Apple working to let iPhone track and improve people’s mental wellbeing, report claims


Apple is working on ways for the iPhone to be able to track people’s mental health and coach them to improve it, according to a new report.

The company is building a health coaching service codenamed Quartz, according to the report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. It is also working on ways that would let the iPhone track emotions, and an iPad version of the Health app.

The coach would use artificial intelligence to encourage people to exercise and eat and sleep better. It would take data from a user’s Apple Watch, crunch it using AI, and then provide new coaching programmes to help them improve.

Apple already offers its Fitness+, which charges a monthly fee for access to workouts and classes. But that is not personalised and it focuses only on exercise.

The work brings together Apple’s Health, Siri and AI teams, the report noted. It is expected to arrive next year, but could be postponed or cancelled entirely.

The emotion tracking features are expected to arrive earlier, potentially at Apple’s WWDC event this summer. Users will be able to answer questions about their wellbeing and track them over time in the Health app.

Other services, such as Whoop, offer similar tools. And Apple already allows users to track a wide array of data about themselves, but that is limited to physical measures at the moment.

Apple has been rumoured to be working on features to help track mental wellbeing and spot the signs of conditions such as depression and cognitive decline for some time. In 2021, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was looking to use sensors to monitor data such as mobility, physical activity, sleep patterns, typing behaviour and other information – and use that to better understand its users.

As well as marking a change from a focus on physical wellbeing, the new features would also be unusual in that they were based around the iPhone rather than the Apple Watch, the WSJ report noted. The company has been looking at ways of integrating health features into the iPhone as well as the Watch, it said then.

Apple is also expected to bring the new iPad version of the Health app this summer.