iOS 16 Health & Fitness Updates: Track Medications, Sleep Stages, Track iPhone Activity, and More

With iOS 16, Apple added a new medication management feature to the Health app, which is designed to allow users to keep track of their medications to make sure they don’t miss a dose. The feature works in tandem with the new Medicines app on the Apple Watch, and is useful for everything from prescriptions to vitamins.

This guide covers everything you need to know about drug tracking along with other new ‌iOS 16‌ Health app features.

medication tracking

Medications is a new section available in the Health app, which can be accessed by going to the Browse section and scrolling down to Medications, or typing in the Health app search bar.

ios 16 health medicine section

In the Medications app, you can enter all your prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and vitamins you’re taking so you can get medication reminders, check interactions, and more.

add medicine ios 16

Adding a medication is as simple as tapping the “Add medication” button in the Health app. From there, you can type in the name of a drug or vitamin, or use your iPhone’s camera to scan the label of a pill bottle. Adding by scanning is simple, but it doesn’t always capture all the information, so you may need to manually select the dosage and form (pills, spray, etc.).

scan medication label ios 16

From there, you can choose how often to take the medication. You can choose a specific day or period of days, specific days of the week, or choose as needed, and then you can decide when you want to take the medication.

Health Table Medicine iOS 16

Medicines can be customized in shape and color to match the pills you take in real life for quick and easy identification.

ios 16 health app dedicated to medicines

You can add all your medications and vitamins to the Health app, so everything can be viewed in a list.

medication reminder

Once you add your medications to the Health app and set a time and day to take them, your ‌iPhone‌ will send you a notification when it’s time to take it. You can get notifications for all scheduled medications in the Health app.

Health list of medicines ios 16

Medication notifications are categorized as time sensitive notifications and will be delivered at the time you specify unless you bypass the setting.

medicine record

Notifications are automatic for all medications that have a specific time and/or day for when to take them.

drug registration

When a reminder notification pops up, you can tap on it to be taken to a popup where you can mark the medication as ‘Taken’ or ‘Skipped’. You can also use the “Mark all as taken” option if you have multiple medications scheduled at the same time. Medications can also be marked as registered from the Drug List in the Health app.

ios 16 health app logging.  drug registration

The Health app can track the medications you take over time, so you can check if you take your medications regularly. You can see data organized by day, week, month, six months, and year.

Apple will also introduce a Medication Highlight in your Health Summary that will let you know how many times you’ve taken your medication in the past 28 days.

Apple Watch medicine app

In watchOS 9, there is a dedicated medication app that you can take advantage of for faster recording. You can register each medication individually in the app or use “Record all medications as taken” to access them all at once. If you skip a dose, you can choose the “Skip” option.

9 . Medicines

The Apple Watch app is only for marking drugs as taken and all other drug management must be done in the Health app.

drug interactions

The Health app regularly checks to make sure the medications you’re taking don’t interact with each other, preventing you from taking a potentially dangerous combination of medications.

drug interactions ios 16

Medication side effects and other information

If you click on any drug from the list of Health apps, you can then choose the “Side Effects” button to see the side effects listed for that drug, if available.

ios 16 drug side effects

Not all medications have side effects listed, and the information is provided by Elsevier, a Netherlands-based company that specializes in medical content, including ScienceDirect’s annual book series on drug side effects.

Export Medicines

In the Medicines section of the Health app, there is an option to “Export Medicines List as PDF” which, as the name suggests, creates a simple PDF of the medicines you are taking. You can share this list with your doctor.

sleep features

For those who wear the Apple Watch to sleep for sleep-tracking purposes, ‌watchOS 9‌ and ‌iOS 16‌ bring new functions. The sleep recorded by your Apple Watch is divided into categories Awake, REM, Core (light), and Deep sleep, so you can get an idea of ​​how well you slept during the night.

sleep info ios 16

Apple Watch will track when you get into bed, how long it takes you to fall asleep, how often you wake up, and how much time you spend in REM sleep, core sleep, and deep sleep.

Apple defines the different sleep categories as follows:

  • Awake You may find yourself awake during parts of a sleep session. It is normal for people to wake up on occasions. You may fall asleep right away and not remember getting up during the night.
  • rapid eye movement This stage of sleep may play a role in learning and memory. During this phase, your muscles are more relaxed and your eyes move quickly from side to side. This is also when most of your dreams come true.
  • essence Sometimes referred to as light sleep, this stage is just as important as the others. This stage often accounts for most of your sleep each night. Brain waves that may be important for cognition occur during this stage.
  • deep – Also known as slow wave sleep due to brain wave patterns, it is the stage in which body tissues are repaired and essential hormones are released. This stage usually occurs in longer periods during the first half of your sleep session.

Sleep data collected by your Apple Watch can be viewed in the “Sleep” section of the Health app. Sleep data can now be viewed every day instead of just a week so you can dig deeper into your sleep quality on a daily basis.

Other than the new sleep categories, the sleep function is the same. It still uses the same sleep and wake time features, which are associated with the Wind Down and Sleep Focus option.

Health sharing invitations

You can invite family members to share their data with you in iOS 16, making it easier to track the health information of elderly family members or children. Once they receive an invitation, the person can choose to select what data they want to share with you.

ios 16 health sharing

Fitness Activity Tracking

In iOS 15 and earlier, you needed an Apple Watch to take advantage of the Fitness app, but that changed in ‌iOS 16‌.

fitness app ios 16

You can use the Fitness app with the iPhone‌’s motion sensors to track your activity level. ‌iPhone‌ can estimate steps and distance traveled and track outdoor exercises to provide details about how many calories you burned in a day.

Without an Apple Watch, you’re limited to your daily moving goal, with no exercise and standing goals available.

Notes guide

Do you have questions about the new health and fitness features in iOS 16, learn about one we’ve neglected, or want to give feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

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