Why does My Apple Watch ECG Keep Saying Poor Recording? Ultimate Guide

Apple makes the best ECG smartwatches in the market. However, many users have reported that their Apple Watch ECG keeps saying poor recording.

Why does My Apple Watch ECG Keep Saying Poor Recording

There can be many reasons for poor ECG recording issues, and we’ll cover all of them in this guide. By the end of the Apple watch ECG guide, you should be able to fix the problem and get your Apple Watch ECG recording without any issues.

We have already written a troubleshooting guide to fix the Apple watch ECG not working issue; if you are facing that problem, please head over there. This guide is precisely prepared to fix the “Poor Recording error” on Apple Watch ECG version 2. 

Also Read:

What are Apple Watch ECG Version 1 and Version 2?

Apple Watch ECG Version 1 and Version 2 are two different generations of the Apple Watch’s electrocardiogram (ECG) technology. Version 1 was introduced in 2018 with the Apple Watch Series 4 and allowed users to take a single-lead ECG anywhere, anytime. This ECG could detect irregular heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation(AFib), and notify the user to seek medical attention if necessary.

Apple Watch with ECG

In 2020, Apple released ECG Version 2 along with the release of WatchOS 7 in the Apple Watch Series 6. This new technology allowed users to take a more advanced ECG with a 6-lead system. The Version 2 ECG is more accurate and can detect Atrial Fibrillation with 99.3% accuracy compared to Version 1.

One important difference between the two versions is the heart rate limit for accurate detection. In Apple Watch ECG Version 1, the heart rate must be between 50 and 120 bpm for the app to work. However, in Version 2, the heart rate limit is expanded from 50 bpm to 150 bpm. In both cases, if the heart rate goes outside of the limit, your Apple Watch won’t be able to detect atrial fibrillation.

It’s important to note that “poor recording” is a new term added to the ECG app with the release of watchOS 7 and ECG Version 2, and you will not get this error message if you use a watch that uses ECG Version 2. However, this error message does not mean that the older version of ECG is better. In fact, the Version 2 ECG is more accurate and provides more detailed insights into heart health.

Now that you understand the difference between the two versions of the Apple Watch ECG technology, you’re ready to troubleshoot any “poor recording” issues you may be experiencing.

Why does My Apple Watch ECG Keep Saying Poor Recording: Troubleshooting Guide

1. Check Your Heart Rate

Apple watch HR

As mentioned, your heart rate must be between 50 and 150 bpm for an accurate ECG recording. If your heart rate exceeds this range, you will get this error message while measuring the ECG. So next time you get the Apple watch ECG isn’t working error message, you should check your heart rate first.

On many occasions, I get this error message when I am trying to take an ECG report after strenuous activities like running or exercising. So, if you’re trying to take an ECG right after a workout, it is likely that your heart rate is still high, and it may give you poor recording errors. In such cases, you must wait for your heart rate to come down to normal and then try taking the ECG again.

If your heart rate is within this specific range and you still get this error message, go to the next step.

2. Snug your Apple Watch Correctly on your wrist

How to wear Apple Watch correctly

Every ECG smartwatch uses sensors to record your ECG. These sensors need to make skin contact work correctly. The smartwatch sensors are located under the watch, so it comes in connection with your wrist while wearing the watch.

If the sensors do not come in good contact with your skin, the Apple Watch ECG will not work. So, if you’re facing this issue, make sure to snug your watch correctly on your wrist. With that said, it should not be too tight or too loose.

3. Rest your arms on a table

I have noticed that the Apple watch gives poor recordings when I move my hands too much while taking the ECG, and I have also seen a similar problem with Fitbit ECG and other smartwatches. So, the best way to take an ECG is by resting your arms on a table while taking the test, and apple has also recommended the same in its support document.

4. Check for any sweat or water

Smartwatch in water

Water, sweets, or other foreign substances can cause poor skin contact, resulting in poor ECG recordings. So, before taking the test, make sure to check your wrist for any sweat or water. If you find any, dry it off with a clean cloth and then try again.

5. Tattoos on the wrist

Smartwatch on wrist

Like sweat and water, a tattoo can cause poor skin contact and lead to poor recordings. If you have a tattoo on your wrist, your Apple watch may give you poor recordings. In such cases, you can try taking the ECG test from your other wrist.

6. Stay away from Electronic Equipment.

Many people do not know this, but electronic equipment produces electromagnetic fields, which can interfere with the sensors of your smartwatch and cause poor recordings. So, if you are getting a poor recording when you record ECG nearer to an electronic device, move away from it and take another recording.

7. Make sure that you wear Apple Watch on the right wrist

Apple Watch Ultra

When you set up your Apple watch the first time, it will ask you which wrist you will wear. And depending on that, it will set up the watch accordingly. So, if you’re still getting poor recordings after trying all the above methods, ensure you’re wearing your watch on the correct wrist.

You can check this by going to the Watch app on your iPhone.(General=>Wrist Orientation=>Right or Left wrist)

These are some of the troubleshooting tips I have personally tried on my Apple Watch Series 7 and also recommended by Apple to fix poor recording errors on your Apple Watch. If your Apple watch ECG is not working for any other reason, please check out our other support articles or contact Apple support.

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