How to Use the Apple Health App

Set up and customize your iPhone Health app

What to Know

  • Set up the Health app: Go to Health Profile > Edit, and then enter your data.
  • Find apps to use with the Health app: Go to Profile > Privacy > Apps and select an app to view the data it can share.

This article explains how to set up and use the Apple Health app to track your exercise, weight, manage chronic conditions, improve sleep, or do other health-related activities on an iPhone with iOS 8 or higher.

How to Set Up the Apple Health App

To start using the Apple Health app, add a bit of data about yourself to the app. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Health app and tap the profile icon in the upper-right corner.

  2. Tap Health Details.

  3. Tap Edit to fill out the data on this screen.

    The profile, Health Profile, and Edit selections
  4. When you finish, tap Done.

How to Share Data with the Health App

With that done, you should also see if you have any apps that can share data with the Health app. To do that, follow these steps:

Most Health app sections include suggestions for apps that can track the data covered in that section. You may find helpful recommendations on the bottom of the Summary screen or by exploring all the options from Browse > Health Categories.

  1. Select the profile icon in the upper-right corner.

  2. Scroll down to the Privacy section and select Apps to view the apps on your phone that are Health-compatible. Tap one to see its options.

  3. The next screen shows what data the app can send to Health and, for apps that support it, what data the app can read from Health. Move the sliders to on/green for the options you want to enable.

    The Sources section of the Health app

If you don't see a sharing source, open the settings on the respective app or device and enable permissions to provide data to the Health app.

Use the Apple Health Summary View

When you open the Health app, it defaults to the Summary tab, broken into two main sections: Favorites and Highlights.

The Favorites section displays data you marked with a star for quick access. The Highlights section summarizes recent activity data for the current day (and all previous days, weeks, months, and years you have data for).

The exact data shown here depends on the data you get from various apps and health devices. The common sorts of data listed here include:

  • Steps walked for the day.
  • Activity rings from the Apple Watch Activity app.
  • Flights of stairs climbed.
  • Exercise minutes.
  • Mindful minutes spent meditating.
  • Heart rate data.

Virtually every part of the Health app, and every kind of data tracked in it, has the same set of options for viewing and charting historical data. So, the features described in this section apply to the entire app in all tabs.

You can view more detail on any of the data displayed on the Summary view by tapping it. The data for the item you tapped shows as a graph and numbers when you do this. You can view all your data for this item that's stored in the app by day, week, month, or year by tapping the DWM, or Y buttons across the top of the screen.

This screen also offers other options:

  • Add to Favorites: Tap the Star icon to mark this data as a favorite and have it appear at the top of the Summary tab.
  • Show All Data: Tap this to view all data in this category stored in the app, and drill down into the specifics of how and when it was recorded.
  • Data Sources & Access: Tap this to see all the apps and devices recording the data used to get this total.
  • Units: If a piece of data can be shown in multiple units (for instance, Walking Distance can be shown as either miles or kilometers), tap this and make your choice.
The Today screen in the Health app

Need to add data that wasn't tracked yet (like a workout you forgot to log, for example)? From the data type screen, tap Add Data in the upper-right corner and add the date, time, and data, and then tap Add.

Use the Apple Health Browse View

While the Summary tab tracks your activity, the Browse tab includes a search tab and health information by Health Categories such as Activity, Mindfulness, Nutrition, and Sleep.

Want to track your sleep data without buying any hardware accessories? The Bedtime feature of the Clock app that comes with the iPhone can help. Check out this article from Apple on how to set up and use Bedtime.

Other sections of Health Categories track:

  • Body Measurements: This includes height, weight, and Body Mass Index.
  • Cycle Tracking: This tool tracks menstrual cycle and related data. As of iOS 13, the Health app has built-in support for this, so you don't need extra apps.
  • Vitals: Vitals tracked include blood pressure, body temperature, blood glucose, and heart rate.
  • Other Data: This catch-all category includes blood glucose and items such as insulin delivery, and blood alcohol content, among others.

The Health app calculates your Body Mass Index (BMI) for you. Go to the Body Measurements section and add your height and weight. Then go to Body Mass Index and tap Add Data. Your calculated BMI is preset. To record it, tap Add.

The Health Records and Heart sections on the Browse tab offer the following features:

  • Health Records: If your doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider uses an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system compatible with the Apple Healthkit framework, and if you have iOS 11.3 or higher, connect to it here and download your medical records. Follow the onscreen instructions and log in to your account to access your records, where available. Check the Apple website to see if your healthcare provider supports it.
  • Heart: Get data about your heart rate, electrocardiogram (ECG), blood pressure, and other key data from a heart rate monitor, Apple Watch Series 4, or another device. For more about getting an ECG with your Apple Watch, read How to Use an Apple Watch ECG.
The Health Data tab in the Health app

Manage Apple Health App Data Sources

You can view all the apps and devices that send data to the Health app from your profile. In addition to the apps and devices you currently use, this may include all previous iPhones, Apple Watches, and other devices that ever recorded data for the app.

You can't add or remove sources from this section of the app. Instead, you can make an app inactive or delete data from a device by following these steps:

  1. Tap the profile icon and select the app from Privacy > Apps and move the toggle to the Off position on all categories to prevent access.

  2. To remove data from a device, select it from Privacy > Devices and tap Delete All Data from device name. In the pop-up, tap Delete.

  3. To remove the hardware device, tap the device, then tap Delete All Data. In the pop-up, tap Delete.

The iPhone gives you specific and powerful controls over your health data's privacy through the Privacy options built into the Settings app. To learn how to use those features to protect your data, read How to Protect Private Info Stored on Your iPhone.

Use the Apple Health App Medical ID

The last element of the Apple Health app is the Medical ID. This is the digital equivalent of emergency medical data that first responders and others can use in situations when you cannot provide this key information.

The Medical ID can be accessed from the iPhone Emergency Calling screen, so if you've been in an accident, it's still accessible. It provides basic data like your name, date of birth, emergency contacts, medical conditions, allergies, and more.

How to Back Up Health App Data

It's important to back up your Health data. After all, if you've been tracking your exercise, weight, blood sugar, or other health data for years, you don't want to lose that data when you upgrade to a new iPhone or restore your iPhone from backup.

You can automatically back up your Health data to iCloud. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Settings app to open it.

  2. Tap your name at the top of the screen.

  3. Tap iCloud.

  4. Move the Health slider to on/green.

    iCloud settings for the Health app

Apple encrypts your Health data during backup and transit to iCloud. If backing up sensitive data in the cloud makes you uncomfortable, back up your data to a computer. Learn more by reading How to Backup Your iPhone.

Was this page helpful?