How Apple devices are boosting users’ health, maintaining privacy

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From tracking sleep, offering everyday health and fitness, and emergency assistance to connecting with the medical community and maintaining privacy, Apple devices have been empowering user’s health, the company said in a new report on Wednesday.

The report said that users, developers, medical institutions, and health organisations around the world are using Apple devices, features, and APIs to break down barriers between people and their health information, all while keeping privacy in mind.

“We believe passionately that technology can play a role in improving health outcomes and encouraging people to live a healthier day, and we are excited about the many ways users are benefiting from our health and fitness features, and by the ways third-party developers, institutions, and organisations are using Apple technology to advance health and science,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, in a statement.

Since the release of the Health app in 2014 and Apple Watch in 2015, Apple has introduced a wide array of innovative health and fitness features. The impending iOS 16 and watchOS 9, to be released in September, will offer features that focus on 17 areas of health and fitness, from heart health and sleep to mobility and women’s health, and more, the report said.

Users can now also store over 150 different types of health data from Apple Watch, iPhone, and connected third-party apps and devices in one central view in the Health app. In addition, health records are now available to patients at over 800 institutions across over 12,000 locations.

Health organisations and companies around the world have also collaborated with Apple to integrate Apple Watch into their wellness programmes. There are currently 55 programmes – that aim for more regular sleep patterns, focusing on mindfulness, and swapping in healthier food options – running in 17 countries with over a million users taking part via Apple Watch.

All these features are grounded in science and user-friendly; while maintaining data privacy critical for sensitive health data, the report said.

Apple’s health and fitness features put users’ privacy at the centre, and provide users with protections, including transparency and control.

“Health app data is never shared with any third party without the user’s explicit permission, and if users decide to share their health data, the Health app provides users with granular control over the types of data they share and who they share it with. They can review and manage permissions at any time,” the report said.

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