CUPERTINO, Calif. - Proper hand-washing is pivotal in preventing the spread of germs, a point that’s become particularly highlighted amid the global coronavirus pandemic, and Apple wants to help with a gentle nudge of its wearable tech.
A 2018 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that most people don’t wash their hands correctly, including failing to wash for the necessary 20 seconds.
Considering this fact, Apple announced a new feature on the Apple Watch which automatically detects hand-washing and initiates a 20-second countdown timer.
The watch can pick up signs that the wearer is at a sink, based on motion sensors and the sound of water, according to the Washington Post.
If the person finishes early, they’ll be prompted to keep washing.
The new feature is part of WatchOS 7, a software update for Apple Watch users coming in the fall. It was among several new features unveiled June 22 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which was held virtually.
The company is also updating its memoji feature, which lets users create a customized avatar to look like them, by adding the option to wear a face covering.
In addition to hand-washing and social distancing measures, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of masks in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
This story was reported from Cincinnati.