How to use the Health app on iOS

How to use the Health app on iOS

Built directly into iOS, Apple's innovative Health app consolidates data from your iPhone, Apple Watch and a huge range of third-party apps to help you view all your health-related stats at a glance. From the number of steps walked in a day to a handy sleep tracker, you can find it all in one easy to access place.

If you're new to Apple's Health app, this guide will help you get started. Learn how to setup your Health Profile and get the most out of the service below.

How to setup your Health Profile and Medical ID

If it's your first time using the Health app on an iPhone, you'll need to set up two things: your Health Profile, and your Medical ID. Just open up the Health app and press the Summary tab to begin.


From here, select your profile picture in the upper-right corner. You'll see Health Details and Medical ID from this screen. Tap on Health Details first, and enter your information. You'll be asked to fill out your name, date of birth, sex, blood type and more. You can even add if you're in a wheelchair or if you take medication that will affect your heart rate here, so your Apple Watch can take this into account.

Go back to the main screen and tap on Medical ID. Designed to help first responders access critical medical information without needing your passcode, what you enter here can be accessed from the lock screen (once enabled) in emergencies. Select Edit, and fill in the details. You'll be able to input your existing medical conditions, any medical notes, allergies, current medications and things like your blood type, weight, height and emergency contacts. The toggle to switch on access via the lock screen can also be found here.

Understanding the Health app

Once your Medical ID and Health Profile have been completed, you can start exploring the Health app. Every time you open the app up, you'll be met with your Dashboard. Fully customisable, all you need to do is make sure you're on the Summary tab and you can start editing your favourites.

Tap Edit just below your profile picture in the upper-right corner, and you'll be able to view all the existing data accessible. Data will be separated into categories (such as Activity, Body Measurements, Heart and Mindfulness), and beneath each main category you'll be able to view data like active energy, cardio fitness, cycling distance etc. Depending on the third-party apps you already have downloaded, your options will vary.

If you want quick access to your active energy stats, for example, just tap on the star next to the data to turn it blue. Every time you open up the app, you'll be able to see this instantly.

There are four main functions of the Health app: activity, sleep, mindfulness and nutrition. To help you understand each one better, here's a quick overview.


Probably the most useful section for the majority of iPhone users, the activity portion of the Health app uses the device's accelerometer to measure the number of steps you've taken, and the distance you've travelled.


If you own an Apple Watch, the stats get even better. A huge range of metrics, like calories burned, standing minutes and in-depth workout stats from third-party apps can be found here too. You can track your progress daily, weekly and even view a yearly round up. It's also possible to import data from other activity trackers, like a Fitbit.


Set your own sleep schedule, automatically switch on Do Not Disturb Mode and more with the Sleep section of the Health app. New for iOS 14, the Sleep section now contains Apple's Bedtime feature, that was previously found on the Clock app.

To access all your sleep-related options, scroll down on the Summary tab and you'll find an option called 'Set Up Sleep'. Hit the Get Started button, and your iPhone will guide you through a few simple steps to help you make sure bedtime is as relaxing as possible.


If you press Next on the first pop-up window, you'll be able to choose your own sleep goal, which is great for people who struggle to get enough sleep. Just choose the number of hours you're aiming for, and continue. Select the days of the week you'd like your goal to apply to, then choose a bedtime and wake up time. The app will alert you if the schedule you choose doesn't meet your goal.

You'll be prompted to activate Sleep Mode, which has been designed to simplify your Lock screen when it's time for bed. It will automatically switch on Do Not Disturb mode too, and you can also set up Wind Down which will activate Sleep Mode before your set bedtime to help you relax and reduce distractions. Once complete, all your sleep data will be visible from this section.

Food and nutrition

When it comes to tracking your nutrition, the easiest way to populate the Health app is through a third-party app like MyFitnessPal or Lifesum.

There is an option to input everything manually straight into the Health app, but you'll need to know exactly what you're eating - down to the milligram - to enter stats for your protein intake, iron intake and more. Using a third-party app that automatically calculates the nutrients in your meals is much easier. Once permissions have been granted, you'll be able to view everything automatically from the Nutrition section - you can find it under Browse > Nutrition.



The Mindfulness section is still fairly small, but it's expected to grow in the near future. For now, you can track mindfulness minutes - the number of minutes you take during the day to step back and relax.

If you own an Apple Watch, using the Breathe app will boost your mindfulness minutes. If you don't, there's a huge range of third-party apps to choose from that track mindfulness too. Two of the most popular include Headspace and Calm.

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