Health (Apple)

Health is a health informatics mobile app, announced by Apple Inc. on June 2, 2014, at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). The app is available on iPhone and iPod Touch devices running iOS 8 or later. The application holds health data such as blood pressure measurement and glucose levels, but also holds physical tracking data such as step counts.[1] It can pull data from fitness trackers, smartwatches, smart scales, and other devices.[1]

Developer(s)Apple Inc.
Initial releaseSeptember 17, 2014 (2014-09-17)
Operating systemiOS
TypeHealth informatics, physical fitness 


The Health app tracks and stores various health data and metrics, as well as clinical medical records for users with supported health insurers or hospitals signed up to the "Apple Health Records" program.[1] Data is divided into several categories: activity, body measurements, cycle tracking, hearing, heart, medications, mindfulness, mobility, nutrition, respiratory, sleep, symptoms, vitals, and other data. Users with a connected Apple Watch will have their health information from the device automatically imported into the health app including their activity rings, walking and running distances, flights climbed, mindfulness minutes, sleep analysis, handwashing, environmental noise levels, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and ECG measurements.[1][2] Health data can also be logged manually or through third-party applications.

Since iOS 13, Health has been capable of period and fertility tracking, allowing users to log their menstruation cycles and receive predictions as to when their next period may begin.[3] With iOS 16, Apple introduced medication logging, which allows users to track the medicines they are taking and set reminders for when to take them, as well as alerting users of potential drug interactions.[4] Both features are also available as standalone applications on watchOS devices.

"Medical ID" profiles are also kept within the Health app, which allows for key medical information to be easily accessed by first responders without the need to unlock someone's device. Users can choose to what to display in their Medical ID, such as allergies, medications, blood type, organ donor status, and emergency contact details.[1] As of July 2016, users on iOS 10 or later in the United States have been able to sign up to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor through the Health app.[5]

Initially, the Health app was criticized for its lack of compatible third-party applications (at its release on September 17, 2014, along with iOS 8), glucose tracking, proper health data explanations, and sluggish app performance.[6][7] Eventually, Apple fixed these issues with software updates.[8] In 2019, the Health app received a redesign as part of iOS 13, which simplified navigation of the app by replacing the dashboard with a summary tab and placing everything else under a "browse" tab, similar to the previous "health data" tab.

Electronic Health Records

In 2018, Apple's "Health Records" was introduced, which allowed on iOS 11.3 or later for users to import their medical records from their doctor or hospital.[9]

On June 6, 2019, Northern Louisiana Medical Center announced an early partnership with Apple to allow clinical medical records shared through the app.[10][11] Shortly after Apple began allowing compatible electronic health records (EHR) to self-register for the "Health Records" project.[10] Other partnerships in 2019 included University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, Medical Center of South Arkansas; Northwest Health of Springdale, Arkansas; Blessing Health System of Quincy, Illinois; Doylestown Health of Pennsylvania; Franciscan Health; Bayhealth Medical Center of Dover, Delaware, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.[10]

HealthKit API

HealthKit is the accompanying developer application programming interface (API) included in the iOS SDK (Software Development Kit) for the Mac. It is used by software developers to design applications that have extensibility and that can interact with the health and fitness applications on iOS.[12]

After the release of iOS 8 on September 17, 2014, Apple removed all HealthKit-compatible apps from its App Store to fix a bug that caused cellular and Touch ID issues, and then re-released Healthkit, with the release of iOS 8.0.2, on September 26, 2014.[13]

As of February 2017, several manufacturers other than Apple sold hardware that was HealthKit enabled.[14]

ResearchKit & CareKit APIs

ResearchKit and CareKit are two other health-related software frameworks which Apple have introduced to further build upon the capabilities of HealthKit, allowing software developers to create applications for gathering medical research and following care plans, respectively.[15][16] Both APIs can interact with the health application and facilitate the sharing of health information between patients and doctors.

Apple has also introduced a standalone research application for iOS and watchOS devices, which allows users to volunteer and participate in long-term research studies run by Apple and various health partners.[17]


In July 2018, Apple hired cardiologist Alexis Beatty, while working on the Apple Watch and Health integration.[18] In June 2019, the former chief information officer of pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, David Smoley was hired as a Vice President of Apple.[19]

In October 2019, former Columbia University Medical Center cardiologist David Tsay joined Apple Health.[20]

See also

  • Apple Fitness
  • Google Fit
  • Google Health
  • Microsoft HealthVault
  • MSN Health & Fitness
  • MyFitnessPal


  1. "Apple Health guide: The powerful fitness app explained". Wareable. July 11, 2020. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  2. Fitzpatrick, Alex (2018). "An Inside Look at Apple's Biggest Step Yet in Health Care". Time. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  3. "Apple's Cycle Tracking: A Personal Review". Retrieved October 5, 2022.
  4. Wetsman, Nicole (June 8, 2022). "Apple's medication feature is a step in the right direction". The Verge. Retrieved October 5, 2022.
  5. Kate Anne (July 6, 2016). "Apple Health app update: register to be an organ donor". Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  6. Hall, Zac (September 17, 2014). "Apple seemingly removing HealthKit compatible iOS 8 apps from App Store due to issues". 9to5Mac.
  7. Hall, Zac (December 18, 2014). "iOS 8.2 brings back blood glucose tracking, explains Health data". 9to5Mac.
  8. Viticci, Federico (March 16, 2015). "iOS 8.2 and Health Follow-Up". MacStories.
  9. Capritto, Amanda (2019). "The complete guide to Apple's Health app". CNET. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  10. Adams, Katie (June 17, 2020). "Apple moves further into healthcare: A timeline of the past year". Becker's Healthcare Review. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  11. Drees, Jackie (June 6, 2019). "Louisiana hospital partners with Apple for health records access". Beckers Hospital Review. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  12. Williams, Rhiannon (February 6, 2015). "What is Apple's HealthKit?".
  13. Mike Beasley (September 26, 2014). "Apple releases iOS 8.0.2 to address cellular and Touch ID issues in previous update". 9to5Mac. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  14. "List of Healthkit Compatible Devices". Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  15. "Apple Introduces ResearchKit, Giving Medical Researchers the Tools to Revolutionize Medical Studies". Apple Newsroom. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  16. "Introduction - CareKit - Human Interface Guidelines - Apple Developer". Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  17. "Apple Research app arrives on iPhone and Apple Watch with three opt-in health studies". TechCrunch. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  18. Farr, Christina (October 17, 2018). "Why big tech companies keep hiring heart doctors". CNBC. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  19. Gurman, Mark (September 27, 2019). "Technology: Apple Hires AstraZeneca Chief Information Officer David Smoley". Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  20. Farr, Christina (October 30, 2019). "Apple hires another prominent cardiologist as it makes heart health a big area of focus". CNBC. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
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