Users will be able to register to become an organ donor through iOS 10, the latest version of Apple’s iPhone and iPad software, which is expected to be released this fall
Apple announced on Tuesday that the upcoming iPhone iOS 10 software update will allow users to sign up as organ donors via their smartphone. In partnership with Donate Life America, a nonprofit that manages donor registries, Apple is adding the option to enroll in the US national donor registry for organ, eye and tissue transplants by simply tapping a button within the iPhone’s preinstalled Health app, which can be used to manage a variety of health and fitness data.
The new donation function will work through the Health app’s Medical ID feature, which allows doctors and medical providers access to a user’s emergency contact information and allergies without knowing the user’s passcode. The donation option will come to all US-based iPhones when the company releases its mobile operating system update this fall.
Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Associated Press that the new iPhone function was partially inspired by former CEO Steve Jobs, who received a liver transplant after an “excruciating” wait when he was battling pancreatic cancer in 2009. Jobs died of the disease in October 2011 at the age of 56.
Cook says he hopes the app’s easy sign-up will help ease a longstanding donor shortage in the US. According to the Apple press release, over 120,000 Americans are currently waiting for a critical transplant, with 22 people dying everyday while waiting for a life-saving donation.
“It’s a simple process that takes just a few seconds and could help save up to eight lives,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, in a statement.
The updated Health update is one of many health technologies Apple is currently working on in efforts of creating a healthier society. Earlier this year, analyst Tim Bajarin wrote that Apple “is on a mission to improve the overall health of its customers as well as that of the healthcare system,” which is a “task Jobs gave them before he died.”
“Apple’s mission has always been to create products that transform people’s lives,” echoed Williams. “With the updated Health app, we’re providing education and awareness about organ donation and making it easier than ever to register.”
According to The Guardian, Apple is not the only technology company that has pledged to aid in driving organ donor registration. Facebook, Google and Twitter have also pledged support to develop new tools and public advocacy campaigns.
Apple revealed iOS 10 during the keynote of the Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The system update for iPhones and iPads will launch this fall, presumably with the release of a new version of the iPhone.