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HeartWatch: An Accidental but Heartfelt App

Great story and app idea by David Walsh: dissatisfied with the presentation of heart rate data in Apple’s Health app, he created HeartWatch – a dashboard for your heart rate data. The app works best if you’re an Apple Watch wearer (you get readings every 10 minutes) and it includes features such as peak zones, timelines, and – my favorite – separate tabs for regular, waking, and workout heartbeats.

Heart Watch lets you see how your heart is beating across three simple views. Waking, Regular & Workout. Each of these views are isolated because, while you may want a higher heart rate during a workout, if your heart is racing when you aren’t doing any exercise then this is likely not a good thing and probably something you might want to show your medical practitioner.

David has shared the full story behind the creation of HeartWatch in a blog post:

Now I wanted to dig a bit further to find when and what was happening with my heart. Unfortunately, the Health app wasn’t very much help from here forward. There’s a summary graph, then to go any further, you have to read every single heart beat reading captured. With no search! Proverbial needle in haystack. So I looked around to see if there were any apps to help. Short answer. No. They seem to fall into finger on the camera apps, “fitness junkie” apps or just giving a simple average.

My research also made me realise a simple average is close to useless if you work out. Obviously your heart rate will be higher when you work out. This then throws out the daily average compared to days you don’t work out.

So I started a side project. Something that could show me what was going on. This then of course grew, as these things tend to do.

I took HeartWatch for a spin, and I like what David is doing. The app imported months of heart rate data from Health in less than a minute and it presented me with a clear calendar view of different reading types. HeartWatch can show percentage changes from previous readings, and it neatly breaks down a day’s data with colored charts and labels. I would love to see these kinds of average stats for weekly and monthly stats too, but, overall, HeartWatch is off to a good start.

Like David Smith’s Pedometer++, HeartWatch is another app that uses data from the Apple Watch in an interesting and useful way. If you care about your heart rate as measured by the Watch (and you should), I recommend giving HeartWatch a try.