Apple watch app that has an alarm when heart rate goes over threshold
June 15, 2021 10:32 AM   Subscribe

I need to stop and rest whenever my heart rate gets over ~110 bpm. I'm looking for an app on the Apple Watch that can help me do this. It should - continuously monitor heart rate - allow me to set a heart rate threshold at which point it - has a very obvious notification

Most apps I've found don't have a threshold and alarm feature or the alarm only works when you're *not* active (detecting a heart attack I guess?). I need the app to work when I am active!

And it can't be an app like fitness apps where you "start" and "end" a workout - I need this to tell me if I'm taxing myself too badly doing things like dishes and walking to the mailbox - I need it to operate continuously in the background.

More info on why I need this if it helps.
posted by congen to Technology (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Heartwatch will bug you both in and out of workouts. Make sure it’s not set to only notify you during sedentary, set workout alerts to custom instead of zonal, and workout with a watch face that has their complication on it if you’re not seeing the alerts when you should.
posted by michaelh at 10:44 AM on June 15, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Just to clarify, you're able to get heartwatch to vibrate or make a noise whenever your heart rate reaches a certain threshold - even when you're not working out and even when you're not actively using the watch? (I've been trying and failing, but can invest more time if it really does do what I want.)
posted by congen at 2:03 PM on June 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here's a blogpost from someone with the same problem, though she didn't settle on the Apple Watch.
posted by clew at 2:15 PM on June 15, 2021

Yes, I always get the alerts except when sleep mode is active, although I am not verifying with another measurement method so it’s possible it could be missing some.
posted by michaelh at 2:45 PM on June 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

This is a built in feature of the watch. Here’s instructions to set it up.
posted by bluloo at 11:53 PM on June 16, 2021

Unfortunately, the built in watch feature only notifies you if you've been "inactive" for a certain length of time.

I wish I had a good suggestion, because I'm looking for this as well. It seems like HeartWatch has this as a part of its functionality, and it works well when I'm doing a workout, but it only seems to work when the watch app is actually open, even though I have it as a complication on my watch face.

One thing to check is to make sure you have all the background app refresh permissions turned on. But so far I can't get it to reliably update and notify me when it's working in the background.
posted by litera scripta manet at 4:02 AM on June 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: For posterity:

I emailed HeartWatch support and they said that that active alerts would not work outside of a workout, which was my experience trying the app. Don't know what magical combination of settings kind answerer michaelh is using, but those alerts appear to be a bug, not a feature.

Unfortunately active heart rate monitoring is not a built in feature of the apple watch. It only works when you’re not active. From the link: "If your heart rate remains above or below a chosen beats per minute (BPM) while you appear to have been inactive for a period of 10 minutes"

Beat watcher works much better than HeartWatcher, but does so by basically running a workout in the background and needs to be reset after running certain apps (and sometimes seemingly randomly.)
posted by congen at 6:50 AM on June 19, 2021

Interesting. I’ll have to check out the other app. Glad you figured something out. I just got my configured alert from Heartwatch outside of a workout again today, so who knows why they said that to you.
posted by michaelh at 6:41 AM on June 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

So in continuing to use Heart Watch, I've found that I have started getting alerts outside of a workout, but there's usually a time delay of anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. Which sort of defeats the purpose of the alert.

I'll have to check out beat watcher. I just worry about the "running a workout in the background" is going to be a battery drain.

Considering how much built in functionality there is for lots of things in the apple watch, you'd think this wouldn't be such a challenge.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:28 AM on June 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

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