Starting with the launch of iOS 10 this fall, Apple will encourage users to become organ, eye and tissue donors by including an enrollment form in the iPhone's native Health app.
The national donor registration will come in the form of a simple sign-up in the iOS 10 Health app. Apple announced on Tuesday that the program is being created in partnership with nonprofit organization Donate Life America, noting that over 120,000 Americans are currently waiting for a transplant.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said to the Associated Press that the inclusion was inspired, in part, by late company co-founder Steve Jobs.
Cook said Jobs endured an "excruciating" wait for his own liver transplant in 2009. Jobs ultimately returned to work after receiving a transplant. In his first comments after his return, Jobs revealed in September of 2009 that he received the liver of a mid-20s person who died in a car crash, and was registered as an organ donor.
"I am alive because of their generosity," Jobs said. "I hope we all can be that generous."
With iOS 10, registrations submitted from the iPhone's Health app will be sent directly to the National Donate Life Registry managed by Donate Life America. Users will then have their decision to be a donor carried with them wherever they go.
"On average, one person dies every hour in the United States waiting for an organ transplant because the demand for lifesaving transplants far exceeds the available supply of organs — and one donor can save as many as eight lives," said David Fleming, President & CEO of Donate Life America. "By working with Apple to bring the National Donate Life Registry to the Health app on iPhone, we're making it easier for people to find out about organ, eye and tissue donation and quickly register. This is a huge step forward that will ultimately help save lives."
In another health-related change coming later this year, the watchOS 3 update for Apple Watch will include a new feature dubbed SOS, which can be invoked by holding the side button. Doing this can call 911 or emergency services over cellular or Wi-Fi, and will also notify emergency contacts with a map of the user's current location.
iOS 10 and watchOS 3 will launch as a free update for iPhone and iPad this fall, likely in late September. For more, see AppleInsider's ongoing Inside iOS 10 series.