Now you can use the can of your Pixel phone to check your pulse and breathing rate without using a third-party app or fitness device.
Until now, if Android users wanted to monitor their heart rate or breathing without a smartwatch or wearable fitness device, they had to head over to the Google Play Store and get some apps. While some of these types of apps are free to use, it’s hard to judge their accuracy, which is obviously extremely important when checking your cardiovascular health. A wellness app can’t help you stay healthy if it gives you the wrong data. The new Pixel features appear to be highly reliable, at least; Google says the heart rate monitor is accuracy within 2%, based on your tests.
The new heart rate and respiration monitors are rolled out for “compatible” Pixel devices today, but are also planned for non-Pixel Android devices in the future. Google’s announcement didn’t list specific devices, but all phones in the Pixel 3, 3a, 4, 4, and 5 lineups will likely be listed.
The new vital signs tests appear in the Google Fit app. Both functions use your device’s cameras to check your vital signs. Your rear camera will measure the color changes on your finger to calculate your heart rate, while the front camera uses facial recognition to count how many breaths you take. You can also save your results after each test if you want to track your vital signs over time.
Check your heart rate
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- Open Google Fit.
- Please select “Check your heart rate.”
- Faucet “Next” to move through the on-screen instructions.
- Let the Mobile Vitals app take photos and videos.
- Place your finger on the rear camera when prompted.
- Please wait while the application takes your measurements. You will see the progress bar fill up on the screen.
- When the test is complete, you will see your heart rate. Faucet “Save” to store the results in Google Fit, or “X” to close.
Check your respiratory rate
- Please select “Check your breathing rate” in the Google Fit app.
- Follow the onscreen instructions to properly configure your camera. You will need to support the phone so that it is completely still during the test.
- Allow the app to have permission to record videos when prompted
- Use the guides to make sure your face and chest are in view, then hold still.
- The app will measure your breathing as the progress bar fills up.
- You will see your results once the test is complete. Faucet “Save” to store the results in Google Fit, or “X” to close.
Please note that these monitors are for occasional testing; you still need a smartwatch or fitness bracelet if you want constant readings.