Get the most out of Apple’s Health app with these starter tips

Get the most out of Apple’s Health app with these starter tips

Apple’s Health app for the iPhone can be a useful way of tracking fitness and medical data —so long as everything is configured and used just the right way. Here’s the essentials to get going.

Getting started

The launchpad for all things is the Health Data tab, which lists all of the categories the app can handle. While “Activity,” “Mindfulness,” “Nutrition,” and “Sleep” are front-and-center, others include “Body Measurements,” “Health Records,” “Reproductive Health,” “Results,” and “Vitals.”

All of these break down into numerous subcategories, where the real meat of the app is found. Under “Activity,” for instance, are items like steps, workout duration, and active energy consumption. Tapping on one displays a graph with adjustable views, as well as an explanation, suggested apps, and a set of configuration options.

Users can toggle units of measurement, add a subcategory to their favorites, or control data sources and/or access. Normally there’s no need to micromanage data —HealthKit-ready apps run their own setup processes, and don’t read or write any more than they need to. People worried about privacy or conflicting sources can nevertheless toggle data on a per-app basis, or delete histories.

Confusingly, some related options are located in another tab, Sources. This offers more granular control over what apps and devices can read and write —when we were reviewing the Beddit 3, for example, we made sure our smartwatch wasn’t writing any sleep data.

Ways of tracking data

While it’s possible and even necessary to manually enter some kinds of information via “+” buttons in Health Data, the app is really meant to…

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