Now that iOS 8 has finally arrived developers are releasing games and apps that support some of the coolest new features of Apple’s latest OS–features like HealthKit, HomeKit, Metal, and Extensibility. In this first part of a series exploring the best apps and games that take advantage of the new features in iOS 8, we look at the best apps that work with the new HealthKit framework.
What is HealthKit?
To find out all about HealthKit, you can read our feature here. But at it’s most basic HealthKit is a developer framework, or a set of developer tools and services. HealthKit allows manufacturers of smart fitness and health devices, and health and fitness apps, to access and share health data about you with each other and with Apple’s new Health app. That new Health app acts as a centralized hub that collects all your various health data from HealthKit-enabled apps and displays that data to you on an easy-to-read dashboard.
What are the best HealthKit apps?
Glad you asked! This list is by no means comprehensive, but it does feature the best HealthKit-compatible apps we’ve found. However, keep in mind the coming weeks and months will see an increasing number of HealthKit apps–and we’ll keep updating this post as we find other winners.
UP by Jawbone (free)
This app previously required a Jawbone Up fitness tracker, but the new version of the app only requires an iPhone 5s or above. With it you can track your activity, diet, and sleep. Of course, only the activity is automatic–thanks to the motion processor in the iPhone. You’ll need to manually enter your diet and sleep data. But still, the app has a killer design that is sure to appeal to health aficionados.
This is an app that appeals to a light health tracker user like me. Simply install it on your iPhone and it will automatically track your walking, running, and bicycling. There’s no manual entry on your part. The app also alerts you when you’ve moved for the recommended 30 minutes a day.
Not only are apps able to share their data with the new Health app via HealthKit, the service works the other way. The Health app can push health data to other apps. That’s where FitPort comes in. It acts as a replacement to the Health dashboard app. If you don’t like the look of Apple’s app, FitPort displays most of the same information in a more visually appealing (and minimalistic) fashion.
Runtastic PRO (£2.99)
This is probably the most popular running app on iOS, which is why hardcore runners will be happy it now supports HealthKit. The app allows you to track your runs and gives you myriad amounts of data about each one, including time, distance, elevation, calories burned, and more. Best of all it plots your runs on a map and colors the plot line to represent the hardest parts of your run. It’s a beautiful running app and one which is that much more useful now that it sends all its data automatically to Apple’s Health app.
Lest you begin to think that all Health apps have to do with stressful physical exertion, let me introduce you to Centered. Yes, the app tracks your movement thanks to its integration with the iPhone’s motion processor, but the main function of the app is to help you track your mindful meditation sessions. Use it to time how long you’ve meditated for. It will even ping you with a reminder if you’re overdue for a stress reducing session.
Yummly has long enabled you to browse millions of recipes and create shopping lists based on their ingredients, but now you can use the app to log what you’ve eaten and Yummly will feed that nutrient data to Apple’s Health app so you can see the exact amount of Vitamin A–or any other nutrient–you’ve consumed.
Noom Coach: Weight Loss (free)
Noom Coach is a great app for those that want more than just tracking and logging functions out of their health apps. Noom gives you a personalized daily fitness and diet plan each morning, telling you how many steps you should walk, suggesting the calories you should eat, and giving you tips on how to reach your health goal. And thanks to its HealthKit integration, any information the app records is sent to Apple’s Health app for easy viewing.
Fjuul is another simply activity tracker that’s made it on this list for its beautiful, minimalistic design. It’s a fitness tracker, but goes beyond just counting your steps by tracking and analyzing the intensity of your movement, so it can tell if you are walking, running, or jogging. This way it helps give you a better measurement of calories burned. The app also has a great built-in dashboard that lets you see your friends’ movements, which helps motivate you to get moving.