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Apple with iOS 16 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 a dose isn't missed. The feature works alongside a new Medications app on the Apple Watch, and it's useful for everything from prescriptions to vitamins.

iOS-16-Health-Guide-Feature.jpg

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

Medication Tracking

"Medications" is a new section available in the Health app, accessible by going to the Browse section and scrolling down to Medications, or typing it into the Health app search bar.

ios-16-medications-section-health.jpg

In the Medications app, you can enter in all of the prescription medications, over the counter medications, and vitamins that you take so you can get reminders to take medicine, check for interactions, and more.

ios-16-medication-add.jpg

Adding a medication is as simple as tapping on the Add Medication button in the Health app. From there, you can type in the name of a medicine or vitamin, or use your iPhone's camera to scan the label of your pill bottle. Adding via scan is simple, but it doesn't always pick up all the information, so you may need to manually select dose and form (pill, spray, etc).

ios-16-medication-label-scan.jpg

From there, you can choose the frequency of when you take the medication. You can choose a specific day or interval of days, specific days of the week, or opt for as needed, and then you can set the time that you want to take the medication.

ios-16-health-schedule-medicine.jpg

Medications can be customized with a shape and a color to match the pill that you take in real life for quick and easy recognition.

ios-16-health-app-customize-medication.jpg

You can add all of your medications and vitamins into the Health app, with everything viewable in a list.

Medication Reminders

Once you've added your medication to the Health app and set a time and day to take it, the iPhone will send you a notification when it's time to take it. You can get notifications for all of the medications in the Health app that have been assigned a schedule.

ios-16-medication-list-health.jpg

Medication notifications are classed as time sensitive notifications and will be delivered at your specified time unless you override the setting.

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

Medication Logging

When a reminder notification pops up, you can tap it to be taken to a popup where you can mark a medication as "Taken" or Skipped." You can also use the "Mark All as Taken" option if you have multiple medications scheduled for the same time. Medications can also be marked as logged from the medication list in the Health app.

ios-16-health-app-medication-logging.jpg

The Health app can track the medications that you take over time, so you can check in on whether you're taking your medication regularly. You can see data organized by day, week, month, six months, and year.

Apple will also provide a Medications "Highlight" in your Health summary that will let you know how often you've taken a medication over the past 28 days.

Apple Watch Medication App

In watchOS 9, there is a dedicated Medications app that you can tap into for quicker logging. You can log each medication individually in the app or use the "Log All as Taken" to get to them all at once. If you skipped a dose, you can choose the "Skipped" option.

medications-watchos-9.jpg

The Apple Watch app is just for marking medications as taken and all other medication management needs to be done in the Health app.

Medication Interactions

The Health app regularly checks to make sure that the medications that you are taking do not have interactions with one another, keeping you from taking a combination of medications that could be dangerous.

medication-interactions-ios-16.jpg

Medication Side Effects and Other Info

If you tap into any medication from your Health app list, you can then choose the "Side Effects" button to see the listed side effects for that medicine, if it's available.

ios-16-medications-side-effects.jpg

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

Export Medications

In the Medications section of the Health app, there's an option to "Export Medications List PDF," which as the name suggests, creates a simple PDF of the medications that you take. You can share this list with a doctor.

Sleep Features

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

ios-16-sleep-info.jpg

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

Apple defines the different sleep categories as follows:
  • Awake - You may find yourself awake during parts of a sleep session. It's normal for people to wake up on occasion. It's possible that you will fall right back to sleep and not remember waking up during the night.
  • REM - This stage of sleep may play a role in learning and memory. During this stage, your muscles are the most relaxed and your eyes move rapidly from side to side. This is also when most of your dreams occur.
  • Core - Sometimes referred to as light sleep, this stage is considered just as important as the others. This stage often represents most of your time asleep each night. Brain waves that may be important for cognition occur during this stage.
  • Deep - Also known as slow wave sleep because of the brain wave patterns, this is the stage where body tissues are repaired and essential hormones are released. This stage typically happens in longer periods during the first half of your sleep session.
The sleep data collected by the Apple Watch can be viewed in the "Sleep" section of the Health app. Sleep data can now be viewed by day rather than just by week so you can drill down into your sleep quality on a day by day basis.

Other than the new sleep categories, the Sleep functionality is the same. You still use the same Bedtime and Wake Up features, which tie in to the Wind Down and Sleep Focus options.

Health Sharing Invitations

You can invite family members to share their data with you in iOS 16, making it easy to keep track of the health information of elderly family members or children. Once an invitation is received, the person can opt to select which data to share with you.

ios-16-health-sharing.jpg

Fitness Activity Tracking

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

fitness-app-ios-16.jpg

You can use the Fitness app with the iPhone's motion sensors to track your activity level. The iPhone can estimate steps, distance walked, and track third-party workouts to provide details on how many calories you've burned in a day.

Without an Apple Watch, you're limited to a daily Move goal, without the Exercise and Stand goals available.

Guide Feedback

Have questions about the new Health and Fitness features in iOS 16, know of a feature we left out, or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Article Link: iOS 16 Health and Fitness Updates: Medication Tracking, Sleep Stages, iPhone Activity Tracking and More
 

k.alexander

macrumors 6502
Jul 14, 2010
414
189
I CANNOT GET FITNESS.APP TO SHOW ME JUST THE ONE (MOVE) RING, IT SHOWS ALL 3 AND DOESNT COUNT ANY ACTIVITY.

Sorry for the all-caps, it's just that I've asked a bunch of times before and havent gotten any response.
I had the AppleWatch and the Fitness+ service for a bit. I've disconnected the watch and removed it from my account, the fitness+ service is also expired/not active. But my Fitness+ app (which I've reinstalled a number of times since) shows me the three regular rings (as if I had a watch) and of course the rings are all empty because there is not watch to pull the info from. Tried doing a test workout with Nike Running Club, it shows up in Fitness as a workout, but I don't think I got any Move minutes or calories or anything from it. Anyone have any idea how to get this to work?
 
  • Disagree
Reactions: rbgaynor and !!!

Junipr

macrumors regular
May 4, 2011
154
577
I work in healthcare and can foresee Apple disrupting hospital EHR systems with this soon
 

BootsWalking

macrumors 68020
Feb 1, 2014
2,008
11,959
Love the medication addition. Pharmacies should start adding QR codes to the bottle labels, which can include the name of the medication, frequency of use, any special instructions like take with/without food, take only in evening, etc... That way apps like Apple Health can scan and automatically import the full information about the medication rather than just the name.
 
Last edited:

BootsWalking

macrumors 68020
Feb 1, 2014
2,008
11,959
I work in healthcare and can foresee Apple disrupting hospital EHR systems with this soon
I think we're close. A single button press to share your health data with your medical provider, including:
  • your most-recent vitals taken at home with bluetooth thermometers/BP machines/pulse oximeters
  • your list of medications
  • your allergies
  • your medical conditions
 

PigsOnTheWing

macrumors member
Jul 16, 2002
78
42
Orlando, FL
Medication notifications need to have a way to be a lot more persistent. I often need more than a quick popup to remind me to take a pill. Depending on how distracted I might be with work, etc., I could use something more akin to a blaring alarm. "Red Alert!"
 
  • Like
Reactions: MareLuce

ksloth

macrumors member
Nov 21, 2019
61
94
USA
Medications alerts, especially the watch notifications, has been super useful to me already. Very stoked.
 
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Reactions: rbgaynor

polyphenol

macrumors 65816
Sep 9, 2020
1,241
1,254
Wales
In terms of scanning a medicine, can it recognise the 2D Data Matrix GS1 Barcodes used on EU and UK medicines and UPC-A barcodes as used in the USA? Or is it restricted to text?

And does it work in non-English languages, and non-Latin scripts?

https://www.mediclabel.nl/en/datamatrix/
https://www.gs1us.org/DesktopModules/Bring2mind/DMX/Download.aspx?EntryId=1489

And does it look up the GTIN?

And are the interactions "live"? I know that for the medicines I care about, the number of recognised interactions rises year by year.

And will it provide direct access to the Patient Information Leaflet for each medicine?
 

polyphenol

macrumors 65816
Sep 9, 2020
1,241
1,254
Wales
Love the medication addition. Pharmacies should start adding QR codes to the bottle labels that include the name of the medication, frequency of use, and any special instructions like take with/without food, take only in evening, etc... That way apps like Apple Health can scan and automatically import the meds vs just the medicine name described in this article.
Most medicines in the UK are dispensed in Original Pack Dispensing - and we are moving towards more flexibility on that. For example, pharmacies allowed to change a prescription from 28 to 30, or vice versa, to match the pacakge and avoid splits. Thus making the printed label (see below for my comments re GS1 datamatrix, etc.) more likely to be usable.

(The biggest exception would probably be dosette packs often used for older people on multiple medicines.)
 
Last edited:

yustas

macrumors 6502
Dec 11, 2009
278
18
I wish the Reminders app would have the same features, i.e., creating multiple reminders for the same day.
 
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dysamoria

macrumors 68000
Dec 8, 2011
1,729
1,404
“You can use the Fitness app with the ‌iPhone‌'s motion sensors to track your activity level. The ‌iPhone‌ can estimate steps, distance walked, and track third-party workouts to provide details on how many calories you've burned in a day.”

Did they fix the stupidity of treating other phone usage and swiping/tapping as “steps”?
 

uburoibob

macrumors regular
Jan 6, 2002
222
45
Location: Rochester, NY
I wish they would make the Health App work with iPads and Macs. For us geezers, working on the phone ain’t easy. AND, those of us with hearing aids would be able to import our audiology curves to work with AirPods pro and max for listening to music. Right now, that only works on the phone.
 
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Reactions: polyphenol

swrobel

Contributor
Jul 26, 2014
118
269
Exciting improvements, but is the presentation of REM vs Deep sleep on on the chart confusing to anyone else?
 

iDarth_Betar

macrumors 6502
Jul 18, 2022
271
752
For the medication part of this:

I’ve been a lung transplant recipient since 2016. The amount of meds I take ridiculous. And by the looks of this, I’ll stick with reminders, it’s simple and does the job.

I’ll give Apple credit for adding such features, and maybe it would help patients just starting out with an overwhelming amount of medications and info to keep up with.
 

szw-mapple fan

macrumors 68030
Jul 28, 2012
2,842
3,176
I CANNOT GET FITNESS.APP TO SHOW ME JUST THE ONE (MOVE) RING, IT SHOWS ALL 3 AND DOESNT COUNT ANY ACTIVITY.

Sorry for the all-caps, it's just that I've asked a bunch of times before and havent gotten any response.
I had the AppleWatch and the Fitness+ service for a bit. I've disconnected the watch and removed it from my account, the fitness+ service is also expired/not active. But my Fitness+ app (which I've reinstalled a number of times since) shows me the three regular rings (as if I had a watch) and of course the rings are all empty because there is not watch to pull the info from. Tried doing a test workout with Nike Running Club, it shows up in Fitness as a workout, but I don't think I got any Move minutes or calories or anything from it. Anyone have any idea how to get this to work?
Right now on iOS 15 the fitness ring can only be filled by the AW. It's a companion app for the watch, not for the iPhone. You can see your exercise because the app reads that data from the Health app but it's not going to fill your rings.
 

matrix07

macrumors 604
Jun 24, 2010
7,472
4,283
Medication notifications need to have a way to be a lot more persistent. I often need more than a quick popup to remind me to take a pill. Depending on how distracted I might be with work, etc., I could use something more akin to a blaring alarm. "Red Alert!"
I agree. should behave like an alarm than a notification.
 

harper101

macrumors member
Jun 27, 2006
69
25
Fountain Valley, California
I know it’s a beta but how do you add vitamins? I can add pharmaceuticals with no issue. Am I missing something? I’ve tried searching and the camera to no avail. FYI, I’ve filed a big a report.
 
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