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Fitbit enables blood oxygen sensor in Ionic, Charge 3 and Versa

Since 2017, Fitbit has built an SpO2 sensor into its top-end devices, but the data hasn’t been accessible to regular users. Until now. 

SpO2 stands for “peripheral capillary oxygen saturation”, and gives an estimate of blood oxygenation levels. First spotted by Tizenhelp, the feature has begun rolling out, and those with compatible devices will see a graph appear within the Fitbit app for them to monitor the sensor’s readings.

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The key word there is “compatible”, as the sensor is a relatively new thing in the Fitbit factory. But if you have a Fitbit Charge 3, Ionic or any member of the Versa family, you should be part of the party. 

For those who get the update, the graph will show the variation in blood oxygen saturation. Generally speaking, a healthy person shouldn’t see large variations on the graph, and if you do, then it could be an indicator of a health issue such as sleep apnea.

Fitbit doesn’t really play up the new feature as a medical one, though. “Blood oxygen saturation normally fluctuates, but big variations can be linked to breathing issues,” it explains in a text below the graph. “Estimated oxygen variation approximates the change in your blood oxygen saturation.”

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While the SpO2 sensors have been essentially dormant in the devices, Fitbit made no secret of their presence. The sensor was actually highlighted as a key feature in the press release announcing the Fitbit Ionic back in 2017. “The introduction of a relative SpO2 sensor for estimating blood oxygen levels opens the potential for tracking important new indicators about your health, such as sleep apnea,” the release explained

Still, that should mean that Fitbit won’t get any pushback for not revealing the existence of a sensor, like Google recently did when it enabled the microphone in the Nest Secure burglar alarm

Is SpO2 monitoring a useful addition to your Fitbit, or something you’re not that fussed about? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

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