The Health app on iPhone is getting a boost in iOS 16, offering the ability to scan medicine bottles and track medications right on the smartphone.
The health and fitness features available on iPhone are getting even more powerful with the upcoming release of iOS 16, offering the ability to scan and track medications within the pre-installed Health app. The next full version of Apple’s mobile operating system is slated for release in Fall 2022 after a period of developer and public beta versions that will refine the new features and fix any bugs. iOS 16 was previewed in June at the Worldwide Developers Conference, an event catered to developers and software. Shortly after the event, developer beta versions of the to-be-released software rolled out, providing a glimpse of what some of the more niche features would be like in daily use.
Since the medication tracking features are limited to iOS 16, users will have to wait until the fall to experience the new way to keep track of their pills, unless they are willing to download a beta version of the software. It is actually possible to download a developer beta of iOS 16 without a developer account — and it isn’t that hard — but it isn’t recommended due to its instability. Running a developer beta version of iOS on a device needed for daily use opens the door to severe risks, like data loss and hardware damage. The public beta, which is available to anyone enrolled in the program directly from Apple, is expected to be released in July and provides a more stable experience of iOS 16 before it reaches everyone else. Later in the fall, the easy way to track medications will reach the masses.
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The medication tracking feature will allow users to create a medicine list, scheduled reminders, and track medicines, vitamins, or supplements. This data can also be shared amongst family members or loved ones, and exported as a PDF. In the United States, it’s extremely easy to add a medication to a user’s list in the Health app. Simply pointing the camera at a medicine label can import the relevant data to the application, and will ask the user to confirm that it is correct. The feature will also inform users when a collection of medicines might cause a critical interaction, but reminds users that the additions are not a substitute for professional medical care and guidance. For users outside of the U.S., medications must be manually added to the Health app.
Add Medications To The Health App
After opening the Health app on iOS 16, there will be a new tab in the ‘Health Categories‘ section on the ‘Browse’ page. It’s labeled ‘Medications,’ and it is here where medications, vitamins, and supplements can be tracked. Tap the ‘Medications‘ tab, and users will find a setup prompt displaying the medicine tracking features with a blue button reading ‘Add a Medication.’ After tapping the button, a search bar will open allowing users to type in the name of their medication and view the results. Once a medication has been selected, users can edit the type, the dosage, and the frequency of the medication. Alternatively, users can tap the camera icon next to the search bar to scan the label of a medication and automatically add it to a list.
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Medications added to the Health app are represented by an icon that can be customized to reflect what the medicine actually looks like in the container. For example, if a pill capsule is selected as the medicine type, the icon can be customized to be the correct shape of pill. If it has different colored caps, these can be changed in the app as well. It’s a small detail, but it allows medication in the health app to be clear and easy to view. Data stored in the Health app can be shared with a health provider — perhaps to show the frequency an over-the-counter medication is taken — or with others through the export function. The medications feature in iOS 16 is the latest of example Apple making healthcare easier for its users through the Health app on iPhone.