Released in October 2015, Apple Watch OS 2 introduced the ability to view third party app information as “complications” on the home screen watch face. While users with Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) users were salivating at the idea of viewing their Dexcom G4 and G5 information by simply glancing at their Apple Watch, FDA hurdles have delayed Dexcom’s officially introducing these features for Apple Watch.
Thankfully, indie app developer (and Type 1 PWD) Adam Wolf has come to the rescue and released watchSugar for iPhone and Apple Watch, which adds a complication to view blood sugar and trend information from your CGM directly on the watch face. From some preliminary testing, it works exactly as promised!
What it Does
Before watchSugar, there was no simple solution for viewing Dexcom CGM data directly on the watch face, in the same way you would view the weather forecast or stock information.
With watchSugar, there are two complications (large and small) that are viewable in most of the Apple Watch faces. The larger complication also shows the timestamp for when the glucose was sampled, which is quite important.
How to Install watchSugar Apple Watch Complication:
- [Steps 1-4 are to be performed on the iPhone] Install watchSugar via the App Store.
- Make sure the companion Apple Watch app is installed by opening the Watch app, tapping on watchSugar, and making sure “Show App on Apple Watch” is toggled on.
- Launch the watchSugar app and log in using your Dexcom Share/Follow credentials
- You should see a confirmation screen as pictured above on the right.
- [Steps 5-9 are to be performed on the Apple Watch] Force touch on ANY watch face (by pressing firmly in the center of the screen) to bring up the options for selecting and customizing watch faces.
- Swipe left and right to pick your watchface, then tap the CUSTOMIZE button. (I highly recommend the Modular watch face because it includes timestamp information)
- Swipe to the left or right to bring up the display for adjusting complications. Tap on the complication on the screen where you’d like to view your sugar. (In this example, tap in the middle of the screen)
- Using the digital crown knob on the side of the Apple Watch, scroll up and down until you see the watchSugar complication.
- Press the digital crown knob on the side of the Apple Watch twice to return to your watch face.
- Your Dexcom blood sugar complication should now be visible on your watch face.
First off, the watchSugar App Store item description states that “watchSugar is able to update every 17 minutes on average.” (This is due to a limitation of the Apple Watch complications, not due to Dexcom or the developer)
Since the Dexcom G4 and G5 samples blood sugars every 5 minutes, this means that the sugar displayed on the complication can be 2-3 readings behind. In my brief testing, I did not find this was an issue, but I would highly recommend using the larger complication so that you can see the time that the reading was checked. (in the above image, even though the time was 6:25, the blood sugar reading was sampled at 6:12PM)
Secondly, watchSugar receives blood sugar readings through the Dexcom Share/Follow system. This requires that you set yourself up as a “follower” using the Dexcom Share app. In addition, the complication requires an active internet connection.