Update (5th May 2018): HeartMonitor is back on the App Store.
Update (12th April 2018): Late last week, HeartMonitor was removed from the App Store by Apple. I'm unsure if it will return to the App Store, but I'd like it to, and am working with Apple to hopefully find a way that can happen.
What is HeartMonitor?
HeartMonitor is an app for iPhone and Apple Watch that allows you to use the Apple Watch heart rate sensor to record "sessions" of heart rate activity - without having to start an active workout. The advantage of this is that HeartMonitor sessions have minimal impact on your activity rings.
HeartMonitor is useful for monitoring your heart rate in nervous situations, such as while giving a conference talk or presentation, in the dying moments of a football game, or while watching a horror movie. HeartMonitor is also useful if you want to keep an eye on your resting heart rate for short periods of time. I'm sure that there are other creative uses - if you think of any, let me know!
Almost two years ago, I wrote a blog post highlighting the case for a dedicated heart rate monitoring mode in watchOS - something that gives you the frequent heart rate readings of a workout session, but without having to start a workout and have your activity rings added to. There are issues with a feature like this. The original Apple Watch had mediocre battery life, and throwing in a 30-min heart rate tracking session would be enough to send the battery flat before the end of the day for most people. Since then, the Series 2 and more recent Series 3 have proven battery life is now a non-issue, with many Apple Watch wearers finishing the day with over 50% battery left. This leaves room for cool features that may use slightly more battery. It surprises me that there isn't a feature like this from Apple yet. When I wrote that original post, I was unable to find an app on the watch App Store that did this, and that was still the case up until the launch of HeartMonitor.
I had seen that people were starting a dedicate workout on their watch before an event where they wanted to measure heart rate, and then analysing that data later. There are two problems with this:
- It will very likely add unwanted activity data to your activity rings.
- There is no decent way to view the data afterwards.
HeartMonitor solves both of these problems. While it isn't perfect, it is far less likely that your exercise ring will be added to. HeartMonitor will add to your rings if your heart rate gets high enough that the activity you're doing should probably be considered exercise, but unlike the Workout app, it won't count every minute simply because you've told it you're working out.
HeartMonitor also solves the second issue of not having a place to view this data. The companion iPhone app will show you a list of sessions with detailed information and statistics for that session. From here, you can rename the session which makes it easier to remember what you were recording, and share the session with friends.
HeartMonitor is completely free. Free to download, with no advertising, or in-app-purchases. There is no analytics framework (first or third-party) in HeartMonitor, no third-party code, and no tracking whatsoever. You can download it assured there's no hidden catch.
So, what are you waiting for? Just open HeartMonitor on your Apple Watch to get started!
If you like the sound of HeartMonitor, you can download it for free on the App Store.
Feedback is always appreciated. I can be contacted here.