Apple wants to provide iPhone users in the US with the ability to sign up as organ donors through its upcoming major iOS update, which would be available as a free software update for compatible iOS devices this fall. The update is currently available for iOS Developer Program members.

Apple boss Tim Cook hopes the easy sign-up button in the Health app will help users ease a longstanding donor shortage. He said the problem hit home when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs endured an "excruciating" wait for a liver transplant in 2009, suggests a Guardian report. Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in California at the age of 56 in October 2011.

Apple is adding the option to enrol in the national donor registry by clicking a button that is within the iPhone Health app. This can be used to manage a variety of health and fitness data. The software would be available to all US-bound iPhones with the release of the iOS 10 update this fall.

Apple's latest move comes in the wake of the announcement of a new set of actions by the US government in May to improve outcomes of individuals waiting for organ transplants and support for living donors.

The new actions are aimed at increasing the number of people who register to become organ donors, increasing the number of transplants and improving outcomes for patients, besides facilitating breakthrough research and development with about $200 million (£152m) in investments.

However, Apple is not the only tech firm involved in this endeavour; as many as 20 organisations including Facebook, Google and Twitter are also developing new tools and public advocacy campaigns in an attempt to increase options and ease registration for organ donation.