What Apple Doesn’t Want You To Know About iPhone Health Apps

Did you know the iPhone limits the data it shares with other apps?

For example, many apps can’t use your iPhone’s built-in accelerometer, due to a combination of technical and policy constraints enforced by Apple.

Under iOS when apps are closed or when the device is asleep most apps do not get notified of small device movements (this is a move by Apple to save battery life).

However, there are certain types of apps, like dedicated location tracking and fitness apps, that can be running in the background all the time. Those kinds of apps can receive continuous data about device movements but Apple carefully limits the types of apps that are allowed to do this. Essentially, if an app does not qualify, it does not get to view this data.

The other way apps like these work, like Pedometer apps, is to NOT track movement in real-time, but rather to read from a movement log whenever the app is opened. This model wouldn’t work for most apps, as they’d need to reset timers and other data when movement occurs.

However, there are ways to hack around this, but because these hacks are not in the spirit of Apple’s guidelines, many app developers worry about getting rejected at app reviews.

And even if they were to do it, in practice, the behavior might be flaky and unreliable. More so, the flaky behavior would come at the expense of an additional 5-10% drain on your device’s battery.

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