Apple’s new and long-awaited operating system version, iOS 8, includes Health, an app designed to organize all of the user’s health information, and HealthKit, a platform for tying other apps into Health. Apple HealthKit features the ability to aggregate data from third-party apps into one place and provides users with some unique and powerful capabilities.
HealthKit Apps: Waiting Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
Due to a bug in the system, users had to wait a few days after the original iOS 8 release date to take full advantage of the new technology and updated third-party apps, but the HealthKit system is now available, according to Forbes. While this deferment hindered full use of the new system, the core Apple HealthKit features, such as the Health app, functioned independently of third-party apps and were unaffected by the bug.
Health is divided into four tabs, including the Medical ID page, which allows users to store pertinent information in case of a medical emergency. Additionally, the user can enable the Medical ID page to be accessible from the lock screen without entering a passcode or supplying a finger scan.
Users can include allergies, conditions, medications, blood type, contact information for doctors and family members, date of birth, health data like weight, and other medical notes. This provides all the essential information that any doctor would want before treating a patient in a normal situation, but which is difficult to provide in emergencies.
Another tab, Health Data, aggregates all the data about, well, everything. Users can manually enter information including age, weight, gender, etc; recorded data from other HealthKit apps like hours slept, elevation gained during a run, blood pressure, and countless others; and results of analysis of the first two types of information, such as amount of iron consumed or calories burned. For each different app that ties into HealthKit, users can control what information the app has access to through Health. Users can decide, for example, that their weight is relevant to a nutrition app, but not necessary for a sleep tracker. If desired, all data can be backed up on the cloud in an encrypted format.
This tab arguably contains the most powerful of Apple HealthKit features: from here, users can select data to share with their doctor through a secure third-party communication app, like Mobius, or with a health-monitoring service.
From the Health Data tab, users can select information to pin to their Dashboard. Trying to exercise more? Just pin the “steps taken” and “calories burned” streams to the Dashboard, then choose to view daily, weekly, monthly, or annual data. All the metrics users care about are gathered in one place and displayed on easy-to-read graphs or charts.
The final tab, Sources, allows users to check on all HealthKit apps that are currently sending information to Health. This tab will be pretty quiet until the bugs in HealthKit are worked out.
How do you plan to take advantage of these new apps?
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