A New York man filed a class action lawsuit against Apple on Dec. 24, alleging that the Apple Watch’s blood oximeter has a “racial bias” against people with darker skin tones.
The Blood Oxygen app is available on Apple Watch Series 6 and later and can “measure your blood oxygen level on demand right from your wrist, providing you with insights into your overall well-being,” Apple says.
Alex Morales, a resident of New York, claims he bought an Apple Watch between 2020 and 2021 and knew the watch “was supposed to measure blood oxygen levels and he thought it did so regardless of skin tone. skin,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in the Southern District of New York.
The lawsuit further alleges that during the coronavirus pandemic, researchers “confirmed the clinical significance of pulse oximetry racial bias” using patient records.
“For decades, these devices have been reported to be significantly less accurate in measuring blood oxygen levels based on skin color,” the lawsuit states.
“The ‘real-world significance’ of this bias remained unaddressed until the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, which converged with greater awareness of the structural racism that exists in many aspects of society.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday. The tech company notes on its website that the Blood Oxygen app is “designed for general fitness and wellness purposes only.”
“Measurements in the Blood Oxygen app are not intended for medical use, including self-diagnosis or consultation with a physician,” Apple writes.