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Here are all the Health updates coming to your Apple device soon thanks to iOS 15

By Liu Hongzuo - on 10 Jun 2021, 10:37am

Here are all the Health updates coming to your Apple device soon thanks to iOS 15

New health features via Apple's iOS 15 and other Apple platforms were announced at WWDC 2021.

WWDC 2021 by Apple saw a ton of software updates for its interoperability and privacy, on top of software upgrades for its phones, tablets, and desktop/laptop OSes. Health-minded folks aren't neglected either, since Apple introduced several new Health features via the upcoming iOS 15 to help users better manage and get more out of their health data.


Here's a lowdown on the new insights iOS 15 can grant through your iPhone or Apple Watch:


Health Sharing

The Health app gets a new Sharing tab that allows private sharing of the user's health data to a trusted other. The user sharing health data has full control over what type of data they choose to share and with whom, making it ideal for sharing health insights with caregivers and loved ones. Examples given by Apple include:

  • Sharing fertility windows with a partner
  • Sharing mobility data with a therapist
  • Sharing heart health data of an aged family member

The person receiving other's health data also receives insights and trends (more on trends below) on top of raw numbers and information.

If you're based in the U.S., the Health Sharing feature can be shared with a healthcare professional via participating healthcare organisations. Physicians can choose to review Apple Health app data if they choose to share it with an electronic health record system.



The Trends for walking is shown at the bottom half of this example by Apple.

Health-tracking apps generally track short- to medium-term data with specific, achievable goals in mind. New to Apple's Health app is Trends, which analyses 20 types of data over time to see specific progress in specific health areas. The example Apple gave was for walking, where it takes a longer-term view of your walking habits based on your walking data. Trends aim to give further insight into any important changes that might be easy to miss, or subtle.

Trends can track insights and data from third-party devices connected to the Health app as well.


Walking Steadiness

Fall Risk, or the risk of falling, is measured by a professional care provider, so there isn't much we can do to reduce the risk of falling on our own (besides applying common sense when moving about). But, it would hurt less if vulnerable or at-risk folks know they are prone to falling, even outside of professional healthcare settings.

Walking Steadiness is a new feature that captures a person's balance, stability, and coordination using built-in iPhone sensors. The resulting information is a pop-up in the Health app telling the users if their Walking Steadiness is OK, Low, or Very Low. Here's a quick look at how Apple gathers the data to enable this feature (note that the video is set to start at the exact moment this is conveyed):-

The data used to assess Walking Steadiness comes from Apple's Heart and Movement Study, which included 100,000 participants across all ages. However, note that the Walking Steadiness feature is a preventive estimate and not a replacement to understanding an individual's fall risk.

On top of an alert, Walking Steadiness also provides 'curated visual exercises' that are 'based on clinically validated methods' to increase the person's strength and balance, according to Apple.


Other Health features announced

Other Health features announced at WWDC 2021 also include more granular privacy control over health data, and new WatchOS 8 features like respiratory rate and a Mindfulness app if you own an Apple Watch. Separately, iOS 15 also comes with a Health app tracker that lets users store medical records of immunisation and test results. That last feature addresses Covid-19 vaccination and testing around the world, where some parts of the planet may not have easily accessible records or results for verification.

Of course, health features for your Apple devices weren't the only announcements that happened at WWDC 2021. Don't forget to check our WWDC 2021 coverage here for a comprehensive window into Apple's updates.

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