Google Fit on iPhones can now measure heart and respiratory rates

Google has now rolled out a feature on iPhones that will allow the Google Fit app to use the phone’s camera to measure heart rate and even respiratory rates. Introduced quietly over the last weekend, this feature required users to place their finger over the rear camera lens and apply some pressure to measure the vitals.

To recall this feature was first introduced to the Android side of the smartphone world earlier this year and doesn’t need internet access in order to measure the vitals of a user.

According to 9To5Google, Google says that it tracks the subtle changes in the colour of the finger along with the algorithms that account for skin tone, lighting, age, and others to calculate the blood flow.

Google Fit health trackers

(Image credit: Google)

Google warns that the measurements are not intended for medicinal purposes, however, since these hardly take 30 seconds to calculate the beats per minute, it can be helpful in checking anomalies while on the go.

Additionally, the front camera on the phone can be used to track the breaths users take every minute. It requires the phone to be kept on a flat and stable surface in a way that the camera has a clear view of the upper half of the body. Google Fit then guides the user through the process to calculate the respiratory rate and the entire process takes just over 30 seconds to complete.

The feature can be accessed by visiting “Browse” Tab in the Google Fit app and then selecting “Vitals.” Once measured, the users can decide if the reports need to be saved in the Google Fit app or not. The feature is available for iPhone 7 and iPad Pro users as well.

Google says that “these results are not intended for medical purposes and should not be used to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition”. Though it does add that these capabilities have been through proper clinical studies.

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iOS 16 release date rumors, supported iPhones and 5 features we want to see

After seeing the releases of iOS 15 and the subsequent iPhone 13 series, we’re in the midst of .1 updates that are slowly refining features we’ve been seeing since June, back at WWDC.

However, that doesn’t stop us from thinking of what could be in the next version of iOS that is widely expected to be called iOS 16.

Every iOS release has brought a major feature to the table, whether that’s widgets or dark mode. But iOS could still benefit from some new refinements to better manage how you use your iPhone every day.

We’ve combed through our iPhones to roundup five features we’d like to see arrive in iOS 16 next year, no matter how major or minor these may be. But first, we’ll run you through when we expect it to land and which iPhones will be supported.

iOS 16 release date rumors

Apple has followed a traditional schedule of announcing the latest iOS update in June at WWDC, followed by a release around September.

With iOS 15.2 currently in testing, Apple has been focusing on rolling out significant features across more .1 updates. In previous years, we've seen the trackpad appear on iOS 13.4, alongside ProRes in iOS 15.1 in October of this year.

It wouldn't be a stretch to expect an iOS 15.7 by the time we see iOS 16 with more significant features.

iOS 16 supported iPhones

Apple tries to support a variety of iPhone models in every new iOS release. iOS 15 supports iPhone 6S at a minimum, which was released in 2015.

It wouldn't be a stretch to expect iOS 16 to support the iPhone 7 series at a minimum, but with some features held back, mainly due to the hardware limitations of the camera, or the chip inside certain iPhone models.

Every iOS release comes with a major feature, but also a bunch of minor improvements across the board. If you still have an iPhone 8 for instance, you may reap the benefits of some of the small features in iOS 16 when it arrives. But you will most likely miss out on the big feature that Apple will showcase.

Redesigned Camera app

iPhone 13 Pro

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The iPhone camera has seen huge improvements in recent years, with more lenses being added and features such as Night Mode and Cinematic Mode being introduced.

However, this has meant that the camera app has begun to feel bloated. Accessing forced flash or exposure settings requires a few more swipes than we’d like, alongside hidden gestures that don’t feel needed.

With the impending release of iOS 15.2, we’re also about to see a new macro button appear, which will help you to more accurately set up those close-up shots when needed. This is just for the iPhone 13 series, though.

Starting afresh with the camera app could help new users take photos in a whole new way, alongside giving existing users a fresh way of taking photos and videos.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that Apple has more big plans for the cameras in future iPhone models, which will also mean new features that we’ll be switching on and off when required. Let’s see an app that’s redesigned for what came before, and lays the groundwork for what’s coming next.

QuickNote to iPhone

macOS Monterey Notes and Quick Note

(Image credit: Apple)

This is a feature that appears in iPadOS 15 and macOS 12 Monterey, where you can drag your finger from the bottom-right corner, and you can quickly type in some notes, no matter where you are on your device.

There are many gestures you can do on an iPhone, so there’s no harm in adding one more. Dragging from the bottom right corner would display a note that you could quickly type in, and save for a later date.

With your thumb being your primary point of interaction with your smartphone, it's an easy win that can really help with quickly jotting something down. It will also save the strain of your thumb instead of reaching for the Control Center on the top right, and selecting the Notes icon.

Home Automation widgets

Using the Home app on an iPhone 13 Pro in iOS 15

(Image credit: Apple)

Since widgets were given a makeover in iOS 14, alongside the ability to place them anywhere on the home screen, some other apps have not been forthcoming with their own widgets to help reduce some steps. One blatant example is the Home app.

You may have a selection of smart lights in your home where you use the app to help manage these. But if you want to quickly switch on a light, you may experience a delay if you ask Siri, or if the app isn’t responding, which has happened often in our experience.

Having a widget on your home screen for your smart lights could really help reduce the steps in quickly switching the bedroom lamp on, instead of having to find the Home app.

It’s a little strange that the widget hasn’t appeared as yet, but we’re hoping it arrives, not only to iOS 16, but future versions of macOS and iPadOS as well.

Air apps

Apple AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Apple )

If you own one of the AirPods peripherals, or an AirTag, you may find it very cumbersome to try and manage each of these. AirPods settings are only accessible through Bluetooth from within the Settings app, while AirTags settings are accessible through the Find My app.

Being able to manage these through a centralized ‘AirThings’ app could relieve a lot of confusion as to what you own from Apple.

Third-party vendors such as Sony bring out certain apps that can help you manage headphones and more to better manage the features that these bring. Being able to do the same, without having to go to Bluetooth within the Settings app, could bring a lot of simplicity to managing your devices.

Better theme options

Three iPhones running iOS 15

(Image credit: Apple)

Back in 2019, we saw an onslaught of themes thanks to a few new features that the Shortcuts app provided in iOS 13.

With Shortcuts, you can use the app to create launch commands for other apps, and place an icon of your choice on the home screen for it. This has resulted in many themes being made available for iPhone users.

YouTuber Marques Brownlee created a short guide to create your own icons with Shortcuts.

But iOS 16 could go further. A new category in the App Store could enable themes to be downloaded and then selected within the Settings app. You could also choose different colors and sounds for notifications and set them as a separate theme, which could also be enabled with Automations in the Shortcuts app.

Third-party developers could perhaps make their own sounds and themes available as well. While there would be restrictions on changing other app icons, it could further expand the individuality that users want from their devices.

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Apple to pay up to $500 million for deliberately slowing older iPhones

Towards the end of 2017, Apple fessed up, admitting that it had been deliberately and secretly slowing older models of iPhone in order to eke out extra life from their aging batteries. Understandably, the company’s customers weren’t happy and the stealthy throttling led to several lawsuits.

Now, the Cupertino firm has filed a settlement in a California court, agreeing to pay up to $ 500 million (with a minimum of $ 310 million) in the form of payments to affected US customers.

This includes $ 25 to anyone who owned one of the affected iPhones (listed below) and sums of either $ 1,500 or $ 3,500 to members of the class action lawsuit. 

These amounts will vary depending on how many people claim, as individual payouts will decrease if they exceed the maximum total of $ 500 million. However, if fewer people claim, the $ 310 million will go further for each individual (after $ 93 million is taken off for legal fees, of course).

Affected smartphones are considered any of the following, so long as they were running iOS 10.2.1 or later or, in the case of iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, it could have been running iOS 11.2 or later so long as it was doing so before December 21, 2017.

The case against Apple claimed that, due to the processor speeds slowing, consumers were being led to believe their current smartphone was nearing its end of life earlier than it actually was.

This prompted them to upgrade to a newer model, at considerable cost, when they could have simply replaced the battery had they known that was the cause of the issue.

The settlement allows Apple to deny that it did anything wrong in the legal sense, and the individual compensation has been described as “fair, reasonable, and adequate” by lawyers representing the consumers, according to Reuters.

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