Will Apple's iOS 8 HealthKit Turn us all into Hypochondriacs?

By Gary Cutlack on at

Apple's about to take mobile health tracking into the mainstream with its Health app and the HealthKit tools that will arrive as part of iOS 8, but isn't giving people vague guesses about their health based on the most wafer-thin of monitoring data a little... dangerous?

Actual health tracking needs a lot more data than heart rate, breathing counts and knowing how many steps you've walked in a period of time. Those stats tell you literally nothing of any importance. A useful health tracker would be able to measure blood glucose levels at the very least, but it's not currently possible to get that sort of data from a wearable device.

How many calories you've burned is meaningless in terms of health results, sleep monitoring is pointless and you'll sleep worse with a phone blinking away right next to your head anyway, while heart rate numbers are useless as you might've just come up some stairs or got angry at someone on the internet.

Plus we suspect a doctor would laugh at you if you gave him some numbers your phone dreamed up and demanded the medicine a Google search suggests. All it's going to do is make people worry more, which is... bad for health, right?