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Get fit with iOS 8

We’ve put the Health app through its paces to find out why Apple loves it so much

Until iOS 8 Apple hadn’t actively got involved in the health and fitness app craze. Third-party apps were thriving on the App Store among keen runners and cyclists, but there was a strange lack of a central hub in iOS; a place where you could decipher bucket loads of data in a clean and easy-to-understand interface. Rival manufacturers had all got involved, but never cracked it. So Apple introduced Health in iOS 8.

At its basic level, Health works with your iPhone’s motion coprocessor to effectively record your daily movements and provide detailed health and fitness data. But thanks to HealthKit, a new developer tool, you can power up Health with an array of brilliant third-party apps. Scour the App Store to find compatible apps and sync them to work with Health and you’ll get all the data you could possibly need, from sleep analysis to body measurements. We enjoyed syncing Health with Lark in this tutorial, but we’re sure it won’t be long before the App Store is packed with alternatives. If you thought this was just another pointless app taking up space on your home screen (Passbook, anyone?) – think again. Here’s what we thought about the Health app.


1 Dashboard

The Dashboard is Health’s main hub. Here you get at-a-glance recent information on your health, everything from weight to sleep quality. You need to add to it, though.


2 Health Data

There’s so much data that you can manage in Health. You can see a list of each one under the Health Data tab. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but tap on one option to see more detailed analysis.


3 Analysis

If you’ve synced Health to work with a third- party app, that app’s findings and analysis is sent to Health. It saves having to open up different apps, providing everything in one handy place.


4 Show on Dashboard

If it’s info you want to see on your Dashboard, tap Show on Dashboard. Remember, this is your Health app, so fill up your Dashboard with whatever you want, however niche.


5 Search App Store

Thanks to HealthKit, Apple has opened up Health to an army of third-party fitness apps. Take a trip to the App Store to find new apps or an existing favourite to sync with Health.


6 Link with Health

Linking a third-party app with Health doesn’t happen automatically; you’ll need to delve into Settings menus to do so. Accept the requests (within reason, of course) when asked to sync.


7 Sources

When you sync a third-party app, it will appear in the Sources tab at the bottom. You can tap on an app and customise exactly what data it writes and reads.


8 Medical ID

This is a feature that you may have missed, but one that could prove essential. Medical ID creates an emergency card that’s accessible from your lock screen.


9 Fill out form

Maybe you’re allergic to penicillin. Or you take medication daily. If something untoward was to happen to you, this critical information could be easily displayed on your iPhone.