Health app

Use Apple Health to track your mental well-being

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How do you feel, pointy or circular?
Apple’s mental health tracking feature makes it easy to log your feelings and see what’s bothering you most.
Image: Duke kgomotso/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Here’s how to keep track of your mental health using the new mood-tracking feature in iOS 17. Logging how you feel throughout the day, your iPhone will help you identify what’s causing you trouble or what works for you, whether it’s work, family, exercise, sleep or other things.

In order to make any kind of meaningful change, you need to understand fully what helps, what doesn’t, and what you can do. Starting your log is easy. Set it up once, and your phone will ask you every day so you don’t forget.

Let me show you how to start a log of your mental wellness in iOS 17.

Apple health updates boost mind and body across platforms

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New health features come to iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and watchOS 10.
New health features come to iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and watchOS 10.
Photo: Apple
WWDC23

At WWDC23, Apple said it’s adding a slew of new health features in iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and watchOS 10 that will help you take care of yourself physically and emotionally.

And while new mental health and vision features are coming across platforms, the more-general Health app finally arrives on iPad, as well.

New features coming in iOS 17 [The CultCast]

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iOS 17 mockup and The CultCast logo
iOS 17 is starting to come into focus.
Image: Cult of Mac
WWDC23

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: The iOS 17 leaks start drip, drip, dripping out as we approach Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Sounds like a minor update overall, but there’s some interesting stuff coming down the pike.

Also on The CultCast:

  • Apple Watch and the Health app might break their chains this year.
  • The journaling app that Apple’s working on sounds kind creepy.
  • Does Apple have an actual plan for its mixed-reality headset?
  • Get the Apple Watch face that keeps Tim Cook cookin’ (free download).

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like it!) Or watch the video live stream, embedded below.

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Apple preps an AI-powered personal wellness coach

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Apple preps an AI-powered personal wellness coach
You won't need this guy if a AI on your Apple Watch can do the same job.
Photo: Cliff Booth/Pexels

Apple reportedly wants to use the power of artificial intelligence to create a virtual coach integrated into Apple Watch.

In addition, Apple’s Health app allegedly will get new features for those with vision problems, and to help users track their moods.

How to use advanced Apple Watch sleep stage tracking

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Sleep tracking on Apple Watch got much more advanced in watchOS 9.
Sleep tracking on Apple Watch got much more advanced in watchOS 9.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you have trouble sleeping, the Apple Watch might help you get to the bottom of what’s going on. New to watchOS 9, it can track what sleep stage you’re in. That means you can see if you’re not getting enough deep sleep or REM sleep, or if you’re waking up too often in the middle of the night. If you have insomnia or sleep apnea, this information could be very useful.

Read on to see how to use the advanced sleep stage tracking in watchOS 9.

Apple builds tech that acts as ‘intelligent guardian’ for user health

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Apple builds tech that acts as 'intelligent guardian' for user health
Apple shared a new report that shows the ways its products help people be healthier.
Image: Apple

Apple laid out its far-reaching goals for the health and wellness tech built into iPhone and Apple Watch in a report issued Wednesday. It details how Apple intends to develop technology to support personal health, medical research, and patient care.

“We believe passionately that technology can play a role in improving health outcomes,” said Apple’s chief operating officer, Jeff Williams, in a statement. 

How to keep menstrual cycle-tracking data private on iPhone

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Is your cycle tracking data secure?
Is your cycle-tracking data secure?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The iPhone Health app’s Cycle Tracking feature provides a simple solution for logging menstrual cycles. If you menstruate, it’s an effective way to monitor your overall health and estimate when you’re most likely to get pregnant.

Given the personal nature of Cycle Tracking data, you need to be sure that it’s stored securely, away from prying eyes. The good news is, Apple’s security for health and fitness data is very robust. There are just a few things you need to know to ensure your data is safe.

Apple integrates two new smart water bottles with Health app

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The Pro Steel model keeps beverages cold for 24 hours and will nag you to drink water many times over that period.
The Pro Steel model keeps beverages cold for 24 hours and will nag you to drink water many times over that period.
Photo: Apple

Are you drinking enough water? Probably not. But if you want to know for sure, Apple’s online and retail stores have started selling two new smart water bottles from HidrateSpark. They automatically track your water intake and sync it to the Apple Health app.

They do it for a price, that is. The two new smart water bottles are $80 and $60. And if drinking enough water on a regular basis adds years to your life, that might actually be worth it.

How to use Apple Watch blood oxygen sensor, and what it’s good for

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The Blood Oxygen app is not for medical use. So what exactly is it for?
The Blood Oxygen app is not for medical use. So what exactly is it for?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The blood oxygen sensor featured in Apple Watch Series 6 and 7 is “not intended for medical use,” Apple says. That seems odd, considering that low blood oxygen is a serious medical condition. If the watch’s monitor is not for medical use, then what exactly is it for?

In this post, we’ll look at what blood oxygen is, how Apple Watch measures it, how the device compares to medical-grade alternatives, and what you can actually use it for.

Get moving with iPhone’s stealth fitness feature [Cult of Mac Magazine 389]

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Learn to use Mobility Metrics, the iPhone's stealth fitness feature.
Your iPhone knows more about how you walk than you do.
Cover: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

There’s an interesting new feature in iOS 14 that you might never have noticed. It’s called Mobility Metrics, and it tracks several things that offer insight into your overall fitness, coordination and health. Find out where to look for these metrics, and what to make of them, in our in-depth Mobility Metrics how-to.

Also in this week’s issue of Cult of Mac Magazine, we’ve got several hot rumors about upcoming Apple gear (and a possible March 16 event), plus loads of Apple TV+ reviews and first looks at upcoming shows. Download it now to enjoy on your iOS device.

P.S. If you’re a fan of Apple lore, don’t miss our exclusive interview with Del Yocam, the company’s first COO and a mentor to Steve Jobs. He’s got some interesting stories to tell.

How to use Mobility Metrics in iOS 14

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New mobility metrics in the iOS Health app provide essential data on how you’re walking.
New mobility metrics in the iOS Health app provide essential data on how you’re walking.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The new Mobility Metrics feature that Apple added in iOS 14 offers important insights into your health and fitness. Using its built-in sensors and some extremely smart software, the iPhone in your hip pocket captures data and analyzes how you walk at all times. Then, the Health app serves up seven key measurements that provide an overall picture of your strength, coordination and cardiovascular health.

Even if you don’t experience any mobility difficulties, you might still be interested to see what these new stats reveal about the way you walk.

Cardio Fitness: What Apple’s new health metric means and how you can use it

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Most of the interesting stuff in your body happens in your core, not on your wrist.
Most of the interesting stuff in your body happens in your core, not on your wrist.
Photo illustration: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple’s VOmax metric measures the performance of your heart and lungs when you push yourself to the limit. Up until now, though, it’s only been useful to serious fitness fanatics. No wonder Apple buried it in the Health app, where most users never found it.

But watchOS 7.2 and iOS 14.3, which Apple released Monday, change all that. In those updates, the VOmax metric has been renamed Cardio Fitness. Now it can detect lower ranges and send alerts when the reading gets too low. That makes it the latest in a series of potentially life-saving health notifications from Apple Watch.

Here’s everything you need to know to get the benefit of this essential new feature.

Apple should take this Mac Health app concept to heart

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This Health for Mac concept expands the app beyond iOS.
Is it time to port the iPhone Health app to Mac? A concept artist thinks so.
Photo: Jordan Singer

A concept artist shows what the iPhone’s Health application could look like after being redesigned for Mac.

Currently, this software is only for iOS. There’s not even an iPad version. This concept, created in SwiftUI, hopes to convince Apple to change that.

HealthKit needs a health check at WWDC

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HealthKit on iCloud: Apple needs to step up its Health game.
Apple needs to step up its Health game.
Photo: Julia Ballew/Unsplash CC

As a fitness writer and app developer, there’s just one thing I’m hoping to see at WWDC next week: a major upgrade to HealthKit.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Apple’s health-tracking framework is great, but there’s so much more it could do. Moving HealthKit to iCloud would finally set Apple Watch free from its iPhone dependency, launch a brand-new Apple subscription service, enable users to access health and fitness data on all their devices, create a whole new class of TV fitness apps, and much, much more.

iOS 13.5 beta simplifies sharing medical ID info with emergency dispatchers

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iOS 13.5 beta 4 makes sharing medical ID a snap.
With iOS 13.5, your iPhone can share medical ID info with emergency dispatchers.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

iPhone and Apple Watch will soon make it easy to share medical ID information during emergency calls. Basic details like allergies and medications can be sent to a dispatcher during the call.

This feature appeared in iOS 13.5 developer beta 4, which debuted on Wednesday.

How to fix Apple Watch duplicate workouts

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Seeing double? Fixing duplicate Activity app workouts is easier than you think.
Seeing double? Fixing duplicate workouts is easier than you think.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The Health app on your iPhone acts as a central repository for all your workout data. Not just activity from your Apple Watch, but from third-party apps, too.

That’s great, because it gives you the freedom to use any workout app you want, safe in the knowledge that it will still contribute to your Activity rings. But this flexibility can cause problems. When you use multiple apps or third-party devices, it can cause duplicate workouts. So let’s take a look at how Apple handles these duplicates, what impact they have on your Activity Rings, and how you can fix the problem.

Strava finally adds support for Apple’s Workout app. But there’s a big but …

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Strava is ready to play nice with Apple
Strava is ready to play nice with Apple
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Strava is a brilliant app for sharing your workouts and analyzing your fitness activity. But its Apple Watch app is not so great. That’s why I prefer to use Apple’s built-in Workout app and then view my data afterward on the Strava website.

The trouble is, up until now, the only way to do that was by relying on third-party apps such as HealthFit, which provide the missing link that syncs Apple’s workouts with Strava.

Strava has been promising to come up with a solution for years. And this week, the company finally delivered. It’s a huge step in the right direction, but I won’t be deleting HealthFit just yet. Here’s why.

How to edit Apple Watch workouts

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Apple Watch logged your workout wrong? You can still set the record straight.
Apple Watch logged your workout wrong? You can still set the record straight.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

When you finish logging a workout with Apple Watch, you can gloat over all your hard work in the Activity app on your iPhone. This provides all kinds of useful charts, maps and trends to show you how you’re doing.

But what if you logged that workout by accident? Or if you forgot to log a workout? You can’t edit Apple Watch workouts on your watch, nor in the Activity app on your iPhone. But fortunately, there is still a way to set the record straight. Here’s how to edit Apple Watch workouts.

Apple adds One Drop blood glucose monitor to store shelves

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one-drop
One Drop can predict blood glucose.
Photo: One Drop

Apple retail stores are expanding their lineup of health-related products with a blood glucose monitor that integrates with iPhone and Apple Watch.

One Drop might be the most beautifully designed blood glucose monitor we’ve ever seen. Its advanced health features though are what really set it apart from other products.

Activ5 pocket-size gym muscles into the Apple store

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Activebody’s Activ5
Activ5 and your iPhone can help build strength through isometric exercises.
Photo: Activebody

Activebody’s Activ5 is a palm-size accessory for isometric-based workouts. Along with companion iPhone and Apple Watch apps, it lets users exercise anywhere.

Apple approves of this workout gear enough to put Activ5 in its stores.

iOS 13 wish list: Giving health & fitness a workout

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Will Apple move workouts to iCloud so you can browse them on any device?
Will Apple move workouts to iCloud so you can browse them on any device?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

WWDC is less than a week away and there are already plenty of rumors doing the rounds on what new features Apple has in store for iOS and watchOS. Dark mode, a refreshed Reminders app and a new Find My app all look set to make an appearance.

But will Apple also be giving its operating systems a shot in the arm to improve their health and fitness as well? Here’s my top-ten wish list of announcements I’m hoping to hear during next week’s keynote. These features will get my pulse racing so fast it’ll trigger a heart rate warning on my Apple Watch.

VO2 max: The Apple Watch metric that reveals your aerobic fitness

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Max-out your aerobic fitness with Apple Watch by checking the VO2 max metric.
Max out your aerobic fitness with Apple Watch.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Want to know how fit you really are? Apple Watch provides loads of insightful metrics you could check. So many, in fact, that there is not enough space for them all in the Workout app. Instead, you’ll find much of this crucial data buried away in the Health app on your iPhone.

One of the most interesting is VO2 max, which is basically the ultimate test of your aerobic fitness. If you’re into endurance sports, VO2 max is a metric you’ll want to check out.

Here’s a quick guide to everything you need to know about VO2 max on Apple Watch: What it is, how to use it, and how to improve yours.

iPhone’s Health app helps solve UK murder

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A marathon runner's dashboard setup in the Health app.
The Health app can be a valuable tool for police too.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

A UK pharmacist’s attempt to collect more than $2.5 million in life insurance after murdering his wife was thwarted by Apple’s Health app for iOS.

Mitesh Patel strangled his wife, Jessica after five years of planning her murder, according to police. He attempted to make the entire murder look like a break in, but when authorities accessed the Health app on his iPhone and the one on his wife’s iPhone, the data told a completely different story.

How to sync your Apple workouts to Strava automatically

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Strava is ready to play nice with Apple
Strava is ready to play nice with Apple
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Your shiny new Apple Watch is great for logging workouts. But it comes up short when you want to review your training progress and share your workout history with friends. Everything gets bundled in the Activity and Health apps on your iPhone, which are pretty basic.

That’s where third-party apps like Strava come in. Strava offers all the essential fitness analytics that Apple overlooks. The trouble is, Strava’s watch app sucks for logging workouts.

If only you could have the best of both worlds: logging your workouts with Apple’s excellent built-in Workout app, then syncing the data automatically to Strava. Well, thanks to a brilliant indie app called HealthFit, you can.

View your medical records from dozens of hospitals on your iPhone

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Health records firm worried policy supported by Apple will hurt patients
Health records firm worried policy supported by Apple will hurt patients
Photo: Apple

The goal of Apple’s Health Records initiative is to enable iOS users to see their medical history right on their device. Hospitals need to share their data for this to work, and Apple is getting a strong response.

When Apple introduced this addition to the Health app in January, there were just a dozen hospitals and clinics participating. That number has grown dramatically in the intervening months.