From analyzing your sleep patterns to monitoring the stability of an elderly parent, your iPhone’s health app can be a valuable way to track and share important health information. Apple’s highly customizable app lets you choose which health categories are most important to you and, in some cases, suggests you make various lifestyle choices.
Here’s a closer look at how to use some of the best health app features.
Tap on your health checklist
Before delving into the categories of health apps, click on your profile in the top right corner and then tap on “health checklist”. In this checklist, you can set up a variety of health features, one of which is your doctor ID. Here you can include any medical conditions you have, allergies and medications along with an emergency contact. When you use Emergency SOS (which you can enable by pressing the side button and one of the volume buttons at the same time), your iPhone automatically contacts 911 and a message with your current location goes to your emergency contact without having to unlock your phone. Rescuers can access any critical information within your medical ID, such as drug allergies.
Set sleep focus
In the sleep category, you can record the ideal amount of sleep per night and set the time to go to sleep and wake up by activating the “sleep schedule”, which automatically activates an alarm and reminds you to get ready for bed. You can also change it during the day and turn it off for the weekend or, for example, keep Tuesday and Thursday separate from the rest of the week.
After recording your optimal sleep schedule, you are prompted to set a “rest time” which will temporarily disable some phone features and free you from distractions. I’ve decided to set a 30 minute window where I have quick access to the Calm app only, so I can listen to the music before bed and the notes app if I’m trying to remember something for the morning.
Share your medical record
Under your profile, you can choose to add medical records and data from appointments. You can add all the health records you have so they are in one place, which is crucial for specialists looking to see the full picture. In the sharing tab of the health app, you can also share your health data with another person. This is particularly useful for healthcare professionals. For example, you can ask your father to give you permission to access the specific data he wants to share, and you can control exercise minutes, sleep time or mobility.
Monitor the stability of an elder
Even with your phone in your pocket, this gait stability feature can monitor your balance and detect the risk of falling over the next 12 months.
This feature is useful for healthcare professionals. You could ask an elderly parent to share this information from their health app and you will be notified if they are at risk of falling or if their stability is decreasing.
If you scroll through the category, you will see exercise suggestions to improve mobility and walking stability.
Get notifications if you’re playing too loud for the music
Your health app also allows you to monitor the audio levels of the headphones. Go to the audio levels of the headphones and enable notifications, so you will be notified if you listen to the audio too loud. You can also see if your noise exposure is approaching the recommended limit of 7 days below ambient sound levels.
Repeated exposure to loud noise can cause hearing damage and loss.
Use a third-party app to track awareness practices
Many other apps pair with Apple’s health app to keep health and wellness information in one area. Your heart rate is recorded. You can also pair your phone with Calm, Headspace, and other awareness apps by going into the app’s settings and pairing it with Apple’s health app. Your progress will all be tracked in one place. If you have the Apple Watch, you can use mindfulness minutes without taking out your phone and being prompted to breathe or reflect for one minute.
Monitor your heart rate
For Apple Watch users, in the heart rate category, you can monitor your resting heart rate and also turn on notifications when an irregularly high or irregularly low heart rate is detected. You can also share the data with your doctor.
In the same section, you can also see your fitness, measured by your VO2 max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen your body takes in during exercise. You can see your number compared to your average VO2 max.
If you go back to your “health checklist”, you can configure your ECG app, which will perform an electrocardiogram with the watch. You can view this graph and share it with a doctor as well.
Other health app features include activity, where you can track exercise minutes, minutes and standing distances, cycle tracking, and even a place to track symptoms on a given day.