Did you know your iPhone knows exactly how many steps you take daily? And that it can list which locations you visit through the day? It also measures how many floors you climbed, your walking distance, and if you have installed health apps, it will also begin to collect heart rate data, blood pressure and even your health records.
The downside is that all of it is inside the Health app, which is as sexy and usable as a spreadsheet!
How do we unlock and get insights from the data?
That’s what Gyroscope is trying to do, an iOS app I am reviewing today after 9 months of use.
Like many marketing startups offering dashboards full of rankings, line charts and leaderboards, Gyroscope will pull data from different sources and display it in highly readable graphs. This is how it improves from standard apps:
- The app can show all of your activity and health data on one screen: sleep, heart rate, steps, exercise. It is therefore straightforward to conclude if it was a good or bad day.
- The important information is highlighted, and the rest is illustrated with a line chart. So instead of going though hundreds of heart rate metrics, it will show you only the range as well as the resting heart rate.
- The app makes it easy to see what your exercise means. If you run 2.5k, it will tell you for example this is equivalent to 1 donut, and presents it one beautiful card that can be shared on social networks. I believe this is important to quickly “get” the benefits of exercise
- The app also connects to Fitbit, Withings, Strava, Runkeeper, Moves, Rescuetime, Instagram. All of these are shown on very nice maps and graphs to have a complete picture of the day
When comparing Gyroscope to Fitbit, Garmin or Withing’s app, it is clear that Gyroscope has a better design and is overall easier to use. It is essentially the perfect app for those who love to track all their small and big moments in life.
The Gyroscope app is especially a must if you have an Apple Watch. It is much more beautiful, easy to use and readable than Apple’s standard app for the Apple Watch.
What are the benefits?
Gyroscope allows you to see easily trends. You might have a Fitbit or another wearable to show you daily steps. But it is difficult to know if overall, we are doing more physical activity than a month ago. Totals and overall trends are more important than day-to-day variations.
Gyroscope gives you insights. Wits its graphs, it tells you how many hours you sleep every night. That can be helpful to set bed time if you need to wake up early one day.
Through RescueTime, it will also tell you the productive and less productive moments of your day.
Through Moves, it will tell you what are your favorite spots and your movement patterns in the city.
Those are just examples, and more can be set up in the app. You can also disable them, if you want.
Like above, these insights can help you make key decisions, and perhaps avoid burying your head in the sand.
Gyroscope can help you adopt healthier habits. By highlighting when you are most productive, the benefits of exercise, and via leaderboards, you can improve the metrics by walking more, meditate to get a better resting heart rate, or visit less time-wasting websites.
I used Gyroscope extensively for 6 months but haven’t used as much recently. Now I spend more time on the Garmin Connect mobile app. Why?
I found Gyroscope had little interactivity. You can’t really comment on activities, or communicate with anyone. There are no alerts if the app detects certain patterns. You can’t do anything with the data, apart from visualizing it.
I however prefer apps that helps you do things on the go. Like guiding me through a workout. Or telling me what are my best restaurant options in a certain location.
Gyroscope is then just a beautiful dashboard that you can hang on a wall for others to admire, but less relevant when you are actually trying to do things. Perhaps even distracting.
Overall, if you have an Apple Watch (series 1 or series 2), I highly recommend Gyroscope. It’s far better than Apple’s app. Download it here. If you are starting your fitness journey and not really sure if you live a sedentary life or a physically active life, you can also use Gyroscope for a month. It will give you a clear picture and insights that would be tedious if you just use a pen & paper. For those who are doing intense exercise, who are busy and walking more than the standard 10,000 steps/day, checking Gyroscope daily won’t bring additional value. You can use it, but there are more advanced apps that will be more relevant to you.