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Is Cycle Tracking in Apple Watch Series 8 Secure?: Roe v. Wade Right to Privacy Theory

Let’s start this blog with a fun tweet.

Anyway, when Apple was busy revealing its next-gen hardware lineup, we were feeling anxious.

We were more concerned about how Apple would deal with the privacy concerns associated with cycle tracking.

Especially after the overruling of Roe v. Wade which had protected the privacy and rights of pregnant women to have abortions.

Being extremely fascinated by both – Apple’s R&D team and Roe v. Wade’s right to privacy, either of them losing the game to another would be heartbreaking for us.

But Apple nailed it for its Apple Watch cycle tracking and literally did not disappoint a big fan base of its privacy and security that also includes our healthcare IT team.

Yes, cycle tracking on Apple Watch Series 8 is secure and private. But there is a lot more you seriously need to know.

How did cycle tracking Apple Watch feature backfire?

In watchOS 6 and watchOS 7, cycle tracking is one of the most prominent features which has been launched targeting women’s health.

Using this feature, women can log information about their menstrual cycle along with other information that includes symptoms such as headaches or cramps.

The cycle tracking feature analyzes this data and alerts the users that their fertility window is about to start.

Setting up the cycle tracking in Apple Watch is also very simple and straightforward.

Everything ran well for Apple until the day Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022.

In case you are wondering, Roe v. Wade – as per Wikipedia – “was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States conferred the right to have an abortion.”

But after its overturning, abortion has become illegal in many states of the USA.

Abortion has become illegal in many states of the USA

The aftermath of abortion becoming illegal proved lethal – not only with the case of Apple Watch’s cycle tracking but other period tracker apps too.

People have developed the fear that the cycle tracking Apple watch feature and other period tracking apps might be storing their wellness data that can reveal if that particular user had an abortion or not.

This can be possible by identifying the gap between a reported missed period and a reported new period.

If that gap is not of certain months, the app or Apple Watch can also track the user’s visits to the clinics with GPS data and firmly say whether she had an abortion or not.

To deal with this fear, people started uninstalling the period tracker apps from their smartphones and turning off the cycle tracking feature from the Apple Watch. (That’s what they could only do!)

Let us present to you some data that depicts how people take data privacy seriously.

1. Google monthly receives a good number of search on ‘how to delete Flo app data’

how to delete Flo app data Google search volume

2. An article Google is showing on the first position on the search query of ‘how to delete flo app data’ receives an average of 1.6K average monthly readers.

Overview of how to delete flo app data

3. Several people also search for ‘remove cycle tracking from Apple Watch’. This trend has emerged only recently.

Overview of remove cycle tracking from Apple Watch

4. An article Google is showing on the first position on the search query of ‘remove cycle tracking from Apple Watch’ receives an average of 1.4K average monthly readers. (With the graph of the number of readers is ever-increasing!)

Overview of Remove cycle tracking from Apple Watch

This data is enough to tell us that users are now seeing cycle tracking Apple watch feature with a different perspective that feature has never been built for!

That’s why Apple must have a hard time designing a privacy experience for the Apple watch series 8.

How Apple prepares itself with its Apple Watch Series 8 for Roe v. Wade right to privacy backfire?

Of course with its privacy practice and innovation. Let us explain.

Apple’s newly launched Watch Series 8 is more focused on women’s health. (And one more thing … women’s health data privacy.)

Apple is so serious about privacy that it is highlighting that on its website of Series 8 – in bold and large font.

Most importantly, for the rest of the features, Apple does not highlight privacy in this way – very separately!

Apple Watch Series 8 for Roe V. Wade right to privacy

And we are sure that the marketing campaign for Apple Watch Series 8 would be more focused on women’s health and fitness while showcasing these privacy features of encrypted data and local storage.

However, Apple knows it. Privacy alone itself is not enough. The product should have some outstanding appeal to not experience the same as what happened earlier due to Roe v. Wade right to privacy.

So, to gain user interest on a large scale, Apple has also worked on the innovation part.

The new Apple Watch is equipped with two temperature sensors – one on the back crystal near the user’s skin and the second just under the display.

With this two-sensor design, Apple has achieved the most accurate temperature reading, minimizing bias from the outside environment.

But here too, placing two sensors isn’t enough. Converting that into meaningful use cases is crucial.

Using the temperature data collected by sensors, Apple Watch Series 8 can predict ovulation and improve period predictions.

While the rest of the period trackers utilize historical data or data added by users to predict ovulation and period, the use of real-time biological data which too automatically to predict ovulation and period is what makes Apple an innovative company!

So, in essence, by combining innovation and privacy features, Apple seems this time ready to combat the fear users have regarding the misuse of women wellness data!

Our experience with healthcare security and privacy

Like Apple, we don’t deal with hardware. But yes, software is our core expertise – to be specific – healthcare software!

Since our inception, we have been very clear about the privacy and security of whatever healthcare app or software we build.

We recently built a white-label no-code patient portal.

In this too, we have worked extra 3 months to infuse ultimate privacy and security into the software.

A few of the privacy and security features we have added are,

  • Two-factor authentication
  • Automatic log out
  • Advanced permission management
  • Advanced user management
  • HIPAA compliant storage
  • HIPAA compliant APIs

However, achieving ultimate privacy and security is very overwhelming for small to medium-scale companies.

Then you must be wondering – how can we be able to achieve that?

Well, we have cracked it. All you need is a mindset, guts, and a dedicated team of healthcare compliance experts!