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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Sync Apple Workout app with Strava to get the best of both worlds.
Using Apple's Workout app with Strava gives you the best of both worlds.
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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Your health records from nearly 80 hospital can be collected so they're viewable on your iPhone.
Your health records from nearly 80 hospital can be collected so they're viewable on your iPhone.
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.

Clue helps you understand your period. [50 Essential iOS Apps #44]

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Clue app current cycle screen
Clue helps you understand your body's reproductive cycle.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

50 Essential iOS Apps: clue appFor the last few years, health has been a key focus area for Apple. Fitness tracking, sleep tracking, nutrition tracking, mindfulness and even reproductive health have made their way into the Health app. Unfortunately, when it comes to your sexual wellbeing, Apple’s offering is pretty minimal. With Clue: Period and Ovulation Tracker, you can track a wide range of physical and mental details and gain useful insights into patterns and abnormalities in your natural cycle.

Understand your sleep patterns with Pillow [50 Essential iOS Apps #35]

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Pillow on Apple Watch report
Pillow users your Apple Watch or iPhone for sleep tracking and reporting your sleep quality.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

50 Essential iOS Apps: pillow sleep tracker appDo you ever wake up feeling exhausted, even though you are sure you slept well the night before? Or do you find yourself getting that 2:30 feeling a few hours early without any clear explanation? With the Pillow sleep app for iPhone and Apple Watch, you can get detailed analysis of your nightly slumber. Even better, you can gain insight into your body’s ideal sleep and wake times.

Murder trial delayed for ‘unprecedented, critical’ Apple Watch evidence

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Apple Watch heart-rate monitor
Apple Watch heart rate monitor could help change the course of a murder investigation.
Photo: Apple

An Australian murder trial has been pushed back to January 2019 so that prosecutors can seek expert analysis of “unprecedented, critical evidence” taken from an Apple Watch worn at the time of the event.

As we’ve noted before, the Apple Watch has become a central piece of evidence in the Myrna Nilsson murder case because it appears to contradict testimony about the point at which the death took place.

This hidden Apple Watch stat tells you whether to exercise or rest

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Heart Rate Variability will help make your workouts more effective
Heart Rate Variability will help make your workouts more effective
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Imagine if your Apple Watch could tell you which days were best for you to do a workout, and what kind of workout you should do. Well it can, sort of, thanks to a hidden feature that few people have yet discovered or know how to use.

Heart rate variability, or HRV, is a new metric that reveals your stress level and whether you have recovered from your last workout. It has been added to lots of high-end sports watches in recent years, including Apple Watch since watchOS 4 & iOS 11.

Here’s how you can use it to optimize your training, reduce your risk of injury, and know when to take a well-earned rest day.

iOS 11.3 arrives with new battery features and more

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Animoji
iOS 11.3 comes with four new Animoji.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The first major iOS update of 2018 has finally arrived, bringing a host of new features and improvements to the iPhone and iPad.

Apple initially released iOS 11.3 yesterday just for the only available to download on the new 9.7-inch iPad Apple. Now the software update is finally available to all users worldwide.

How to set up Apple’s Health app to unlock its awesome fitness potential

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Turn the iPhone Health app into a dashboard for your body
Turn the iPhone Health app into a dashboard for your body
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

If you think the Health app is just another pointless junk app that comes preinstalled on your iPhone, think again. Unlike Stocks, Compass or Tips, it is one of the few apps that Apple won’t let you delete. Set up the Apple Health app properly, and it becomes a powerful tool for getting (or staying) fit.

You see, the Health app lies at the heart of Cupertino’s growing health and fitness ambitions. And with its underlying HealthKit API, the Health app provides the framework that Apple Watch uses to gather data on your daily activity, heart rate and workouts.

But the Health app is more than just a place for storing data. With every iOS update, Apple makes major improvements to it. So, if you still think the Health app is a waste of space, it’s probably time you gave it another look. Especially if you own an Apple Watch. You’ll find it contains loads of useful, well-presented data that can help you achieve your fitness goals.