New mental health-related features coming soon
With its next software updates, Apple is taking a new approach to creating mental health awareness. With the Health app and Mindfulness app — armed with iOS 17 and watchOS 10 — users will be able to log in with their moods and record their state of mind. Users will be able to scroll through engaging, multidimensional shapes and choose how they are feeling in a range from Very Pleasant to Very Unpleasant. Then, they can select associations that are having the biggest impact on their feelings, like Travel or Family, and describe their feelings, such as Grateful or Worried.
Furthermore, in the Health app, users can see valuable insights to identify what might be contributing to their state of mind — whether it’s associations or lifestyle factors, such as sleep or exercise. Users will then be able to use these insights to better manage their overall health.
Something for the eyes
At WWDC 2023, Apple introduced watchOS 10. One of the features watchOS 10 brings is the ability to measure time spent in daylight using the ambient light sensor. Users can view the amount of time spent in daylight detected by their Apple Watch in the Health app in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17. According to Apple, The International Myopia Institute recommends children spend at least 80-120 minutes a day outdoors.
Keeping that in mind, children who do not have their own iPhones can use Family Setup to pair their Apple Watch to their parent’s iPhones, giving parents visibility into the amount of time their kids are spending in daylight with Health Sharing. Spending some time under the sun can have other benefits as well.
Also, there’s a new Screen Distance feature that uses the same TrueDepth camera that powers Face ID on iPhone and iPad to encourage users to move their device farther away after holding it closer than 12 inches for an extended period of time. Screen Distance can remind younger users to reduce device usage as well as reduce strain on the eyes.
The Heart Rate app on your Apple Watch alerts you to high or low heart rates and irregular heart rhythms. If your heart rate remains above or below a chosen beats per minute (BPM), your Apple Watch can notify you. These notifications are available only on Apple Watch Series 1 or later for ages 13 and up.
Apple Watch also has an irregular rhythm notification feature that will occasionally look at your heartbeat to check for an irregular rhythm that might be suggestive of atrial fibrillation (AFib).
AirPods to bring health features
If rumours are to be believed then Apple could add more sensors to AirPods Pro. One of them could detect body temperature through the ear canal, which could be more accurate than the wrist temperature collected by the latest batch of Apple Watch models during sleep. While the temperature data is currently used for fertility tracking, Apple intends to use it to identify illnesses like the common cold in the future.
Also in the works is a feature that could play a host of tones and sounds to gauge a person’s ability to hear.
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