Why fitness apps use calories to help you lose weight

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There's no barcode on this doughnut so it doesn't count
There's no barcode on this doughnut so it doesn't count
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Most fitness apps seem obsessed with calories. Go for a run, and your Apple Watch tells you how many calories you burned. Scan a barcode and MyFitnessPal tells you how many calories are in the food you are about to eat.

So what exactly are calories, and does counting them really help you achieve your fitness goals?

How to turn your iPhone’s Health app into an essential fitness dashboard

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A dashboard for your body: all your key stats at a glance.
The Health app can become a dashboard for your body, offering all your key stats at a glance.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Despite its heart-shaped icon, Health is an unloved app. It tends to gets relegated to a junk folder, along with other un-deletable Apple cruft, like the Stocks app.

But when you get past its garish colors and clunky user interface, Apple’s Health app turns out to be genuinely useful — if you customize the dashboard to match your personal fitness goals.

iOS 9.3 brings all-new 3D Touch shortcuts

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3D Touch is becoming more indispensable.
Photo: Apple

3D Touch gets a big boost in iOS 9.3, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system.

On top of the various other “what to expect” features we’ve told you about, the iOS update, which arrived yesterday, also adds a host of new shortcuts you can use from the home screen for all standard pre-installed apps. Check out our list below.

Everything new (and exciting!) coming in iOS 9.3

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This is a bigger update than anyone anticipated.
Photo: Apple

Apple released the developer beta for iOS 9.3 today. To the surprise of many, it actually includes quite a few brand new and useful features whether you’re in the classroom or trying to sleep — or both. There are so many new features that we can actually dedicate an entire post to explaining all of them. So here we are doing exactly that.

Note that since today marks iOS 9.3’s release only for developers, it might be a while before the rest of us see the final version show up in the Settings app. But without further ado, here is everything you can look forward to in iOS 9.3.

Why Apple’s Active Calories don’t add up (and how you can change that)

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In Apple's fitness apps, active calories are not the same as Move ring calories.
In Apple's fitness apps, active calories are not the same as Move ring calories.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Have you ever noticed that some of your workout data is missing from the Health app on your iPhone?

Apple’s Health app is designed to provide a central hub for all your fitness apps to save and share their data. You might assume this means all your Active Calories are added together, regardless of which app you use to log them. But the truth is not that simple — although you can tweak some hidden settings to customize what you see.