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Apple announces new mental health features in recent IOS update

Apple has launched new health features which will expand their scope of health technology, introducing mental health features such as an emotion and daily mood tracker, as well as features around vision health.

Introduced through iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and watchOS 10, the new mental health features will allow users to log and track their daily moods, input momentary emotions, gain insights, and access relevant assessments and resources. Additionally, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch will offer new vision health features that encourage healthy behaviours to help reduce the risk of myopia, Apple said.

“Our goal is to empower people to take charge of their own health journey. With these innovative new features, we’re expanding the comprehensive range of health and wellness tools that we offer our users across iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch,” said Sumbul Desai, M.D., Apple’s vice president of Health.

The Health app will now also be accessible on iPad, providing users new ways to see and explore their health data. Apple states that “all of these new features — and existing health features — are grounded in science and built with privacy at the core.” The Health app in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, and the Mindfulness app in watchOS 10, bring “an engaging and intuitive way for users to reflect on their state of mind.”

Users can scroll through a range of multidimensional shapes and select how they are feeling on a spectrum from very pleasant to very unpleasant. They can also select associations that are having the biggest impact on their feelings, like travel or family, and describe their feelings, such as grateful or worried.

On eye health, users will be able to track the amount of time they spend outside in daylight and their distance from a screen. The Apple statement adds: “The new Screen Distance feature 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 engage in healthy viewing habits that can lower their risk of myopia, and it gives adult users the opportunity to reduce digital eyestrain.”

Other important updates include a journal app which allows users to practice mindfulness and reflect on their daily lives, and a medications feature which gives users the option to set-up reminders and follow-ups if they haven’t logged taking a scheduled medication.

To find out more about the range of new health features, click here.