Apple Adds Menstrual Cycle Tracking To HealthKit App

Image courtesy of Dee



Around half of all humans, at some point in their lives, experience menstrual cycles. Keeping track of different parts of that cycle is part of paying attention to general health, and there are plenty of mobile phone apps designed for that purpose. That’s why when Apple announced that a central repository for health information, HealthKit, would be part of iOS 8, many people assumed that menstrual cycles would be in there, right along with blood glucose levels and blood pressure. It wasn’t, until today.

Tracking cycles has a number of uses: when the number of days in each cycle varies, that can be a sign of an underlying health problem. A “hey, you’re ovulating!” notification is useful when trying to conceive a baby, or trying not to conceive a baby. Even though “first day of your last menstrual period?” has been a routine part of every doctor visit for most of my life, I rarely actually remember.

One of the many things Apple announced at their Worldwide Developer Conference today is that they’re adding this feature to HealthKit. They’re also adding information about how much time you spend sitting down, and your exposure to ultraviolet rays.

There are numerous apps that already exist to track cycles, but there are also numerous apps that track the distance that you’ve walked or run during a workout, and that didn’t stop Apple from making that data part of HealthKit. While some companies choose not to share their users’ data with Apple, the company still left an important part of health data for a massive number of people out of HealthKit, which is supposed to give a complete picture of the phone owner’s health.

Some tech pundits blame ingrained sexism in the software industry for the oversight. “… Apple’s first diversity report did show that the company is mostly white and male,” Arielle Duhaime-Ross at the Verge wrote when HealthKit first debuted. “So it’s likely that menstrual cycles just aren’t a concern for a majority of the company’s employees. But that shouldn’t be an excuse.” It’s a feature that’s useful to more people than tracking one’s blood glucose level.

With iOS 9, Apple’s HealthKit will finally track menstruation [The Verge]

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