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By Paul Veugen on Oct 1

Setting up iOS Health

Get the most out of iOS Health with Human

In Human 3 we introduced support for the Health app, introduced with iOS 8. The iOS Health app can connect all your health & fitness apps, and serve as a hub for your health data. You can give Human permission to write your activity data to Health as Active Calories, Walking + Running Distance, Cycling Distance, and Workouts.

Sync Human with iOS Health

Give Human permission

After you've installed or upgraded Human to the latest version we ask you permission to write and read from iOS Health. Unfortunately there's a little bug in Human 3.0.2 (in the App Store at the time of writing) that requires you to give permission for all "write" data types to enable our sync. In our next build we'll fix this, so you can make a selection of data you'd like to write.

If you want to change your permissions after the initial request in the Human app, you can always go into the Health app, tap sources and select Human to change your read or write permissions.

You can give Human permission to read your weight and date of birth from the Health app. We use your most recent weight to calculate the Calories that you burn through your daily activity. Your date of birth helps us to get a better understanding of who's using our app.

Permission screen for iOS Health iOS Health Dashboard

Sync your data

Human can track your activity when the app is running in the background. To save as much battery life as possible, we only sync your activity data to the Health app when you open Human to the foreground. The first time you open Human, we do a full sync for all your activity of the past 7 days. After that, we sync each time you have new activities, delete an activity, or change an activity.

It's possible that sync to iOS Health can fail and you end up with some missing data or duplicate entries. To make sure the data always ends up in your Health app, so we built a fail safe just in case of a sync failure. When you close Human (double tap the Home button, swipe Human up) and open the app again, we always do a full sync for the past 7 days. That should clean up any duplicates and adds any missing data to your Health app.

Data in Health

When you open the Health app for the first time, there isn't that much to see: your Dashboard will be empty. If you tap "Health Data" in the bottom tab bar, you'll see a big list of all kinds of different data types that can be stored and shared with Health. Human syncs four different Fitness data types:

  • Active Calories
  • Cycling Distance
  • Walking + Running Distance
  • Workouts

Data like Active Calories can be read by apps like MyFitnessPal, so you get your activities pushed straight to your food diary. Weight from MyFitnessPal or connected scales can be read by Human so we always have your most recent weight for Calorie estimation. Read here how to set up active calories in MyFitnessPal with Human.

All data types in iOS Health Calories in iOS Health

Show Activity on your Health Dashboard

When you open the Health app for the first time, the dashboard will be completely empty. Let's first add some categories to the dashboard. Tap Health Data in the bottom menu. Go to Fitness and open Active Calories, Cycling Distance, or Running + Walking Distance. Enable the Show on Dashboard option in the detail screen to show this metric on your Dashboard.

Walking + Running Distance

Human automatically detects any outdoor walks and runs (as long as the app is running). We calculate distance, speed and duration for these activities. The Health app can show you a nice overview of the total and combined distance of your walks and runs. To see the distance covered with the Human app in your Health app on an iPhone 4S, or 5(c & s) you just have to give Human permission to write the data and open our app to sync the data.

The iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 have an internal step counter (the M7 and M8 coprocessors) that tracks your steps throughout the day. Based on these steps iOS will try to estimate the distance you walk and run. If you use multiple sources in the Health app, data should get nicely combined. This works excellent, as long as you give your favorite tracking apps higher priority. The M7/M8 built-in step counter sometimes blocks other data sources like Human. If you give Human higher priority, Health automatically fills up any gaps we have in our data with the step count-based distance estimate.

To change the priority for your data sources, open one of the data types, tap Share Data and use the Edit button in menu bar at the top of the screen. You can now drag the sources in the right order.

iOS Health Share Data iOS Health Share Data - Edit

Using multiple data sources

Human automatically detects any outdoor bicycle rides as cycling and can write this data to the Health app. We use a combination of motion sensors and location services to detect activity types and collect stats for your rides.

Human is optimized to run 24/7 in the background of your phone. That means that our tracking for running and cycling is often less accurate and detailed than an app like Strava, for example. If you change the priority for your apps in Share Data and you track one activity with multiple apps, the Health app will automatically merge your data in a way without overlap.

I'm an avid cyclist myself and use a Garmin and Strava to track my bicycle rides. I gave Strava higher priority in the data sources, because my Strava data is based on my GPS cycling computer. My fast rides with very detailed stats are from Strava and all my daily commutes come from Human. Of course my fast rides are also tracked in the Human data, but Health app takes care of merging all the data in a smart way, based on the priority. If other apps request cycling data from the Health app, they will use the same prioritization.

To change the priority for your data sources, open one of the data types, tap Share Data and use the Edit button in menu bar at the top of the screen to edit the priority of data sources.

iOS Health Cycling iOS Health Cycling - Share Data

Steps

Human does not track any steps. Instead, we try focus on active minutes to try and stimulate you to reach 30, 60 or 90 minutes of activity every day. We believe that active minutes are a better way to think about exercise and activity. Step counts are very limited and exclude many forms of physical activity that help you to stay in shape. We use low power location services and the motion sensors of your phone to detect activity types for outdoor activity and measure the intensity of your indoor activity. Based on that we can track how many minutes you move and make accurate estimates of how many Calories you've burned throughout the day.

The iPhone 5s and 6 have a built-in step counter that will populate the step count section in the Health app if you're interested in counting steps.

Questions?

Don't hesitate to reach out to us if you got any questions or need help to set up Human with iOS Health.

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