Apple Wants To Let Americans Become Organ Donors With A New iPhone Feature

Apple plans to add a new feature to its Health app that will allow US users to easily sign up with a national organ donor registry, according to a report from the Associated Press. Image: AP

The option will come in the form of a software update for iOS 10, which is set for release this spring. Though the company initially introduced iOS 10 during this year's WWDC conference, the organ donation option has thus far stayed under wraps. It's unclear if it was planned all along, or whether it was a late addition.

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the opt-in feature, which will be accessible by tapping a button within the built-in app, was prompted in part by Steve Jobs' own "excruciating" wait for a liver transplant.

According to the Obama administration, 22 people die in the US every day waiting for an organ transplant, and a new person is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes. In May, the White House announced a new initiative to help those in need of organs, which included expanding efforts to reach potential donors. Companies like Google, Twitter, Tinder and Facebook were included as partners, though Apple didn't appear on the list.

Currently, those interested in becoming organ donors in Australia can do so by registering online, by form or by phone. There's no word on whether the software update will eventually make it to Australia, but considering the ubiquity of iPhones, it will at least make the registration process slightly easier in the US.

[Associated Press]