There are a lot of apps out there for tracking and encouraging women’s health, such as MyFitnessPal, Nike+ Training Club, and Apple Health, included in iOS 8. However, where Apple seeks to be an all-encompassing baseline for its users to use it in their daily lives, they miss one very key component that would make it especially useful for the women who use their products: charting the reproductive cycle.
Apple’s Health app and Healthkit, prominent features on their phones, iPads, and watches, track just about everything, from sleep cycles to heart rates to daily intakes of minerals like copper and monounsaturated fat. It claims to be revolutionary in covering so many different topics and encouraging you to be the healthiest, most physically fit and aware human being out there. However, a simple scroll of its contents reveal that there is no section on the app that tracks when you last had your period and the symptoms that come along with it.
In iOS 9, Apple plans to remedy this by introducing a cycle tracker, including how thick cervical mucus (discharge) and menstrual flow is. Apparently, it will also let you record the results of home ovulation tests (and perhaps even home pregnancy tests). Aside from this, little information has been released about what it entails.
That’s not to say that there aren’t period-tracking apps out there for the time being: Clue and Period Tracker are two of the ones offered in the App Store for iOS and Google Play Store for Android, and there are many more waiting to be downloaded (not that you’d need more than one.) But while food-shopping and consumption apps and fitness/workout apps sometimes sync with Healthkit to provide a well-rounded analysis of what you’re putting into and taking out of your body, there are no menstrual cycle apps that do the same thing. Why didn’t Apple include that when trying to track how often you use your inhaler?
If Apple wants users to consider their software as top-of-the-line and the right choice to make when trying to cover as many bases as possible when it comes to health, then they should have tracked it from the start. If independent developers are able to do so (including detailed descriptions of when PMS will start, what side effects happen when, and how heavy flow is), then surely Apple’s talented software engineers are able to mimic and even improve on a feature that would make the already full package the best possible. Imagine Healthkit sending you a reminder in the morning to make sure there’s a pad/tampon in your bag, or a notification that ovulation is due to start tomorrow. Since they clearly want users to depend on their products to enhance their own lives, this is definitely a marketing move that they need to make.
Outside of the business world, including a period tracker in Apple’s Health app and Healthkit would have even greater benefits. Many track periods through use of calendars already, and this would make it even easier to do so. For people concerned about family planning and being able to regulate fertility, it’s important that they are able to have easy access to it, in the ways that they see other health information being delivered. Perhaps a feature on reproductive health could also encourage women to visit gynecologists and get tested for sexually transmitted infections regularly, significantly reducing the rates at which otherwise predictable and treatable conditions occur.
There are so many ways for Apple to expand with their product, but users are still waiting for it to happen. If they can update ApplePay and other extraneous features, why not something that would be much appreciated?
Cover photo courtesy of Shutterstock.