Apple iOS 9 goes in-depth on reproductive health

Apple is taking reproductive health seriously in iOS 9, with a new set of comprehensive HealthKit measures that could be essential for those trying to conceive or those trying not to. With software tracking things like menstrual cycles and intended to predict fertility some of the most popular in the App Store, it's perhaps no surprise that Apple Health should expand to embrace it. Rather than just a few basic metrics, however, HealthKit is aiming for a real insight.

Six new HealthKit elements related to reproductive health are being added in iOS 9. Basal body temperature can be an indicator of ovulation, as it generally raises after that begins. Traditionally, it would be noted on a paper chart, having typically been measured first thing in the morning; iOS 9 will support logging in HealthKit instead.

Specific ovulation tests, meanwhile, can be logged explicitly. That would be a negative or positive result in HealthKit; another pre-ovulation indicator, cervical mucus quality, can also be recorded (with five possibilities: dry, sticky, creamy, watery, or egg white).

Menstrual flow is one of the more broadly understood categories of reproductive health, and Apple will allow records of unspecified flow, light, medium, or heavy. There'll also be an attached date, useful to track trends and make more accurate fertility predictions.

Outside of the typical menstruation period, vaginal spotting – light bleeding – can be recorded.

The final category will be sexual activity. Like the date attached to menstrual flow, it will be a record of when such activity took place; it will also optionally record whether protection was used, and if that was to protect against STIs or pregnancy.

With reproductive health measures the number one developer request for HealthKit, not to mention growing criticisms of the technology industry as a whole for generally ignoring it, it's perhaps no surprise that Apple has put it to the fore in iOS 9.

There's more on this year's WWDC announcements in our Apple hub.