I’m having a good laugh at all of the memes floating through social on the “hugeness” that is the new iPhone 6. Apple even wisely predicted the size sentiment (\0x2105 super user research) and landed a spot featuring Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake that provides a few laughs.
So, while size-by-size comparisons are even a thing in my household (husband has the new phone while I’m skipping a version), I’ve found that my favorite features of the new release are actually a part of iOS8, and, therefore, I don’t need to get the new phone, and the extra inch of screen size that provides, to have them.
Let me explain. I’m a big fan of the Quantified Self, and, as a runner and biking enthusiast, I like apps that help me track my progress. I especially like when those apps are extensible and connect to provide an entire Quantified Self experience. I’m not here to talk about HealthKit, though. I’m here to talk about a lack of functionality I have found in these apps when it comes to safety. I’m a woman running or cycling alone, and sometimes, if my work day creeps into the evening, the sun goes down before I get started. I’ve combed the app store trying to find an answer, and there really aren’t good answers out there. What I need is:
- A way to alert loved ones passively if I run into trouble while I’m running or riding my bike. It’s not really reasonable to expect that I can reach for my phone and make a call if I’m, for whatever reason, not able to complete those steps in the process.
- A way to inform an EMT that may arrive on a scene when I am unable to communicate.
The iOS answers to these problems:
- Share my Location: When I’m ready for a run, iOS lets me set up a window for when and who I want my whereabouts shared with. I can set up the time parameters I have for my run, say 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., and share my location with my husband and best friend until I alert them that I am home. If they don’t hear from me when they are supposed to, then they not only know something is up, but they know where I am as well. What I’d love for iOS to add is a way to send an alert if I fall during a run or ride. I know, because of the ActivBeacon app, that this is possible. The downside of ActivBeacon is that, for whatever reason, the app malfunctions and turns my volume up to full blast when I have both music and the app running at the same time. Eye of the Tiger loses its motivational effectiveness at that volume. Trust me, I know.
- Medical ID: The Medical ID, part of the Health App can be used by medical responders to know of any allergies or medical conditions I have and who to contact without unlocking my phone. To do so, open the Health App and click on “Create Medical ID” that you see in red. In the Medical ID you can add our name, birthday, height, weight, medical conditions, medical notes, allergies, medications, blood type, and organ donor status. You can also add your emergency contact. You will also want to make sure that you have the “Show When Locked” feature on.
So, there you have it. If you know of any alternative options for exercise safety, then I’d love to hear about them!