For those of you that used to use your iPhone 5s with the Fitbit iOS app to keep track of your daily steps, exercise and diet activities this is not news to you. But for the rest of you, Fitbit has decided to NOT support Apple's Health Kit in iOS 8. That means the Fitbit app no longer ties into the iPhone's ability to track your steps. So if you want to use Fitbit's app then you must use one of their devices as well. I totally understand Fitbit's desire for you to buy their hardware instead of Apple's. It costs them money to update their free iOS app, so I understand where they would not want to spend that money in order to make their app work with Apple hardware that compete's with their own. But I do have one gripe....their Aria digital scale. I bought their scale for the sole purpose of being able to tie together my daily weight with my caloric input. With Fitbit's decision to not support Health Kit they have essentially walled off use of their Aria scale to only those people that ALSO have a Fitbit activity tracker. You can't tie weight and activity together unless you buy more Fitbit hardware. In my mind that is breaking a deal or at least an expectation they set with customers.
For now, there is a fix for this problem if you use My Fitness Pal. From the My Fitness Pal Website you can connect your Fitbit account with your My Fitness Pal account and it will pull in the Aria Fitness Scale weight measurements automatically from your Fitbit account into your My Fitness Pal account. I'm not holding my breath that Fitbit is going to allow this kind of connectivity to keep happening in the future though...
Ok, rant over. This Tuesday's app review is for an app called My Fitness Pal. iOS 8 is still pretty new and My Fitness Pal is the best rated app I could find that ties into Apple's Health Kit and activity tracking capabilities of the iPhone. The reason I downloaded the app (it's a free app) is to fix the issues I was having with Fitbit's decision to not support Health Kit. While My Fitness Pal doesn't solve the problem of automatically getting data from my Aria scale (I still have to do that manually), it does integrate beautifully into Health Kit...meaning when I add my daily diet items into the app the nutritional information is fed into Health Kit. This is a good thing from a medical point of view because in the future if I want to share my diet information with my doctor, Health Kit will give me that option. Some of the other features about My Fitness Pal that I find very useful are:
- Add food items in by scanning the bar code with the iPhone camera
- Creating a custom item that isn't in the database
- Quick input, the "+" button to add an entry is a button at the bottom/center of the screen
- Ability to input a certain type of exercise and the app will calculate calories burned
- Ability to add in a custom exercise item for when you know exactly how many calories you burned
Main screen shows a breakdown of you calories:
- Calories remaining in your daily goal
- Total calories allowed per day in your goal
- Caloric intake
- Calories burned by exercise
- Separately breaks out calories burned due to steps taken from exercise
My favorite feature of this app is its ability to take a recipe (a list of ingredients), group them together as a custom food item and then calculate the calories. There are a lot of items that eat on a regular basis that are homemade and this makes it really easy to list those items AND capture the national values of those homemade items without having to just "fake it" by only capturing it with calories.
I've used many different calorie counting apps over the last several years, some free and some I had to pay for. My Fitness Pal is the best app I have found so far and it's free.