Hi. I'm Skip...

Rocket scientist...tech geek...husband...Dad. The name of my site refers to a line from my favorite movie. See my 1st blog post for more on the genesis of the name, but essentially it means don't EVER hold back.

HeartWatch for iOS and Apple Watch

HeartWatch for iOS and Apple Watch

If you own an Apple Watch then you have a wealth of health data that is automatically being tracked for you, but I bet most of you don't know that data even exists. Apple is pretty good about keeping things simple when it comes to user interface, but sometimes you want to dive a little bit deeper into the data or use it a slightly different way. That is where HeartWatch for iOS and Apple Watch comes in...

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HeartWatch is an app that you download for your iPhone and do most of your interaction with on your iPhone, but its real power is that it harnesses all of the heart rate data that your Apple Watch automatically collects and presents it to you in a really informative way. Here's the real kicker, you have heart rate data stored back to the first day you started wearing your Apple Watch. So right out of the gate you already have a rich archive of data at your fingertips. The HeartWatch app does a really good job of showing you several high level summaries and then within each of these summaries you can dive even deeper into the data.

Notifications:

I'm going start with what is probably the most important feature of the app and in my opinion people should seriously consider buying the app for this feature alone. That feature is notifications. If you press the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the app and scroll down to the "Notifications" section you can configure when the app will send you a notification about your heart rate. For example, you can setup the app to notify you via your Apple Watch when your heart rate exceeds a user specified value during a workout or during non-workout times. You can also setup a notification if your heart rate goes too low. You can stop reading this article right now, because this alone is reason enough to get this app. Your Apple Watch is already collecting this data so why not use it to potentially save your life?

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Regular Heartbeat:

The first section of data that is displayed to you within the app is the Regular Heartbeat section. This is your heartbeat when you are not moving, working out or sleeping. The main summary shows you your current heart rate and the average, max and min for the day so far. At the top of the summary you can see the average regular heartbeats for the previous 6 days.

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Waking Heart Rate:

This summary section shows you what your heart rate was when you first woke up each morning for the past 7 days. Obviously you have to wear your Apple Watch while you sleep in order for it to give you this information. Why would anyone care about their heart rate when they first wake up? When you first wake your heart rate should be at an all time low. So if you have a morning or two when your heart rate is higher than other mornings that might indicate that you didn't sleep well or were not sleeping deeply right before waking up. Also, if you exercise regularly and are getting into better and better cardiovascular shape you should see your waking heart rate slowly go down over time.

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Sleeping Heartbeat:

The next summary is about your heart rate over the entire night when you are sleeping and not just the instant you wake up. Just like the Regular Heartbeat summary it shows you the average for the past night's sleep as well as the maximum and minimum heart rates during the night and the time at which each occurred.

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If you press the circle that displays the average heart rate for the night it takes you into a more detailed view. In the detailed view you see all of the heart rate values taken throughout the night. The timeline at the top shows you a couple of things. The blue bars at the bottom is your heart rate and the green bars at the top of the timeline shows any movement that you making during the night. If the green bars dip down to the red line or below then you were most likely awakened at that point in the night. The sections of the timeline where there are no green bars indicates a period of deep sleep.

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Sleep Recharge:

This section of the main summary page is just a simple indicator of how much sleep you have been getting. Within the app you can configure how much sleep you need to feel rested (for me it is somewhere between 7 and 8 hours). Based on that number this summary tells you how well you "recharged your batteries" the night before and all of the previous week.

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Dashboard:

Along the bottom of the app is a row of icons and the second icon from the left is the Dashboard icon. This take you to the Dashboard, which is a great way to view a bunch of different summaries all within a single and east to read view. The first view in the Dashboard is the activity view and it show you a summary of the stats around your movements for the past day (like your activity rings, calories burned, duration of exercise and the number of hours you hit your stand goal). The next summary view (press the heart icon towards the bottom under the gauges) is the heart rate summary. This shows you all of the various summaries concerning your heart rate (like your percent recharge based on sleep, your average sleeping heart rate, your waking heart rate and your average workout heart rate). The main Gauge in this view shows your regular heart rate along with an indicator of whether your average heart rate is elevated with respect to your recent days measurements. The last summary on the Dashboard is your footsteps summary. This shows you things like your weight, the number of steps you have taken and how many calories you have burned. Each of these summary views in the dashboard can be displayed for various time periods (Day, Week (the current week), Last (the last 7 days) and by Month).

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HeartWatch is seriously deep when it comes to harnessing the health data your Apple Watch is already collecting about you. If you want to take full advantage of this data this app is a great way to do it.

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