Craig Federighi, Apple senior vice president of software engineering, speaks about Photos in iOS10 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, Monday, June 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Tony Avelar — AP

But you'll have to wait for iOS 10.

By Don Reisinger
July 5, 2016

Apple is planning to make it easier for iPhone owners to be organ donors.

The company and Donate Life America, a not-for-profit aimed at increasing organ donations across the U.S., have teamed to allow iPhone owners to sign up to be organ donors through the Health app built into iOS. However, the feature will become available in iOS 10, which will launch in the fall, unless customers choose to join the public beta later this month.

Organ donations have long been available when people register for a license,and alert the scientific community that it is free to take organs, eyes, and other tissue from the person upon his or her death. However, this is the first time that the feature has been available a bundled option in Apple’s mobile operating system.

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The impact on such a move could be major, David Fleming, Donate Life America’s president and CEO said in a statement. He said that a person dies every hour in the U.S. because of their inability to receive an organ transplant in time. With the possibility of tens of millions of iPhone owners across the U.S. signing up for organ donation through Apple’s Health app, he believes the feature could “ultimately help save lives.”

Apple’s Health app is a bundled program in the company’s operating system. It’s designed for users to securely store important information, including their blood type and any other information that could be required in an emergency. It also tracks a person’s steps taken, can track body mass index, and much more. According to Apple, the new organ donation feature will be available in the Medical ID section in Health, which currently displays a person’s medical conditions, allergies, medications, and other information first-responders and healthcare providers might need.

So, why is Apple making the move to organ donation? In a statement, the company’s chief operating officer Jeff Williams said that it’s in keeping with its mission to “transform people’s lives.” In a statement to the Associated Press, Apple CEO Tim Cook added that he was inspired by the idea after remembering the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ “excruciating” wait for his 2009 liver transplant.

“Watching and seeing him every day, waiting and not knowing – it stuck with me and left an impression that I’ll never forget,” Cook told The Associated Press.

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According to Apple, signing up for the organ donation registry will take “just a few taps” in Apple’s Health app. The organizations estimate that by donating organ, eye, and tissue, the average iPhone owner could save up to eight lives.

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