FUDiabetes

Any Apple Watch Direct connect insight/update?

Hi, thanks for allowing me into your group. My daughter who turns 7 last month was diagnosed a week ago with T1–as you all know it’s been a tough week. I got her the DG6 and an iPhone (she was quite pleased that) and while we are having issues with accuracy, my main issue is the proximity required with her phone. It seems to be less than most consumer Bluetooth devices and I’m quite keen to get her an Apple Watch with the direct connection.

Two questions for you all.

  1. in current state does the Apple Watch extend range allowing further proximity from the phone (I assume no). Meaning, does the Watch’s tether to the phone which is far more reliable and longer in range do anything for the Dex?

  2. Any update or idea on when the direct to Apple Watch will release? Seems like it is delayed so I assume imminent but I’m not yet familiar with Dexcom release cycles.

Thanks so much, certain to have lots more questions, we are in an intense “figuring it out” phase.

-Carofosho

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Welcome @Carofosho, sorry you had to join our forum. That really is a blow. My son was diagnosed at 12, and it was a hard transition. Of course we are here to answer your questions and offer support, that is why we exist! The good news is with the tools you have, you will be able to see your mistakes and successes in real time which will speed up your learning tremendously. In a unique bit of happenstance, your daughter picked my son’s diaversary week to get diagnosed.

My son uses and loves his Apple Watch, but as you have surmised it requires a connection to the phone. This hasn’t been a huge deal for us, since my son, at 16 isn’t far from the phone ever. The direct to watch connection has been talked about for a few years, but so far is vaporware. I wouldn’t count on that happening anytime soon. With that being said, the watch is very helpful for school where many of the teachers frown on phone use (even when blessed by your 504 plan) so it has allowed my son to check his bg very discreetly which has smoothed things at school considerably.

Thanks so much for the fast reply @Chris . Having just turned 7 and a week ago being strict with the use of technology tools for her, a phone + watch feels wrong. At the moment the primary use case is for us, teachers, school nurse, etc. to monitor. I’m a little worried with the watch she will play with it in class, but if I can ditch the phone for a few years and have just the watch I’m all in.

Question, does the watch extend range at all for the phone to Dexcom connection? If so, that’s probably enough for me to get her one.

Thanks again, lots more questions on many other topics to come as we wade into these waters. Nice to have this group, first one I have joined.

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No, I wouldn’t say the watch extends the range, but the phone could then be in a backpack or desk, or maybe cubby in the classroom and the watch becomes the primary vehicle to view BG. I actually think the watch would reduce the temptation to play, because we have a watch face so that whenever my son looks at his watch his blood sugar is in the center of the watch face, so he doesn’t have to press any buttons or do anything with the watch to get the info. That reduces the temptation to play a game, and since the phone is so much better at those, I have never seen my son do anything other than read a text (apparently young people don’t email, who knew??) or check his blood sugar.

I also understand your reluctance to introduce tech, my son didn’t have a phone until he got diagnosed, then he got a phone and an Apple watch all at once, much to his older brothers chagrin. But the tools really do help, but as you are worried, they have a dark side as well.

We would love to have the direct to watch capability, and this is possible using some advanced settings, non-standard software, and non-apple hardware, but within the Apple ecosystem, it remains vaporware, probably from the Dexcom getting FDA approval standpoint.

Yes a sad welcome to you.

My Apple Watch is a huge tool for me and I am anxiously (kinda lol) waiting for the Direct-to-Watch.

I have questions that I can’t seem to find or understand anyway on any sites. I have Series 1. Oldie but goodie. Working great! If I upgrade, I want to get the Series that will be compatible with the Direct-to-Watch. Could you explain what would be required? I’ve seen things where some are GPS/cellular etc…??? and some are not. Also, will I need to add the Watch to my cellular plan and will it be considered one of the Dexcom receivers??? Like now I use my Tslim and iPhone. What happens if there’s a Watch thrown into the mix? TIA

Merry Christmas :christmas_tree: and Happy Holidays

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Thank you for the referral. I’m satisfied with my Watch now and no hurry to upgrade. I realize there’s no concrete timetable. Just my own curiosity that there may not be answers for. Maybe @docslotnick will see the post and share what he’s found. Thanks again.

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The only time the Apple Watch directly connected to the Dexcom transmitter was mentioned, was during Tim Cook’s keynote speech last year when he unveiled the series 4 watch stating they got the watch designated as durable Medical equipment. He spoke about Dexcom direct to the watch for less than thirty seconds.

I believe Dexcom didn’t realize how difficult it would be to design the app for the watch to run all the necessary functions without the phone. The big one would be Clarity, which needs all the CGM data to work. Calibrations are another issue they need to work out. Maybe, they figured out the watch doesn’t have the capabilities to run Dexcom for it to function properly.

Neither Dexcom or Apple is talking about this now, I suspect it was put on the shelf for a much later date.

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Thank you all for your inputs here. Having a newly diagnosed just turned 7 year old who is very active + a background in Bluetooth device manufacturing and software, I appreciate both sides of the coin here. I understand Bluetooth range, cross body interference, antenna positioning, all make major impacts on range. Question:

What range do you/your kids typically get with DX6? If a Watch was able to extend range to a typical Apple Watch Bluetooth range, even lacking the direct connect/app, that would be much better than current state. I find Apple Watch range to be a solid 15 meters line of sight and 10 with walls/etc. I wonder if a setting allowing the watch to be a transmitter back to the phone leaving the native app on the phone might be a short term solution?

Seems like we are getting 1m of range which is unacceptable. Of course, I’m hoping soccer, swimming, tennis, etc. with a watch with the direct connect will be wonderful.

Merry and happy to all of you—thanks for the warm welcome.

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While the direct connection would be nice for sports, my son has played competitive baseball, soccer, and cross country during the time he has been a diabetic. CGM’s have been somewhat helpful, but honestly, a fingerstick has been required to understand what is actually going on in every sport except when he was playing soccer goalie. Since the 15 minute delay from blood to interstitial fluid has made the CGM only really helpful for post event fueling, he has gotten into a rhythm of doing routine finger sticks every other inning (for baseball) every time he is subbed in soccer when playing in the field, and every 30 minutes or so when running, or anytime he feels weird. This has let him play at a high level and have the information he needs right then.

For further insight you can look at a number of pro athletes in a variety of sports and their training staff is always grabbing finger sticks. FYI - Not trying to rain on your technology parade, just letting you know what has worked for us.

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It’s not the phone or watch that are to blame for the range. The Dexcom transmitter uses BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) to conserve battery power. While using this technology helps battery life of the transmitter, it is a much weaker signal compared to regular Bluetooth.

The watch would also need to be in constant contact with Dexcom’s servers for the follow app to work.

As of now, I don’t see the Apple watch having the capability to do all these things. Not to mention, Apple absolutely does not allow third party apps to update any info on the watch face more than 50 times per battery charge to 100%. This is why those three dashes appear on the watch face where the Dexcom complication is after a few hours. Apple is not going to open up that Pandora’s box without some serious convincing as this is one of the ways they keep third party watch faces from getting backdoor access to the watch.

Hey @Chris, I think that’s solid advise and just the reality I’ve yet to experience—will be interesting to see if that latency gets fixed too. So are you saying the GX device is fairly consistently 15 behind? Major shift in the question but super curious about accuracy and latency expectations on the Dexcom. I assumed most people still prick for meals and now seems the same for sport.

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Jake Leach, Dexcom CTO was interviewed and talked about the distribution process, updates to firmware, BluTooth handoff and steps to release the direct to watch and on the Juicebox Podcsast #239 June 28, 2019 at the 54:52 minute mark. It was also discusssed by Kevin Sayer CEO on June 15th in episode 234 at the very beginning. It is interesting information to hear it directly from them rather than social media.

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Both of those dates are from 7 months ago and way before Apple’s October launch of new devices and IOS. Apple made no mention of Dexcom during their event in September this year.

Yes I understand and I also understand the frustration and doubt. For me the information given was interesting.

I couldn’t care less if they do it or not. I’m never more than a foot away from my phone. There’s no doubt they want to move forward with this but my question is fairly simple. Is the Apple watch capable of doing all of these things? What is this going to do to the battery life of the watch?

My Dexcom sends its results to my phone, but also to my t:slim insulin pump. The pump has a screen and buttons that can only be used for operating the pump or viewing my current blood sugar. If you are planning on getting an insulin pump for your daughter, this might be a good option for a place to check her blood sugar that has no other distractions.

And you can’t really leave your pump behind because it’s attached to you all the time. (Except when swimming, which is where direct-to-watch really comes in handy. But the latest iPhones are water proof enough for swimming so that kinda works.)

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Yes, but not because of connection in the technology, that is just the guesstimated time for the glucose level to equilabrate between the blood and the interstitial fluid that the sensor is reading. It is consistently off by some period of time, probably somewhat different for different locations on the body and hydration level. For full disclosure, my son doses and eats based off the sensor most of the time if the sensor has been tracking his BG and is relatively flat. If the sensor hasn’t been tracking closely or has been changing around the meal time, then he uses a finger stick. We also ask for a finger stick whenever he drives if his sensor is 90 or lower. This may seem like it is a far time off, but the darn kids just seem to make time move at warp speed.

@Carofosho, welcome!

I believe that the iPhone can have parental controls set up which would allow you to set up which apps are available. You might find that helpful.

When my partner began using the Apple Watch in conjunction with the G6 his BG control made a marked improvement. And he had fairly good control prior to that.

I second Chris’s thoughts on the watch making it easier to track.

And also you’re going to want your daughter to be able to understand what’s happening with her BG as much as possible. Having the watch might help identify what number feels like what feeling. @ClaudnDaye has written in about his young son learning the diabetes ropes early. He’s helping Liam understand how to test and when, to put feelings together with numbers, and that sort of thing.

Sending good thoughts your way.

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[Carofosho] I am surprised that there has been no xDrip+ responses abut the Dexcon direct to watch. I have been using the Sony SW3 watch for more than 2 years with this function. I only use my phone for an occasional calibration. When the phone is turned on and within range of the watch the phone down-loads all of the BG readings from the watch. I never carry my phone when I am running or in the water. Of course the phone and watch use the Android operating system.

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