Apple Watch Sleep Stages
Apple Watch Sleep Stages

Sleep apnea, a condition characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep, can significantly impact one’s health. With the rise of wearable technology, many people are curious if their Apple Watch can detect sleep apnea. Here’s an in-depth look at the Apple Watch’s capabilities in this area.

1. Current Features of Apple Watch for Sleep Tracking

The Apple Watch, especially newer models, is equipped with a range of sensors and features that assist in tracking sleep-related metrics. These include motion sensors to determine sleep phases (light, deep, or awake) and monitoring heart rate and blood oxygen levels, which are critical factors affected by sleep apnea​​.

2. Use of Third-Party Apps for Detection

A study from UCSF in 2017 highlighted the potential of the Apple Watch in detecting sleep apnea. When paired with the Cardiogram app, the Apple Watch demonstrated a 90% accuracy in detecting sleep apnea, indicating the watch’s potential when used with specialized apps​​.

3. Future Developments in Apple Watch

There are reports that upcoming models, like the 2024 Apple Watch, might include features specifically designed to alert users to symptoms of sleep apnea. This advancement could be a significant breakthrough, especially for the large percentage of people with undiagnosed sleep apnea​​.

4. Tracking Respiratory Rate

With the introduction of watchOS 7 and watchOS 8, the Apple Watch gained the capability to track respiratory rate throughout the night. Monitoring respiratory rate is crucial as sleep apnea involves periods of stopped or shallow breathing, which can be detected through changes in this rate​​.

5. FDA Approval and Medical Accuracy

It’s important to note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any version of the Apple Watch for detecting or diagnosing sleep apnea. Although the Apple Watch can provide valuable health data, it’s not a substitute for professional medical diagnosis or equipment specifically designed for sleep apnea detection​​.

6. Integrating Apple Watch Data into Health Management

While the Apple Watch cannot officially diagnose sleep apnea, the data it collects can be invaluable for personal health monitoring. Users can share this data with healthcare professionals to aid in understanding their sleep patterns and identifying potential issues.

7. The Importance of Professional Diagnosis

For individuals suspecting they have sleep apnea, it’s crucial to seek a professional diagnosis. While the Apple Watch can provide helpful insights, it cannot replace the thorough evaluation and testing conducted by healthcare professionals.

8. Complementary Role in Sleep Health

The Apple Watch can play a complementary role in managing sleep health. By tracking sleep patterns and respiratory rates, it can alert users to potential issues that they may want to discuss with their healthcare provider.

9. Looking Towards the Future

The potential inclusion of dedicated sleep apnea detection features in future Apple Watch models reflects the ongoing advancements in wearable health technology. These developments promise to enhance our ability to monitor and manage our health more effectively.

10. Maximizing Your Apple Watch for Sleep Health

For current Apple Watch users, understanding and utilizing the available sleep tracking features can be a step towards better sleep health. Pairing the watch with specialized apps can further enhance its capabilities in detecting sleep-related issues.


In summary, while the Apple Watch has promising features for tracking sleep health, it currently cannot officially detect sleep apnea. However, its ability to monitor sleep patterns and respiratory rates can provide valuable insights. Future models may offer more advanced capabilities, but for now, it’s essential to use the Apple Watch as a complementary tool in conjunction with professional medical advice.


  1. Can the Apple Watch diagnose sleep apnea? No, the Apple Watch cannot officially diagnose sleep apnea, as it’s not approved by the FDA for this purpose.
  2. How accurate is the Apple Watch in detecting sleep apnea? A study with the Cardiogram app showed a 90% accuracy in detecting sleep apnea, but this is not an FDA-approved diagnosis.
  3. Will future Apple Watch models detect sleep apnea? Reports suggest that future models, like the 2024 Apple Watch, may include features to alert users to sleep apnea symptoms.
  4. Can I use my Apple Watch to track my sleep health? Yes, you can use your Apple Watch to track various sleep metrics, including respiratory rate, which can provide insights into your sleep health.
  5. Should I rely on my Apple Watch for sleep apnea diagnosis? No, while the Apple Watch can provide valuable health data, it should not replace professional medical diagnosis or testing for sleep apnea.
Eric Chan

Hi! I’m Eric and I work on the knowledge base at  You can see some of my writings about technology, cellphone repair, and computer repair here.

When I’m not writing about tech I’m playing with my dog or hanging out with my girlfriend.

Shoot me a message at if you want to see a topic discussed or have a correction on something I’ve written.

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