Apple reveals medication tracking feature and more health updates

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Apple revealed a new medication tracking tool and more health-related features at its Worldwide Developers Conference Monday previewing its watchOS 9 and iOS 16.

The Medications feature, available on both the Apple Watch and iPhone in the Health app, will allow users to manage their medications, vitamins and supplements. They can use the camera to scan a pill bottle to import information, and set up schedules and receive alerts to take their medications on time.

In the U.S., users can also receive alerts about possible drug interactions if they upload a new medication that could react poorly with one of their current medications. The tool also works with health sharing, so family members can share medication data with loved ones alongside other health metrics.

AFib history

The tech giant also announced a new atrial fibrillation history feature with the upcoming watchOS 9. 

The feature, which was recently cleared by the FDA for people ages 22 and older who have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, allows users to track when their heart rhythm shows signs of AFib and what other factors may contribute, like sleep, alcohol use and exercise.

Users will also be able to download a PDF with their AFib history data to share with their providers.

Sleep stages

The Apple Watch will include more tools for sleep tracking. Using the accelerometer and heart rate sensor, users will be able to monitor when they’re in REM, core or deep sleep and how much time they spend in each stage.

They’ll also be able to contribute that data to the Apple Heart and Movement Study in the research app. 

Workouts

Apple revealed a variety of new workout features for the Watch, including heart rate zones to monitor workout intensity and custom workouts, where users can build their own plans that include recovery intervals.

A feature geared toward triathletes allows the Watch to recognize when a user has switched to a new type of workout, like moving from swimming, to biking, to running. Additionally, the Watch will now be able to detect when swimmers are using a kickboard during their workouts, and track their SWOLF score, the stroke count combined with the time it takes to swim one pool length.

The new OS will also include new trackable metrics for runners, including stride length, ground contact time and vertical oscillation. Runners can store frequently used routes and receive alerts if they’re keeping up with their previous pace and when they go off course. 

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