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(Pocket-lint) - Apple is set to update its Health app in iOS 15 that will allow users to share their health data with others.

That's going to be great for those with ageing parents, a condition that needs to be regularly shared with a doctor, or maybe a personal trainer keen to ensure you're doing those exercises they've set. But how does it work, we've been taking a closer look to find out what's in store.

Nothing to install

The new feature will come with iOS 15 and be pre-installed on your iPhone. You will have to enable sharing to share your data and only you can instigate the sharing. Other people won't be able to request you share your personal health data with them.

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You'll also be able to see who you are sharing with or who's sharing with you directly within the app although you will have to remember to stop sharing with them rather than Apple offering an auto shut out after a specific time.

Because it's built-in into the Health app on iOS, you'll be able to share all the stats that you're already collecting, including a few new additions coming specifically to iOS 15, that launches later in 2021, like walking steadiness. 

What can you share?

You can choose to share any of the over 100 data types already found in the Apple Health app that comes pre-installed with iOS and Apple says users will get full control over what data is accessible by others, including the ability to manage that on a person-by-person basis.

When you first set up sharing, you’ll be walked through an onboarding process within the app to help you select relevant health data to share, with suggested data categories where you have data from the last six months.

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That includes things like your daily steps count, heart rate, sleep data, and other details you've been collecting such as your body measurements for example.

Health alerts

You can also choose what health alerts to share so if you're suddenly experiencing an elevated heart rate those in your network will be automatically alerted.

These alerts include things like Cardio fitness and even noise perhaps suggesting you might have suddenly stepped outside on a busy road when you weren't supposed to. 

When an alert happens it will be shared as a notification with those that you are sharing the data and then can then choose to message you to check if you are okay.

Currently available in the developer beta and via a public beta which is released in July you're able to share your data with up to 3 other people at a time, but that might change when the full release in iOS 15 comes out in the fall. 

Sharing with your health care provider 

The new Health sharing feature isn't just for family members who might be a little bit worried about your day-to-day health but also your doctor.

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The updated app also taps into the lab results feature already available within the Health app and can share them privately allowing your doctor to view it from their electronic health care system. In the US providers including Dr Chrono, Athenahealth, Cerner, and Allscripts with the promise of other providers coming on board in the future.

Privacy

While you might not really care too much about whether you've put on a few pounds ahead of your holiday getting out into the public domain, other health issues leaking could cause concern.

Apple states that the data you choose to share is encrypted when in transit and while on a user’s device when locked behind a passcode, Face ID, or Touch ID. Apple also states that it does not have access to this information.

Conclusion

The aim of Health sharing either with your family or your doctor is to allow users to be able to keep tabs on each other from a health perspective way more than the friendly competitions already available in Apple Fitness.

While the obvious use case might be assisting ageing parents to ensure they are okay, we can easily see it being embraced by personal trainers to ensure you're doing the exercise or health drive you promised.

At the moment it's one-on-one when it comes to sharing the data, but you could also easily see this being expanded to allow for groups so a weight watchers club could share individual progress.

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The new Health sharing features are set to launch in "the fall", which usually means sometime in September alongside new iPhones.

Writing by Stuart Miles.