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A look at the health app on iOS 13

My husband and I started our "fertility journey" – which is called euphemistic infertility nightmare – just before the iPhone era began. Every morning I took the temperature with a special pink thermometer, careful to get out of bed or move enough to change the reading. We noticed the number on a sheet of paper and later transferred it to a screwed chart. Books full of fertility advice crowded the bedside table. None of us knew then how much the iPhone would simplify even these most intimate parts of our lives.

Today, all iPhones come with a built-in app, Health, which serves as a focal point for health data. And that's a lot of that data – the use of health and fitness apps grew more than 330% between 201

5 and 2017 according to Flurry Analytics. With the release of iOS 13 (due in months, but now available in public beta), Health has grown beyond just being a weak database of health-related metrics. It is now a tool that not only tracks multiple types of data – including the fertility indicators I once logged by hand – but also actively helps users manage and understand that information by providing insight into their health trends.

Your Health, at a Glance

The Health app acts as a dashboard for data you directly enter or – more likely – collects using compatible apps and health devices such as smart scales, smart insulin pens and exercise trackers (including Apple Watch ). The first thing you see when you open the Health app for iOS 13 is the new, information-packed overview view. The Favorites section shows recent entries in categories you frequently check, such as the training minimum. The Highlights section provides dynamic charts, with the app analyzing current and past data to give a historical perspective of what's happening. This is a quick way to get feedback, for example if you have been exercising less than usual, or if your blood sugar level is rising upwards.

 Health Summary in iOS 13

Tap any category in the overview view to see highlights specific to it. The more data you have, the more insight this will give you. You can filter many charts interactively by hour, day, week, month or year. In most cases, you will also find basic educational material, sourced from sources such as the Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health, to explain the category's importance to your health.

 iOS 13 Health Education Material

If you're looking for something special, tap Browse at the bottom of the window. Enter a term in the search box or explore the list of categories displayed here.

 Browse iOS 13 Health

If training is your biggest concern, find more tools in iOS 13's updated Activity app. It will map your progress with important activity metrics, such as walking and running pace, comparing the previous 90 days to the last 365 days and offering personal challenges and coaching as you begin to decline.

Tools for Tracking Menstruation and Fertility

When Apple's Craig Federighi first introduced the Health app back in 2014, he billed it as a dashboard where you could "monitor all the metrics you're most interested in" no matter what app or health device they had to come from. But the Health app lacked any way to track or record menstrual cycle data, leaving a significant portion of Apple's customer base. (You know, women.) A year later, iOS 9's Health app provided basic reproductive health tools, but iOS 13 takes things to the next level, offering more visual mapping and cycle statistics, as well as prediction and notification, making it much more useful on daily basis.

Using past data as its guide – whether you've typed it into the Health app itself or a third-party reproductive health app like Glow or Clue – Health is probably tracking the start of the next three cycles, making it easy to get an idea of ​​what the situation will be like for upcoming pool parties and romantic vacations. By default, health also warns you at 20 on the day before the period is predicted, so you don't go out the door without supplies. Similarly, if you are trying to get pregnant, health can predict as you approach the "fertile window" – in other words, the time when ovulation is expected – and alert you the night before.

 Cycle Tracking in iOS 13 Health

To make it easier to log menstruation as well as before and after menstrual symptoms such as sleep and appetite changes, Apple announced that watchOS 6 (probably shipped with iOS 13 ) would include a companion app, Cycle Tracking. It will also let you see predictions and alerts on your wrist.

Is Apple in the fitness tracker front office with this? Not completely. Fitbit added menstrual cycle tracking in 2018, as Garmin did earlier this year. (Of the three, only Garmin has specific features for tracking menopausal symptoms – something many women have been dealing with for years – although you can register hot flashes with Health.)

Tools to Protect Ears

The number of Americans with hearing loss doubled between 2000 and 2015, according to the Hearing Health Foundation, leading to a total of 50 million. In most cases, noise-induced hearing loss caused by continuous exposure to loud noises (rather than a sudden explosion) can be prevented. This is where the Health app's new hearing tools come in.

Health now tracks the sound levels of headphones and detects whether your exposure reaches dangerous levels. This means that if you regularly turn up your tunes, you can check the app to see if you expose your ears. (To reduce the maximum volume on an iPhone, go to Settings> Music> Volume Limit and move the slider to the left.) If you see the sound level of your headphones rolling up in your health care provider's highlights, it may be time to see your doctor to lower your hearing. . Proactive alerts that refuse you to make changes will make these tools even more useful.

 Hearing in iOS 13 Health

If you have an Apple Watch running watchOS 6, it will work with the Health app to warn you about the sounds around you, whether they come from a concert or a construction site. If decibels become dangerous, the watch taps you on the wrist and displays a warning. a notification also appears at the top of Health's summary view.

You can adjust the sensitivity of the Watch app on your iPhone depending on how careful you want to be with your ears. Reaching the preset maximum, 90 dB, was not difficult with Ozzy Osbourne playing full blast on a HomePod. It was also about the level that Josh Centers found lawn mowing to be (see “3M WorkTunes Headphones Make Yardwork More Tolerable,” April 12, 2019).

 Noise warning in watchOS 6

From Health Hub to Health Helper

When it comes to your health, knowledge is power. Making it easy to gather data, track symptoms, and draw basic conclusions about your state of health makes it more likely that you will come to the doctor's office with the information you need to get good care. Or better yet, maybe this data can help you change habits and behaviors so you don't have to schedule your doctor's appointment in the first place.

Whether it protects your ears or alerts you that it's time for baby-making, the iOS 13 & # 39; Health app not only collects more of our scattered health information, but also helps us apply it to practical and potentially profound ways. My daughter, now 11 years old, will probably never be able to imagine anything else.

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