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apple
The new COVID-19 app and website provide the latest information and guidance from the CDC for users across the US.
Photo: Apple

COVID-19 symptom-tracking app goes viral ahead of US launch

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COVID
This app allows you to help others, but does not give health advice.
Photo: Zoe

U.K. health researchers launched a COVID-19 symptom-tracking app to help monitor the spread of the coronavirus this week — and it already rocketed to the top of the App Store charts.

COVID Symptom Tracker has reportedly been downloaded 750,000 times since it launched Thursday, making it the No. 3 most popular app overall in the United Kingdom and the top medical app. The app could prove to be a vital tool for health care workers in the fight against the coronavirus, and it’s coming to the United States soon.

Apple health care plans are potentially more lucrative than iPhone

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Apple health care
Apple's health-tracking features have been a game changer.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Apple is poised to create an entirely new ecosystem in health care with a value that could be three times greater than the global smartphone market, according to a Morgan Stanley report.

Apple devices and a growing number of App Store apps are in the early stages of what the 14 analysts predict will be a digital disruption to the health care industry worth as much as $313 billion by 2027.

Apple developing its own sleep-tracking tech for Apple Watch

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App Home Screen Apple Watch Series 4
Your Apple Watch could soon track the number of Zs you catch each night.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch could soon add sleep-tracking tech that makes it an even more capable health monitor.

Apple has been testing the new sleep-tracking technology at secret sites around Cupertino, a new report claims. And if it lives up to its promise, it could ship as part of the Apple Watch by 2020.

Cult of Mac’s 50 Essential iOS Apps [The complete list, sorted!]

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50 Essential iOS Apps
The best and most useful apps for iPhone and iPad
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

With our 50 Essential iOS Apps series, the goal was to help you find some of the best apps for iPhone and iPad. Picking the finest offerings from the more than 2.2 million iOS apps in Apple’s App Store proved challenging. But we highlighted apps that offer excellent features or make life easier in various ways.

To wrap up the series, we’ve sorted the apps by category to make the list easier to browse. We’re also showcasing Cult of Mac readers’ alternatives to our picks.

(You’ll find reader faves linked at the end of this post. That’s especially helpful since one of our must-have apps is about to die an unceremonious death.)

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.

Apple Watch can detect serious heart problem

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Apple Watch alerts user of irregular heart rhythms in sleep
Apple Watch alerts user of irregular heart rhythms in sleep
Photo: Apple

Apple Watch can accurately detect atrial fibrillation, a serious heart condition that is a leading cause of stroke.

This advanced feature remains in testing. However, a new medical study offers proof that wearables can do far more than simply track fitness. In fact, they could actually keep the wearer alive.

iPad app could make cancer screening as easy as ordering from Amazon

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The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is a real screamer.
Forthcoming iPad app will remind people to regularly screen for cancer.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Researchers have developed an iPad app that makes setting up lifesaving colon cancer screenings “as easy as booking a hotel room online.”

Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Early screening can dramatically reduce mortality rates, yet more than one-third of Americans who fall within the most likely age bracket go unscreened every year.