Update: HealthKit bug forces Apple to pull fitness apps

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Apple's reputation as a mobile health company is growing. Photo: Apple
Apple's reputation as a mobile health company is growing. Photo: Apple

A bug in HealthKit caused Apple to pull several fitness apps from its App Store Wednesday morning, just as the company was rolling out its long-awaited iOS 8 update.

Apple said the problem could keep apps compatible with HealthKit, a key component of iOS 8 that facilitates sharing of data among health and fitness apps and hardware, out of the store for weeks. “We’re working quickly to have the bug fixed in a software update and have HealthKit apps available by the end of the month,” Apple said in a statement to Cult of Mac.

Brian Mueller, developer of Carrot Fit, said Apple called and emailed him to say his fitness app had been removed from the App Store due to a last-minute problem with HealthKit. His app, and several others including My Fitness Pal and WebMD for iPhone, are currently unavailable for download.

“The rep couldn’t clarify what was wrong,” Mueller told Cult of Mac in an email, “though users of the app who had already downloaded the update were able to use the HealthKit features without any issue.”

HealthKit is Apple’s ambitious new framework for allowing health and fitness data to be shared among various apps and hardware. It is designed to let apps, fitness bands, medical devices and the upcoming Apple Watch work together to provide a better picture of the user’s overall health.

While HealthKit is already being used by top hospitals to help with treatment of blood pressure and diabetes, Apple has had to tweak it to protect patient privacy.

Mueller said Apple told him he could submit an older version of Carrot Fit — one that does not include HealthKit support — for expedited review.

“They didn’t have any ETA on when the fix will go live,” he said.

The folks behind My Fitness Pal told Cult of Mac that a bug prevented their app from being available on iOS 8 today.

“Teams are working quickly to update this issue,” they said in an email. “We’re working on a version of the app without the HealthKit integration to get back up on the store as soon as possible.”

WebMD had similar issues to report. “Earlier today, WebMD introduced a new version of its mobile app for iPhone (v 5.3), that connects seamlessly with Apple’s HealthKit and provides consumers with powerful new ways to capture, visualize and understand health information from a broad range of biometric devices,” said a spokesperson from WebMD, another app that was affected by the bug. Our new app had been available for download in the app store until 10:30 this morning, at which point it became unavailable. We have been in contact with Apple about this issue, and expect to see the previous version of our app (v 5.2) back in the store on a temporary basis.”

We’ve reached out to Apple for comment and confirmation of this developing story.

Additional reporting by Luke Dormehl.

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  • raindog308

    FYI, MyFitnessPal works just fine on iOS 8. I don’t think there’s any HealthKit integration but the app works the same as ever. Of course, I had it installed prior to upgrading to iOS 8…I guess if you didn’t you’re out of luck for a little bit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/timJ.collins Timothy Collins

    Interesting. So MS has had their HealthVault for at least 3 years now (At least that was when I started noticing it) without a single hiccup. It has not been hacked, it hasn’t had any problems with privacy and it has worked flawlessly with other apps if the user so chooses.

    Apple decides to ape it and stumbles immediately on all of that.

    Yet I am sure that people will somehow still argue that Apple is better at security than MS…

    • howie__feltersnatch

      >MS
      >Without a single hiccup

      Who the F uses/used HealthVault? Did it make it onto any mainstream consumer device? The Zune or the Pebble (lol).

      Apple created a new programming language that will propogate throughout the app store – an entirely new platform with 4000 API’s AND published it to the masses….a bug was discovered any the choose to address it instead of let it loose.

      When was the last time MS did anything new? Furthermore, MS would’ve gone to market with the bug – seeing that you Win32fags are essentially beta testers (for paid products). Take a look at the crappy Kinect SDK if you want to see a flawed, undocumented mass of broken code for a promising piece of hardware.
      One can only hope they write better private API’s for the NSA.

      Still waiting for your OS to be written in .Net and not on top of bloated legacy crap that should’ve been deprecated in Windows 2000.
      Still waiting for a real shell
      Still waiting for an OS that doesn’t keep Norton / McAfee in business.
      Still waiting for that new Windows File System that was promised 15 years ago.
      Still waiting for a flagship Windows phone
      Still waiting for Windows 9/10/11 (“the next one will address all the complaints right?…”)

      Microsoft Certified Professionals/shills should be the last ones on earth to point the finger at Apple. Enjoy your stay on the Titanic.

      • http://www.facebook.com/timJ.collins Timothy Collins

        “Did it make it onto any mainstream consumer device?”

        Since Healthvalut is a online service rather than a singular app, it is on every single device out there that has a browser. Which is much more open than Apples little idea.

        “Apple created a new programming language that will propogate throughout the app store – an entirely new platform with 4000 API’s AND published it to the masses….a bug was discovered any the choose to address it instead of let it loose.”

        Apple’s healthkit is not a new programming language. Therefore your point is invalid from the start.

        “When was the last time MS did anything new?”

        Quite a few times. But, of course, since Apple’s newest phones are “new” only if we are in the year 2012, that seems to be a weird argument for you to make.

        Now run along and buy your little iPhone. I am sure that the same company that can’t keep selfies secure will do a smashing job at keeping your bank account and health info secure.

      • Brandon

        “Since Healthvalut is a online service rather than a singular app, it is on every single device out there that has a browser. Which is much more open than Apples little idea.”

        Difference is that unlike HealthVault, a huge amount of people is gonna use Healthkit. There are no known errors on on MS’s software because nobody cares.

        “Apple’s healthkit is not a new programming language. Therefore your point is invalid from the start.”

        He/She was refering to Swift. Not Healthkit.

        “Now run along and buy your little iPhone. I am sure that the same company that can’t keep selfies secure will do a smashing job at keeping your bank account and health info secure.”

        No selfie will ever be safe, no matter what company or device, if your password is ‘hungergames1’ or you birth date (being someone famous) as a password.

      • http://www.facebook.com/timJ.collins Timothy Collins

        “There are no known errors on on MS’s software because nobody cares.”

        Actually, MS Healthvault has (At last count, and I am going from memory) 10 million users… Which, granted, is not huge compared to the size of the internet, but it dwarfs even Fitbit or MyFitnessPal.

        “No selfie will ever be safe, no matter what company or device, if your password is ‘hungergames1’ or you birth date (being someone famous) as a password.”

        Sure – blame the users. Apple certainly has no culpability in securing data…

      • James Lawson

        So you basically you just admitted that HealthVault is bloatware, nice one.

        *Clearly you love the tabloids don’t you, it sounds like you suck up every little word that they throw out there. There’s a difference between a user giving out their details and having an authorised login session (phished), to a user’s account being outright broken into via backdoors/inside access/malicious attacks.

        You’re really showing your intelligence there! Nice one.

      • http://www.facebook.com/timJ.collins Timothy Collins

        So… Let’s see.. One the one hand is Apples little foray into this that is an app that will be on your device whether you like it or not. On the other is a web service with no local footprint.

        And you call the webservice “Bloatware”.

        Okay, it’s established pretty well to me that you are too stupid to bother with.

  • InJo

    What about the FDA? Just consider what happened to 23andme..