple Watch 8 track ovulation? ›

Your Apple Watch Series 8 or Apple Watch Ultra can use wrist temperature data to estimate the likely day of ovulation after it has occurred and improve period predictions.

How do I get the temperature on my Iwatch? ›

Open the Weather app on your Apple Watch. At the top of the screen, tap Viewing. Choose Conditions, Precipitation, or Temperature.

Will Apple Watch 8 have better battery life? ›

Review: The Apple Watch Series 8 upgrades workouts, sleep tracking, and women's health. Battery life and the always-on display are better, too.

Is Apple Watch 8 worth? ›

Bottom line. This one is easy: If you own an Apple Watch Series 7, Series 6 or even a Series 5, you really don't need the Series 8. Series 7 and 6 users won't notice much of a difference at all, and while Series 5 users might be enticed by things like blood oxygen monitoring, it's still not a life-changing leap.

Does Apple Watch Ultra measure temperature? ›

When worn to sleep each night, your Apple Watch Ultra can track temperature changes and use this data to help improve period predictions and provide retrospective ovulation estimates (not available in all regions*). Important: The Cycle Tracking app should not be used as a form of birth control.

Why does my Apple Watch show a thermometer? ›

If your Apple Watch gets too hot

If your Apple Watch experiences above-normal temperatures, it displays only a red thermometer and the time. Here's what to do: If you're wearing your device, remove it from your wrist. If your Apple Watch is in the process of charging, remove it from its charger.

Can iPhone tell temperature? ›

While your smartphone has temperature sensors, they do not measure the temperature of the room. Instead, these sensors perform a vital function for your phone, preventing damage to your battery and other components from overheating. To measure ambient temperature with your iPhone, you'll need to use a separate device.

Can iPhone check my temperature? ›

You can take your temperature using your iPhone by linking the Apple Health app to a smart thermometer. Smart thermometers, like Kinsa's QuickCare and Smart Ear products, let you upload your health readings to a phone. As long as your iPhone and thermometer are within 10 feet of each other, they can sync automatically.

Can the new Apple Watch detect ovulation? ›

With Apple Watch Series 8 or Apple Watch Ultra, your wrist temperature data can be used to estimate when you likely ovulated and improve period predictions.

How do you take your basal body temperature? ›

To use the basal body temperature method: Take your basal body temperature every morning before getting out of bed. Use a digital oral thermometer or one specifically designed to measure basal body temperature. Make sure you get at least three hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to ensure an accurate reading.

Does Apple Watch track menstrual cycle? ›

In the Apple Health app, you can log your period and ovulation using Cycle Tracking, which is also available as a stand-alone app on the Apple Watch. Tracking your period helps you be prepared for its arrival, so you're not caught off guard and scrambling to find a tampon.

Which temperature is considered to be the most accurate? ›

Rectal temps are the most accurate. Forehead temps are the next most accurate. Oral and ear temps are also accurate if done properly. Temps done in the armpit are the least accurate.

Which ear is more accurate for temperature? ›

The authors recommend that tympanic temperature be registered in the right ear or in both ears in which case the highest reading should be recorded.

What temperature should forehead be? ›

Normal forehead skin temperature can vary several degrees depending on your environment (indoors or out), exercise, perspiration, direct heat or air conditioning, etc. It would be normal to read an actual forehead skin surface temperature between 91F and 94F if using a general-purpose infrared thermometer.

Why does my Apple Watch show a thermometer? ›

If your Apple Watch gets too hot

If your Apple Watch experiences above-normal temperatures, it displays only a red thermometer and the time. Here's what to do: If you're wearing your device, remove it from your wrist. If your Apple Watch is in the process of charging, remove it from its charger.

How do I change the temperature on my Apple Watch? ›

Change weather metrics

Open the Weather app on your Apple Watch. At the top of the screen, tap Viewing. Choose Conditions, Precipitation, or Temperature.

Does Apple Watch Ultra measure temperature? ›

When worn to sleep each night, your Apple Watch Ultra can track temperature changes and use this data to help improve period predictions and provide retrospective ovulation estimates (not available in all regions*). Important: The Cycle Tracking app should not be used as a form of birth control.

How do you check temperature on Apple Watch 7? ›

Open the Health app on your iPhone, then tap the Browse tab. Tap Body Measurements and choose Wrist Temperature.

Why did my Apple Watch burn me? ›

An overly tight band can cause skin irritation. A band that's too loose can cause rubbing. If you experience redness, swelling, itchiness, or any other irritation, you may want to consult your physician before you put your Apple Watch back on.

Does Apple Watch 8 measure blood pressure? ›

Unfortunately, Apple Watch 8 blood pressure monitoring is not available, but Apple does have plans to roll out a blood pressure feature within the next few years.

Can the new Apple Watch detect blood pressure? ›

Apple Watch alone cannot take a blood pressure reading. The only medically accurate and validated way to do so today is by stopping the blood flow by inflating a blood pressure cuff around your upper arm and then deflating it while listening for changes in your arteries.

What is the red dot on my Apple Watch? ›

The red dot icon indicates that you've received a notification. Swipe down on the watch face to read it. Learn more about notificatons on your Apple Watch. An app on your Apple Watch has used Location Services recently.

How do I read Apple weather forecast? ›

Check the local forecast and conditions

, then tap My Location. Scroll down to view weather details such as: Hourly forecast: Swipe the hourly display left or right. 10-day forecast: View weather conditions, chance of precipitation, and high and low temperatures for the coming days.

How do I get weather complications on my Apple Watch? ›

On your paired Phone, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. Scroll down and choose the weather app you use as your watch face complication. Set location access to Always and toggle on Precise Location. Return to Location Services and tap Apple Watch Faces.

How accurate is wrist temperature? ›

Compared with the tympanic temperatures, used as the gold standard, the forehead measurement had a mean difference ranging from −1.72 to −0.56 °C, and the wrist measurement had a mean difference ranging from −0.96 to −0.61 °C.

Does Apple Watch 7 have temperature sensor? ›

How the New Apple Watch Temperature Sensor ... - YouTube

Will Apple Watch 8 have better battery life? ›

Review: The Apple Watch Series 8 upgrades workouts, sleep tracking, and women's health. Battery life and the always-on display are better, too.

Can iPhone detect temperature? ›

You can't check the temperature of a room with your iPhone itself, but you can buy a thermometer that connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth. You can also use these apps and devices to measure the humidity in a room.

Can iPhone check my temperature? ›

You can take your temperature using your iPhone by linking the Apple Health app to a smart thermometer. Smart thermometers, like Kinsa's QuickCare and Smart Ear products, let you upload your health readings to a phone. As long as your iPhone and thermometer are within 10 feet of each other, they can sync automatically.

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