After a bit of a kerfuffle, Apple’s Healthkit has finally arrived. Apple’s much-hyped Healthkit is supposed to take on Google Fit for health data supremacy. Healthkit gives app developers the tools to share health and biometric data with Apple’s Health app. Basically health and fitness apps can now share data between each other and Apple stores this data securely. Apple’s own Health app can also display this shared data in a customisable dashboard.
But what can you really do with Healthkit and could your app benefit from Healthkit integration? Here are 6 of the best apps to help you make the most of Apple’s new platform right out of the gate.
Healthkit had a rocky start, after all Healthkit compatible apps were pulled from iOS8 and the short but troubled life of iOS8.0.1. Despite Apple hiring just about everybody in the medical, fitness and biometric fields, the new Health app is not the easiest app to use.
You have to choose the health data that you want it to display in the dashboard and initially there isn’t much to go on. Unless you manually enter data you are going to be stuck with walking distances and pedometer data.
The following 6 apps help you add more data automatically and can use information from the Health app to further customise your experience.
- UP (Free)
Up is the app for the Jawbone series of fitness bands but now that it has access to Healthkit, data can now be used by anyone to track sleep, calories and steps. The UI is very clean and more user-friendly than the Health app and there social functions to team up with friends and cheer each other on.
- Carrot Fit ($2.99)
Carrot Fit is also a fitness tracker of sorts but it only offers the ability to track weight and workouts. Mind you, from the opening “Hello chubby human” to its threats of violence, it’s pretty clear that Carrot Fit is not your typical fitness app. It offers encouragement (or perhaps coercion is a better word) and several home workout routines including moves like the Dragon Mating Dance and Protect your Property from Hobos. It’s not easy to combine fitness with humour but Carrot Fit manages to walk that line. If you are a fan of GLaDOS from Portal you will love this app for its sarcastic robot encouragement rather than its limited tracking functions.
- MyFitnessPal (Free)
MyFitnessPal is a thorough fitness tracker. Here you can track food, workouts, weight. You set your activity level and your target weight and the app will calculate your calorie allowance. A really convenient function that has been added thanks to Healthkit integration is that now that it can track your daily activity through pedometer it can adjust your calorie allowance on the fly to account for extra active days. This app is a demonstration of what the extra data integration of Healthkit seamlessly brings to fitness apps.
- Motion 24/7 Sleeptracker ($0.99)
This app is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, tracking sleep, calories, activity, steps and even heartbeat. The heartbeat monitor works by putting your finger against the iPhone camera. The main distinguishing feature is the sleep tracker that gives you a lot data about your sleep patterns including how much deep and light sleep you are getting as well as recording any sounds you make during the night. If you are worried about the quality of your sleep then Motion 24/7 might just be the thing to tide you over until the Sense sleep tracker is released. The newest update sends your sleep data to the Health app.
- Yummly (Free)
Yummly is a beautifully designed recipe app that recommends recipes and gives you smart shopping lists. While not a fitness tracker Yummly will send the nutritional information from the recipes that you find through the app, making counting calories a lot less of a hassle and a great deal more seamless.
- Zova (Free)
Zova, like Carrot Fit, offers workout programs but focuses on workouts for women. There are a lot of different workouts and Zova is arguably the best looking of the fitness apps on this list.
These 6 apps show some of the promise that an integrated and seamless Healthkit has to offer. At the moment that promise feels a little unrealised as the full convenience is only being hinted at. As we start to collect more and more biometric information how this data is collected and interpreted is going to be crucial.
Whether you are planning to create apps on Apple’s new Healthkit platform or just a fitness freak you owe it to yourself to check out how these apps have started out with Apple’s Healthkit. Could your app benefit from sharing health data through Healthkit? These apps are examples of the right way to implement Healthkit integration. It’s not always obvious: Yummly is a recipe app but still finds a clever use of Healthkit data that gives it an edge over its competitors particularly among health-conscious consumers.
Honourable mentions list: Fitport, WebMD, FitStar Personal Trainer, Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker, Human – Activity and calorie tracker, Noom Coach, Fitnet Personal Fitness Workouts, 7 Minute workout, Omvana, Patient IO, Centered.