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Will this be the Apple of our eye…and head?
- In June 2023, Apple announced new health features in iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and watchOS 10.
- Users will now be able to track their mental health and vision health.
- The updates are slated to release in fall 2023.
If you’re an Apple user, a new iOS update is really nothing new. However, this latest one is supposed to come with some actual feel-good bonuses.
In June 2023, Apple announced that it will add mental health and vision health tracking capabilities to the iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad.
While this isn’t the first time Apple has included health tracking features in an update, the announcement highlights the brand’s recognition of mental health as an important factor in overall health – as well as its commitment to expanding the health and wellness features of its products.
Here’s a rundown of the new additions.
Mental health tracking will be available in the health app on the iPhone and iPad as well as the mindfulness app on the iWatch.
Users will be able to express how they are feeling with a sliding bar ranging from “very unpleasant” to “very pleasant.” They can then add emotions like “grateful” or “worried”, as well as associations that are affecting their feelings, such as “family” or “travel.”
Logged insights will be formatted in a long-term overview, which will also track patterns between your feelings and associations over time.
The new features will be displayed alongside existing metrics, like sleep and exercise, in order to provide a more holistic view of your health.
Assessments for anxiety and depression will also be made available in the health app on the iPhone and iPad. These assessments will determine risk level and help users find nearby resources. Additionally, you will be able to create a PDF of your results to share with your doctor.
The new journal app will also allow for some reflection time and record of emotions. The app will suggest prompts to write about, pulling from recent activity such as photos, recent workouts, and more.
If you’re in the market for an Apple product to help you track your health data, we recommend the following:
The new vision health features will aim to reduce the risk of Myopia—or nearsightedness—as well as encourage people to get in the habit of distancing their eyes from screens.
In the watchOS 10 update, the Apple Watch will be able to track the amount of time a user spends in daylight through its ambient light sensor. This data can be viewed in the health app.
Children without their own iPhone can pair their watch via Family Setup to their parents’ iPhones, so parents will be able to view how much time their child has spent in sunlight.
The iPhone and iPad will introduce the screen distance feature in the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 updates. The feature will use the TrueDepth camera, which enables the use of Face ID, to prompt users to move their device further away if it is within 12 inches of their face for extended periods of time.
iPadOS 17 will add the health app to the iPad, allowing users to view health information from the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch all in one place. Users will also be able to log their mental health and emotions and share their health data from the iPad.
Users will also have the ability to opt in to follow-up reminders to take medications. These notifications can be classified as critical alerts, which will come through even if the device is muted or has a focus enabled.
Apple Fitness+ will introduce custom plans, allowing users to receive custom workout and meditation schedules based on factors like the day, workout type, and more. The stacks feature will make it possible to select multiple workouts and meditations consecutively. And the audio focus feature will give the option to prioritize either the music or the trainer’s voice.
So – while much is left to be seen once the update actually drops – it seems that the new features will, at the very least, give users a more holistic view of their health.
Through mental health logging, vision health additions, health app compatibility on the iPad, and more, new insights should be able to be gained to make more informed decisions regarding health.