Apple has been granted a patent today which illustrates how future products such as iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch could have built-in sensors to detect harmful, poisonous gasses, such as CO or CO2 — often dubbed a silent killer due to its odorless, tasteless yet toxic state.

While ingraining a physical gas sensor into a device requires another physical chassis opening — something Apple and the industry is clearly moving away from — it would be extremely interesting to see if the company could retain IP68 water-resistance on iPhone and Apple Watch with this theoretical feature built-in.

Via PatentlyApple,

Apple’s patent claim #9 points to a “target gas consisting of at least one of ozone (O.sub.3), nitrogen dioxide (NO.sub.2), nitrogen monoxide (NO), sulfur dioxide (SO.sub.2), carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH.sub.4), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and wherein the components of a gas mixture other than the target gas comprises poisoning species including siloxanes, sulfates, phosphates and chlorides, and/or interfering species such as water vapor.”

Specifically, the patent shows diagrams of a “miniature gas sensing device encased in an enclosure”. As for the “enclosure”, an Apple Watch is what’s being used in the patent demonstration.


Clean air and tech have gone hand-in-hand in recent years. Besides the numerous smart air-purifiers on the market, Tesla launched a specialized HEPA filter for its vehicles, opening the door for a “Bioweapon Defense Mode” filtration mode.

Our own Guilherme Rambo keenly pointed out how considering the ease of building your own IoT smoke detector with an Arduino circuit board, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the next Apple Watch feature gas-detecting abilities — again, provided water-resistance isn’t impaired.

Though water-resistant smoke detectors do exist, they’re of course generally bulky and will require some significant shrinking before implementation into any wrist watch wearable or smartphone.

Would you like to see a feature like this on your next iPhone or Apple Watch? How do you feel now that tech and health are merging so rapidly? Discuss in the comments section below!

Update: As numerous readers have pointed out, there’s a difference between carbon monoxide (CO) versus carbon dioxide (CO2). The patent specifically covers CO, the most common type of fatal poisoning in the world. As for whether the final release would detect both CO and CO2 remains to be seen, yet for the time being, the patent makes no mention of carbon dioxide, CO2.

Related stories:

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel