Wearable Forensics Blog 4

Forensic Analysis of Wearable Technology

Previously, the Leahy Center for Digital Investigations Wearables Team posted a third blog about their research, specifically pertaining to the Samsung Galaxy Watch and the Fitbit Versa. For the remainder of the semester, the team will be investigating the Garmin Fenix 5 and the Apple Watch Series 4. This week, the team began the first half of data generation for the two devices. We specifically tested fitness tracking, GPS and location tracking, and heart rate monitoring. While the data generation timeline is similar to the Fitbit and Samsung timeline, due to their higher sophistication and varied functionality, the Apple Watch and Garmin Fenix 5 needed more extensive testing.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch is probably the most robust in functionalities and largest in international market share, according to IDC. The Apple Watch Series 4 includes every single functionality we looked into testing for the other devices, including NFC Payment, which wasn’t available for some others. From the first use, the Apple Watch seems to hold very accurate and detailed information; the team is excited to try to see how this data is stored on the phone.

The team also hopes to test the fall detection feature of the device. This functionality displays an alert on the watch using the accelerator and gryoscope to detect a hard fall. The user has a minute to respond to the screen prompt to call emergency services or confirm they are okay. If more than a minute passes, the watch will automatically send the user’s information and location to EMS. The team hopes to use this to illustrate the timeline that can be built from Apple Watch information in investigations.


While Garmin only has a quarter of the market share that Apple does, the company is known for its impressively accurate fitness tracking devices. The team performed the first set of tests on the Garmin Fenix 5 this past week. The watch differs from the other three watches in that it doesn’t have a touch screen; however, the fitness tracking seems to be the most accurate of them all. The Garmin is one of the most interesting devices to investigate because the charging port is also a data transfer port. This means the team is able to directly see the data on the watch by plugging it into the computer.

Final Weeks

The team has a month left to research, run tests, and finalize their report on the four devices. Make sure to check back in to see their final report. This update will include all tests, notable results, and how to compile data from the devices and paired phones!

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