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Samsung just unlocked a Galaxy Watch 5 feature it’s been hiding for months

When Samsung launched the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro last August, the big new health feature for both smartwatches was the skin temperature sensor. Except there’s been one small problem with it: we haven’t been able to use the sensor at all.

Thankfully — nine months after the Galaxy Watch 5’s release — that’s changing. On April 19, Samsung announced that it has finally activated the temperature sensor on the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro. However, at least in its current state, there’s just one use for it: more in-depth cycle tracking.

Someone wearing the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Per Samsung’s blog post, “Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro users can now conveniently get even deeper insights to manage their menstrual cycles and overall health … The new infrared temperature sensor on Galaxy Watch 5 broadens our whole-health offerings, providing more convenient ways to track and understand personal health.”

The temperature sensor on the Galaxy Watch 5 determines a person’s basal body temperature (BBT) and uses that as a baseline to determine any changes to it. Skin temperature readings are pulled while you sleep, and with this temperature data, Samsung says the Galaxy Watch 5 will work with its cycle tracking feature to “track ovulation and better predict when their next period will begin.”

Someone wearing a Galaxy Watch 5 to track their cycle.
The Galaxy Watch 5’s skin temperature sensor in action. Samsung

To use the Galaxy Watch 5’s temperature sensor to better track your cycles, you can find the new feature in the Samsung Health app. Open the app, add your most recent cycle details to the in-app calendar, and then enable Predict period with skin temp in the app settings.

This is almost exactly how Apple uses its skin temperature sensor on the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra. Anyone can see their changing temperature in the Apple Health app, but its primary use is for improved cycle tracking.

Samsung will enable the skin temperature on the Galaxy Watch 5 series beginning today for users in in the U.S., Korea, and 30 markets across Europe.

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Joe Maring
Section Editor, Mobile
Joe Maring is the Section Editor for Digital Trends' Mobile team, leading the site's coverage for all things smartphones…
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