During Apple’s WWDC 2023 keynote, the company announced upgrades to physical and mental health features alongside a long list of software updates and hardware unveilings. Apple is committed to empowering people to take charge of their own health journey and expanding the comprehensive range of health and wellness tools that they offer their users across iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
Dr. Sumbul Desai, Apple’s vice president of Health, said in the WWDC announcement: “Mental health and vision health are important, but often overlooked, and we’re excited to introduce features that offer valuable new insights to provide users with an even better understanding of their health. These insights help support users in their daily decisions and offer more informed conversations with their doctors.”
Apple Journal app
Apple is introducing its first localized journaling app called the Journal app. It enables users to chronicle their day-to-day life in a non-Notes app spot. The Journal app offers daily journaling reminders, writing prompts, and reflection cues based on users’ device use. They can include recent photos and locations, music listening, messaging, exercise stats, and other moments.
The company also reassured users of the app’s privacy, offering end-to-end encryption and allowing Apple product owners the ability to lock their journal entries from prying eyes.
Health hub for iPad
The new iOS17 Health app for iPad stores all data in one place, helping users better access their multi-device activity, track medications, and view interactive charts that “make your health data come to life,” the company explained. Apple is introducing a new HealthKit, available for developers to help build new and better health apps using Apple’s new health visualizations.
Mental health data
With new Apple Watch and iPhone updates coming in 2023’s WatchOS 10 and iOS17, Apple pledged itself to mental healthcare with privacy at the core, grounded in science. The newest Health and Mindfulness apps will now include mental health data that allows users to log their daily emotions and moods on Apple Watch, iPhone, or iPad.
The new data page enables users to scroll through multi-dimensional shapes and choose how they’re feeling from “Very Pleasant” to “Very Unpleasant,” log what may be contributing to those feelings, and explain their mood further, letting Apple offer insights into daily habits and influences that might be impacting the user’s state of mind. Users can also take standardized mental health assessments that will note their risk of depression and anxiety. The app will then provide results to those who wish to share the data with their care provider or access additional resources on mental health.
Apple is also launching new features to foster better vision health for all users, including children, noting increasing rates of myopia (or nearsightedness) worldwide.
New vision health tools include an Apple Watch feature that tracks how much time a user spends in daylight each day, which can be connected to an Apple family account via Family Setup so parents and caregivers can see just how much time their children spend out in the daylight, even if they don’t have an iPhone. Additionally, Apple is adding a screen distance notification using the same device data that enables Face ID. This measures if a user is holding their device too close to their face, encouraging them to move their device further away after holding it closer than 12 inches for an extended period of time to help lower the risk of eye disease and ease eye strain.
All health data is encrypted securely on a user’s device, and Apple reiterated that it is not shared without user-granted permission.
This story is developing and will be updated with additional information when available.