Apple has previewed advanced consumer health and wellness insights for users, as well as new tools for supporting loved ones.
Building on the health features of iPhone and Apple Watch, iOS 15 gives users the ability to securely share their data with important people in their life, like a family member or physician, and receive insights into the health trends of their loved ones. Additionally, new tools in iOS 15 can be used to identify, measure, and understand changes in a person’s health data.
With iOS 15, users can choose to securely give a loved one visibility into their health and wellness data. In the Health app, a new Sharing tab lets users privately share their data with a trusted partner or caregiver.
Users have full control over which data they share and with whom, whether they’re an aging parent who shares their activity or heart health data with a family member, a partner who chooses to share their fertility window insights, or a person with Parkinson’s disease who wants to share their mobility data with a physical therapist.
For the person receiving this information, shared data is presented with important insights and trends highlighted. Apple says that, with user permission, the Health app can keep track of valuable information, helping bridge the gap of what a person experiences between clinic appointments.
Now, users in the US can choose to share certain types of health data — like heart rate, detected falls, hours of sleep, or exercise minutes — with their doctor, for more informed conversations. At participating healthcare organizations, a physician can review the Apple Health app data that a user chooses to share directly in the electronic health records system.
The Health app adds trend analysis for 20 types of data — ranging from resting heart rate to sleep to cardio fitness — so users can see how a given metric is progressing. A critical part of maintainingpersonalwellness is tracking changes in health, which can be subtle and easy to miss.
According to Apple, Trends is a new way to intelligently and proactively highlight important changes, and surfaces the information in a way that’s easy to understand.
Users can also keep tabs on goals, like increasing running distance or mindful minutes.
For those looking to monitor insights across areas like insulin delivery, trend analysis applies to data from third-party devices connected to the Health app.
With optional notifications, Trends can highlight long-term changes in health, so a user can celebrate progress toward a goal, or discuss with a doctor or care team.
More than 37 million people each year require medical attention as a result of a fall, which can often be a tipping point for more serious conditions and a loss of independence. Apple says that Walking Steadiness on iPhone is an industry first, providing insight into fall risk by capturing important mobility data as users walk with their iPhone.
Currently, fall risk is assessed by a care provider through a questionnaire and an in-person evaluation. Walking Steadiness offers the added ability to capture everyday movements and surface classifications within the Health app as OK, Low, or Very Low, allowing users to proactively take action to help reduce their risk of falling.
Walking Steadiness uses custom algorithms to assess balance, stability, and coordination through built-in motion sensors on iPhone. This first-of-its-kind metric was established using real-world data from the Apple Heart and Movement Study, with more than 100,000 participants across all ages — the largest data set ever used to study fall risk.
In addition to alerting users of possible fall risk, Walking Steadiness helps users meet their stability goals. Users can choose to receive a notification when their score is Low or Very Low, and be directed to curated visual exercises that are based on clinically validated methods to increase strength and balance.
Additional Health and Wellness Updates
Apple says that additional health and wellness updates will include:
- An enhanced labs experience comes to Health Records on iPhone, making it easier for users to review their results. Users can view highlights, pin results that may matter most to them, see whether labs are within range, and, for those in the US, access educational content about common lab tests.
- With watchOS 8, Apple Watch measures respiratory rate — the number of breaths per minute — during sleep. Users can review this information in the Health app and be notified if a meaningful trend has been identified.
- The new Mindfulness app in watchOS 8 includes a refresh of the deep breathing experience, as well as another simple way to stay centered and calm. Breathe sessions give users more opportunities to slow down and focus, and feature a new animation. Users also have access to new Reflect sessions, a way to be more mindful that helps them focus on positive thoughts.
- In iOS 15, users worldwide have an additional option for storing medical records of immunizations and test results directly in the Health app. Now, even if a vaccine provider or medical location doesn’t currently support the Health Records feature, it can allow patients to download verifiable COVID-19 vaccination or test result records from an online browser or QR code, so they can easily access them at any time.
The developer preview of iOS 15 is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com starting today, and a public beta will be available to iOS users next month at beta.apple.com. New software features will be available this fall as a free software update for iPhone 6s and later.
Walking Steadiness will be available this fall as a free software update for iPhone 8 and later. Features are subject to change. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages, or on all devices. For more information, visit apple.com/ios/health.
The new Mindfulness app and respiratory rate during sleep measurement will be available on watchOS 8 this fall as a free software update for Apple Watch Series 3 or later paired with iPhone 6s or later, running iOS 15.