Apple Health – Fitness App Glue?

Take a look in the iOS App Store and you’ll find dozens of apps, either new or recently updated, that can leverage Apple’s HealthKit framework and feed data to their new Health app. But one feature of the Health app that hasn’t been given lots of attention is its ability to send data to other apps as well.

In other words, Health can be a hub that links your preferred health and fitness apps. This might go some way to resolving the personal big data problem I’ve written about before.

Here’s how it’s working for me.

My key health and fitness apps are

In an ideal world, I would be able to log everything in one place and not need multiple applications. The trouble is that while some apps can work together there’s no way to get all my data into one app. That’s where Health comes in.

Apple-Health-read-data

Apple-Health-write-dataHealth is able to receive data from other sources – something Apple gave lots of attention to when it announced Health back at WWDC in June 2014 – it’s also able to send data to other apps.

In my case, it means that my preferred app, MyFitnessPal, can be the place where I monitor my energy intake and output, weight and exercise. However, MyFitnessPal can’t automatically grab all that data.

My FitnessPal does connect with UP but iHealth, for my scales, doesn’t. However, I can send my weight data automatically from iHealth to Health which then sends it to MyFitnessPal.

Similarly, my exercise data from 7 Minutes can go to Health which feeds it out to MyFitnessPal.

The missing link, for me, is Nike+ Running although the steps I take on a run automatically go to MyFitnessPal. But I expect an update to the Nike+ Running app to deal with that. Given that Apple CEO Tim Cook is on the board at Nike I expect that to come sooner rather than later.

The Health App is good but I don’t like the way to presents data. As far as I can tell, my only options are either as line graphs or tables of data. That’s great for looking at trends but not so good for short-term tracking. For example, I like to see what proportion of my calories are coming from fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Health doesn’t make that easy although I get a view instantly from MyFitnessPal.

I’m hoping that subsequent releases of Health give more flexibility when it comes to data presentation.

But, for now, Health is a great hub for moving health and exercise data between apps.

 

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