April 15, 2024

Apple Health: top features for Watch and iPhone

Is improving your health on your list for 2024? Here are 9 great Apple Watch health features to check out or revisit on your Apple Watch. We’ll cover native features, third-party options, Apple Health-compatible accessories, how to see all your data on iPhone, and more.

The features and metrics below can have a positive impact on your overall health when you know about them and improve them. And some of them can even save lives, so don’t hesitate to activate them even if you think you don’t need them. Let’s delve into…

9 Apple Watch health features you should try

High and low heart rate notifications

Apple Health includes Apple Watch
  • If you want to be alerted when your heart rate drops or exceeds a certain threshold and stays there for 10 minutes while you are inactive, this feature is available for ages 13 and up.
  • If you didn’t turn it on the first time you opened the Heart Rate app or want to change it:
  1. Open the View the app on your iPhone
  2. Swipe down and choose heart (in the My Watch tab)
  3. Tap High heart rate > choose a threshold
  4. Tap Low heart rate > choose a threshold

Irregular heart rhythm notifications

Here’s what this feature does:

“If you receive a notification, your Apple Watch’s irregular rhythm notification feature has identified an irregular rhythm suggestive of AFib and confirmed it with multiple readings.
If a doctor has not diagnosed you with AFib, you should talk to your doctor.

To ensure this feature is configured:

  1. Open the Health app on your iPhone
  2. Choose Browse in the lower right corner
  3. Now it’s time Heart
  4. Scroll down and search Setting low Irregular rhythm notifications
  5. If you don’t see that in the Health app, open the Watch app on iPhone
  6. Swipe down and tap Heart (in the My Watch tab)
  7. Tap the button next to Irregular rhythm

ECG and AFib history

  • The ability to perform ECGs with Apple Watch arrived with Apple Watch Series 4 in 2018 starting in the US. In the years since then, this valuable and impressive feature has expanded to over 100 countries.
  • ECGs are for Apple Watch users at least 22 years old. If you haven’t used it before or didn’t set it up when you first bought your watch:
  1. Open the Health app on your iPhone
  2. Choose Browse in the lower right corner
  3. Now it’s time Heart > EKG > Setting
  4. You can also set the latest AFib History Feature – this periodically checks for signs of AFib in the background
  5. Return to Health app on your iPhone
  6. Browse > Heart > search Set near the bottom in AFib History

Apple highlights that after an ECG “regardless of the result, if you do not feel well or experience any symptoms, you should talk to your doctor.”

Cardiovascular exercise

This is how Apple describes Cardio Fitness (VO2 max):

“Cardio fitness is a measure of your VO2 max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can consume during exercise. “Your level of cardiovascular fitness is a strong indicator of your overall physical health and a predictor of your long-term health.”

See how to get started with this or view your data in our complete guide:

Cardiac recovery

Like HRV and VO2 max, cardiovascular recovery or heart rate recovery is a lesser-known health metric that your Apple Watch measures every time you track a workout. Cardio Recovery measures how much your heart rate drops immediately after exercise. As with heart rate variability, heart rate recovery (HRR) offers insight into the health of your heart based on how quickly it responds to the autonomic nervous system.

Learn how to set it up and more in our complete guide:

Heart rate variability (HRV)

Apple Watch automatically captures heart rate variability (HRV), but it can’t be seen in the wearable device’s native Heart Rate app. You will need to go to the iPhone Health application > Explore > Heart.

What is HRV? It is the measure of how the time interval between heartbeats changes, measured in milliseconds; In particular, this is a metric that changes a lot, so looking at general trends, not daily numbers, is the most useful.

Many in the medical field consider HRV to be a powerful indicator of not only the current overall health and resistance of the heart and body, but also a strong predictor of future mortality.

HRV is also often used as a signal to know when the body is ready to exercise or rest. This is all because HRV shows how sensitive the heart is to our autonomic nervous system.

Heart data history

On Apple Watch

  1. Go to Heart rate app on your Apple Watch to view daily data (app with heart icon)
  2. You’ll see your current heart rate, swipe or scroll down with Digital Crown
  3. You can now see your resting rate, your walking average, your training heart rate, and your heart rate recovery data (if you’ve recently done a workout).
How to View Apple Watch Heart Rate History

Heart rate history on iPhone

Checking your heart rate history captured by Apple Watch on iPhone gives you the most data; here is where to find them:

  1. Open the health app on your iPhone
  2. Tap on the Explore tab in the lower right corner, then Heart
  3. On the main page, you will see the different heart rate categories. Tap one to see your history
  4. At the top, you can change the data window between hour, day, week, month and year (H, D, W, M, Y)
  5. Towards the bottom, you’ll see heart rate highlights and more information about each type of heart rate data.

Further down in the main Heart section, you’ll see more data like Cardio Fitness, ECG results, blood pressure readings, and low, high, or irregular heart rate notifications.

Follow your mood

track mood on Apple Watch

watchOS 10 and iOS 17 provide the ability to track your mood daily and over time to help support mental health.

  1. On Apple Watch with watchOS 10, open the Mindfulness app
  2. choose the new State of mind option
  3. after touching Begin The first time you open it, record how you feel at that moment or record how you have “generally felt” during the day.
  4. You’ll see neutral first, swipe or use the Digital Crown to select from the seven options
    • Options include: very unpleasant, unpleasant, slightly unpleasant, neutral, slightly pleasant, pleasant, very pleasant.
  5. Tap the check mark in the top right corner to select a mood.
  6. You can now optionally add what emotion(s) you are feeling
  7. Finally, if you want, you can record “what has the biggest impact on you.”

Check out our full guide here:

Sleep tracking

Apple Watch includes native sleep tracking, but if you want more comprehensive data, there are several great third-party apps you can use. Check all the details in our complete guide:

Accessories and apps compatible with Apple Health

Compatible with Apple Health, the Withings Body Cardio Smart Scale is one of my favorite accessories. It even offers a Vascular Age feature that measures the “speed at which the blood pressure pulse spreads through the circulatory system.”

With those measurements, the smart scale can determine your arterial stiffness and how healthy you are compared to the average for people in your age group.

Body Cardio also tracks weight, BMI, body composition (water, fat, bones and muscle), heart rate tracking and more.

And if you want an easy way to measure and track your blood pressure with Apple Health, Withings BPM Connect is a great option.

Of course, there are many more accessories that record health data with the iPhone; Just look for “works with Apple Health” when you look around.

Some of my favorite apps that work with Apple Health include:

Fitness Statistics 2

View Apple Health data on iPhone

As a refresher, the two main native places to view your Apple Health data on iPhone are:

Apple Health features for iPhone

With the Fitness app, you have one hub for all your fitness and movement data. Scroll down when looking at the main Summary tab to see your various trends over time.

The Fitness app, naturally, includes Apple Fitness+ if you want to try the service for the first time or give it another try if it’s been a while.

Meanwhile, Apple’s Health app stores a broader range of data with categories including activity, body measurements, cycle tracking, hearing, heart, medications, mindfulness, mobility, nutrition, breathing, sleep, symptoms, vital signs, and other data.

All of this health data can be saved manually or automatically when using iPhone, Apple Watch, and other Apple Health-compatible accessories and apps.

Posture, computer height, more

For tips and tricks on how to properly sit at your desk, do’s and don’ts for cleaning your iPhone, and more, check out these guides:

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