iOS 16: These are the new ways Apple is trying to keep you healthy

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Apple devices track heart rate, steps, and workout intensity. In some cases, users said they saved their lives. Now Apple wants to make sure you don’t miss your medications.

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Last Monday during the Worldwide Developers Conference Apple details several software updates This fall, you’ll change the way you use your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and MacBook.

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While many of these features will help Apple device owners stay organized and connected, the tech giant is also looking for new ways to make users think about their health.

“We were working on the (Apple) Watch and we realized that the watch is always with you, and we thought there was a real opportunity and maybe even a moral responsibility to help people on their path to health,” said Apple COO Jeff Williams. during an interview with USA TODAY. “We continue to develop these topics and do more and more in the field of empowering people through information and helping them live healthier lives.”

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Software updates for Apple devices will be available in public beta next month, and will roll out globally in the fall. WatchOS 9 will run on all Apple Watches starting with Series 4, while iOS 16 is coming to all iPhones starting with iPhone 8.

Here are some of the new health features coming this fall.

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Medicine Application

Available in both watchOS 9 for Apple Watch and iOS 16 for iPhone, the Medications app allows users to keep track of their medications.

Users can take photos of their medications with the iPhone’s camera, which captures the name, potency, and shape and automatically adds them to the app. From there, users add details such as dosage, time, and pill shape.

iPhone and watch owners can also set schedules and reminders to remember to take their medications, as well as look into any potentially harmful interactions.

“It’s often hard to remember when to take your medication,” said Sumbul Desai, Apple’s vice president of health care. “Sometimes it’s even very difficult to understand what to take medications for and, in particular, what they can interact with, what you may already be taking.”

History of atrial fibrillation

Among the heart alerts users receive on their Apple Watch are warnings about irregular heartbeats, which could indicate atrial fibrillationirregular heartbeat, which can potentially lead to conditions such as stroke or heart failure.

Users will soon be able to track their “atrial fibrillation history” to determine how often it occurs or to identify lifestyle factors that may be affecting their rate of atrial fibrillation.

Sleep stage tracking

The Sleep app, which currently just keeps track of how many hours you’ve slept, will soon provide more details on how much time you’ve spent in different stages of sleep. On both iPhone and Apple Watch, you can track time spent in REM, core, and deep sleep. In the iPhone app, users can also check their sleep patterns over time.

Of course, other apps and fitness trackers have been doing this for a while now. Williams said Apple has done one of the largest sleep studies and data backed by polysomnography, a test used to study sleep to make sure sleep stages are accurate.

“We’re not the first to offer sleep stages, but we’re really proud of the way we do sleep stages,” Williams said.

New ways to track workouts

Fitness enthusiasts who love to run will find new ways to track their workouts. Users will not only have access to more detailed workout reports, but will also be able to discover new ways to measure how they run, including the length of their strides and the power they use when running. Users can also view heart rate zones to quickly see how hard they’re exercising.

Jay Blahnik, Apple’s vice president of fitness, said the Apple Watch can help pinpoint the right heart rate zones based on age and the device’s calculated resting heart rate.

“A lot of people set up their zones, do the calculations by hand, and then sort of leave those zones the way they were from the beginning,” he said. “By doing this with the Apple Watch, it will be constantly updated every month.”

Also available: multi-sport training for triathletes, upgrades for swimming training and individual training.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

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