Apple has announced that its new watchOS6 will come with Cycle Tracking, enabling users who menstruate to keep an eye on their monthly cycle.
The Health app can help women identify their most fertile period, in addition to letting you know when your period is likely to start, giving ladies a heads up to stock up on sanitary supplies (and painkillers).
In addition to logging users’ menstrual cycles, Cycle Tracking will also give fertility window predictions, which is helpful for those who are trying to conceive – or not to.
And here is the big catch! You don’t necessarily need to have an Apple Watch to access it as this feature will also be available in the iOS health app.
Fertility and period-tracking technology has been around for a while now, and is largely seen as a positive step forward, arming women and people who menstruate around the world with more knowledge about their bodies.
However, Africa Tembelea has learnt that this kind of technology doesn’t come without issues; for example, popular fertility tracking app Natural Cycles, which is claimed to be able to plan and prevent pregnancy, has come under fire for allegedly leading to a number of unplanned pregnancies.
Leslie Heyer, CEO of Cycle Technologies and creator of the Dot app is quoted to have said recently that she had concerns that “there are a number of fertility technologies that are making misleading and/or bold claims without having significant evidence to support these claims”.
“This has the potential to undermine the whole industry, and does a real disservice to end users,” she explained.
During the WWDC keynote, presenter Dr. Sumbul Desai said that “all health data is stored securely and you can control your data, choosing what (if anything) is shared with other apps”.
However, some users are likely to be worried about storing sensitive data in the cloud; as it could be impervious to hackers.
Whether Cycle Tracking will prove useful to its users remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt that a large company like Apple shining a spotlight on menstruation, and fertility, could go a long way towards breaking the stigma surrounding women’s health, while helping users to gain a more informed knowledge of their bodies.