How to Use Your iPhone to Keep Track of Your Health

By Joe Hutsko, Barbara Boyd

The real strength of the iPhone Health app comes with entering data points about your health and fitness. Health lets you track as much or as little information and builds a graph that helps you see how many steps you walked, if your resting heart rate is improving with increased exercise, and whether you’re getting enough sleep.

Tap the Health Data button in the Browse bar, and a list of eight categories opens. At the very top of the list, you see an All button, which opens an alphabetical list showing all the items from each of the following lists:

  • Body Measurements: Record your height and weight along with your body mass, body fat, and lean body mass information.

  • Fitness: Add your own data as well as data collected from other apps and devices such as active and resting calories consumed. Here you find a link to the NikeFuel app, which works in conjunction with the NikeFuel fitness bracelet. You also find Steps, which your iPhone 5s or later tracks automatically when your iPhone is on your person.

  • Me: Add your birthdate, biological sex, and blood type.

  • Nutrition: Track your fat and sodium intake along with a couple dozen other nutrition points. You can enter the values yourself for now, although Health will probably gather data from apps that track what you’re eating. Caffeine works with Jawbone’s Up Coffee app.

  • Results: Tracks measurements such as blood glucose, blood alcohol content, and inhaler use.

  • Sleep: Tap into Health just before your head hits the pillow and again when you open your eyes to learn just how much shut eye you get each night or on a weekly or monthly basis.

  • Vital Signs: Record your heart and respiratory rate, temperature, and other vital signs.

Recording your data manually

To record data for any of these items, do the following:

  1. Tap Health Data, and then tap the category you want to use (for example, Fitness).

  2. Tap the item for which you want to enter a data point (for example, Steps).

    The Steps data screen opens. The data screens for any of the analysis or statistics are the same.

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  3. Tap one of the tabs at the top to view the data on a graph for the current day or for the past week, month, or year.

  4. Tap Show All Data to see a list of data points gathered.

  5. Tap Add Data Point to open the Add Data screen.

    Here, too, the Add Data screen has the same setup for each type of data. The current date and time are pre-imposed, but you can tap either to change them. Tap the data field to enter relative information, which could be your blood pressure or the grams of sodium you ate at lunch. The unit of measure appears on the left end of the field.

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  6. Tap Share Data to specify apps you want to share data with and sources you want to record data from.

    You can see that the data about the number of steps taken is recorded by the iPhone.

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  7. Tap the Show on Dashboard switch on to see the graph of this item on the Dashboard.

Getting data from apps

As you download apps that track your health and are programmed to work with the Health app, you find them by tapping Sources in the Browse bar. Here you find a list of apps that want to push data to Health.

Tap the app in the list and grant or deny it permission to post. If you tap the switch next to the app on, data from that app will automatically show up in the appropriate item in Health.