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All the way back in June when iOS 8 was first announced, it was revealed that Apple had been working on a seriously inclusive Health platform. It was revealed that HealthKit was now available to developers, which would be a platform that they could use to integrated with a new, native Health app. This app would allow users to store all their health data in one app and not only would this allow software developers to integrate, but hardware developers too.
Of course, these apps, and hardware, were already available to use but it’s the idea for Health that’s much wider, and that it’s there to help users think of their devices as a much more medically-inclined device. Then again, it’s pretty clear that the future Apple Watch will play a big part in its development and growth, too.
For the everyday user, however, much of Health popped up as a focal point of interest, and then quickly died down again when it arrived as developers continue to gradually build up integration, and new features following the launch of iOS 8 in September. Though you can input data manually into the Health app, it’s not particularly intuitive, or guiding, so it makes sense to find a group of apps that work for you. Of course, from the off there have been a good handful of apps that are plugging into the health platform, covering multiple bases.
So, if you want to track your health data, keep it in one place for contrast and comparison, then take a look at the fitness and wellbeing apps below, which represent the first batch of apps to work with Health in iOS 8.
1. MotionX 24/7 ($0.99 / £0.69)
MotionX 24/7 doesn’t get quite as much attention as it should, and we’re big fans of the app. Perhaps it’s down to the both generic, and non-informative title, but MotionX 24/7 is a hugely simple, but informative sleep tracker. Whereas apps like Sleep Cycle were the first to gain attention for sleep monitoring, MotionX’s simple approach to goal setting is key. Set a goal of how much sleep you’d like, how many steps you want to take during a day, and MotionX will track it. It’s also got a whole bunch of other settings and tracking features. It allows you to set an alarm that wakes you up during light sleep with gentle sounds, vibration, or a song from your music library. It also lets you fall asleep to white noise, or set a soundtrack, or a podcast to lull you into slumber. You can also set it up to prompt you to measure your heart rate in the morning. That’s right, it’s even got a heart rate monitor. It uses the camera and flash to monitor your heart rate through your index fingers. This is what’s great about MotionX 24/7 – it tracks so much, and dumps it all right into the Health App.
2. Yummly (Free)
So, if MotionX 24/7 does so much, why would we need anything else? Well, we’ll put that down to the sheer breadth of HealthKit. Yummly, a recipe and grocery list app has also started to get involved with Health. The latest update for iOS 8 allows you to log the meals and portion sizes you eat based on Yummly recipes, of which the nutritional information is then sent to the Health app. Obviously, a lot of what you eat will have to be based off the recipes you find, but it’s likely you’ll also be able to find roughly what you consume to keep an approximation in Health.
3. 7-minute workout
But if you’d prefer to get a little more active, rather than being a more passive logger, then get started on the 7-minute workout app. There are plenty of active workout apps out there, but 7-minute workout is one of the best, and the few to currently integrate. The app shows you video and text descriptions for each exercise, which you perform with countdown times and voice prompting. When you’re done – the calories burned can be sent straight over to Health.
4. WebMD (Free)
And Healthkit isn’t all about working out or logging either; once you’ve tracked your fitness, or goals, you can use the feedback – particularly if you’re using the Health app in conjunction with hardware – to gain knowledgeable insights into your health data. It does this through a new feature in the app; Healthy Target. This gives you tips for creating healthy habits, monitors weight, sleep, number of steps taken, and officers an opposite route to logging data than the apps above in that instead of sending data to Health, it takes it from Health and feeds it into the app from which you can get advice and insight. You just need to ‘Connect to Device’, then select the Apple option, then tick Health.
5. Human (Free)
However, if you want something with a little more simplicity, you can’t get more straight forward than Human. It’ll track practically everything you do, all leading up to the goal of being active at least 30 minutes a day. This is open to a whole range of users as it requires so little interaction. For casual users, it can simply offer updates to your progress with great motivational sayings on your Today screen, or for more intense users, you can aim higher than the ‘Daily 30’ and watch as it easily tracks all kinds of different activities from running, to dancing. And it all syncs nicely with the Health app, so that if, say, you have a sleep tracker, all your stats will be in there.
There’s no doubt that as we go on, new apps will arise, new capabilities will be explored and our arsenal of health apps will be even more varied and useful. But for now, as the above demonstrates, there are plenty of apps available that are straight-forward and can ease you into the world of health on your iPhone.