Using Your iPhone to Track Steps

Have you ever wondered how many steps you’ve taken or how active you’ve been throughout the day, but don’t have a pedometer or fitness tracker, like the Fitbit, to track and record this data? If you happen to be running iOS 8 on an iPhone 4s or later or on an iPod Touch 5th generation or later, you can easily track your steps, distance, and other interesting and useful health data, right from your iOS device using the built-in Health app.

Introduced in iOS 8, the Health app enables users to keep track of their health and fitness data, which can be either manually entered or pulled in from other apps, like MyFitnessPal, via Apple’s HealthKit tool. Users can then view this data from with the Health app, with the option to choose which information gets displayed on their Dashboard within the app.

For those users who carry their iPhone in their pocket throughout the day, they can use the Health app to track and view data on how many steps they’ve taken, something that one would have to use either a third-party app or fitness tracker for in previous versions of iOS. Users can also view data on how much distance they’ve walked or ran, as well as what the equivalent number of floors climbed would have been.

In order to view how many steps you’ve taken, you can do so by launching the Health app, where you should see buttons on the bottom of the screen, including “Dashboard”, “Health Data”, “Sources”, and “Medical ID”.

Tapping on the “Health Data” button will bring you to a list that contains various categories of health data that you can view and edit, from vital signs, to nutrition, to fitness.

The Health Data section of Apple's Health app

The Health Data section of Apple’s Health app

From the “Health Data” menu, you can tap on “Fitness”, which will give you the option to view various kinds of fitness data, including “Active Calories”, “Cycling Distance”, “Flights Climbed”, “NikeFuel”, “Resting Calories”, “Steps”, and “Walking + Running Distance”.

The iOS Health App's "Fitness" Categories

The iOS Health App’s “Fitness” Categories

When you choose the “Steps” option, you should see a screen detailing the number of steps that you’ve taken over a time period of days, weeks, months, or the year, with the data in both numerical and graph form, allowing you to view the number of steps you’ve taken over the selected period of time.

Step data seen within the Health app on iOS 8

Step data seen within the Health app on iOS 8

In order to view the distance you’ve walked or ran, you can select the “Walking + Running Distance” option from the “Fitness” menu, where you can view both numerical and graphical data in the same time-frames as the “Steps” option.

Health App's "Distance" Screen

Distance data seen within the Health app on iOS 8

In order to make it easier to view both step and distance data, you can use the “Show on Dashboard” slider to add the desired data to the Health app’s Dashboard – that way you don’t have to traverse through the menus and options each time you’d like to view your data.

Health App Dashboard, displaying data on the number of steps taken and the distance traveled

Health App Dashboard

Tapping on the data from the Dashboard will take you to the same data and options page that you arrive at when you do so by traversing through the “Health Data” categories.

For more information regarding Apple’s Health app and HealthKit for iOS, you can check out this page from Apple’s support website, which provides information on the Health app in general, as well as what other functions you have access to with the app.

Have you tried using Apple’s Health app on iOS 8 for keeping track of your daily steps, distance, or anything else? What have your experiences been like? Please feel free to let us know in the comments section below! Also, please feel free to check out the TechnicalCafe YouTube channel for more tech news, tips, tricks, and tutorials!

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