Every iPhone since the 5s has carried a motion co-processor. This processor is always running on a low power mode, tracking how many steps you took and even how many flights of stairs you climbed. In my experience, it’s the closest thing to actually wearing an activity tracker like Fitbit.
Of course, with the iPhone, you don’t have to do anything other than carry it around in your pocket. And this feature is, of course, turned on by default. All you have to do is go to the Health app.
But here’s the problem. The Health app isn’t great at giving you a birds-eye view of your current and past activity. The interface is a mess. And it’s a bit too basic.
Thankfully, Apple lets third-party apps access this data (and some apps can do more detailed tracking of their own).
So, if you want a better, easier way to track your activity, try out these passive, set-it-and-forget-it apps below.
If you’re like me and think the Health app is far too complicated when all you want to know is how many steps you took and how much you walked, Pedometer++ is the app for you. The app has been in the App Store for ages. It’s free, but you can tip the developer whenever you want.
Pedometer++ uses Health app’s data but displays it in an extremely simple way. All you have on screen is a bar graph, color-coded for each day. Your steps and KMs walked are right there.
Pedometer++ will also display your step count as a notification badge on the app on your homescreen.
Movesum is a relatively new app. It’s basically just like Pedometer++ but even simpler. It will only show you how many steps you took in the past four days on the screen and whether you met your daily goal. That’s it.
Human is the best-designed app on this list, and it’s where I go when I want a minute-by-minute breakdown of my activity. Now if you want to make the most of Human, you’ll have to let it use Location Services in the background, and that means a bit of battery drain throughout the day. If you have an iPhone 6 Plus or the 6s Plus this isn’t that big of an issue.
Even with background Location Services disabled, Human will show you steps taken and KMs walked. The Timeline view will still be there. This data comes from the motion co-processor and the Health app.
Another thing I like about Human is how interactive it is. Human gives you achievements, tells you how you rank against all their users (I got to the top 2% once), and it sends a weekly email of your activity (in case you don’t want to open the app every day).
Instant is an interesting take on the passive activity tracking. Instant wants to do more than just track your steps. It wants to tell you how much you’re using your phone, where, and hopefully, get you to use your phone less.
When you open Instant, you get a card-based layout of things like how much you used your phone that day, how much you walked, how many times you unlocked the device, what places you visited and more. Of course, to get all this data, you’ll need to provide Instant with background Location Services access.
Whats Your Best Score?
According to the Pedometer++ app, my highest is 12.6 km and 17,838 steps, which was on my recent trek. What about you? Share with us in the comments below.