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Apple will finally help you track your period on the iPhone

Reuters/Aly Song
Ever more useful.
By Jenni Avins
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference today, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, quickly rattled through improvements the company is making to HealthKit, a tool for developers to make fitness apps for Apple’s app store. He said that with the iOS 9 update, Apple’s native Health app will be able to track factors including UV exposure, hydration, and reproductive health.

Wait a minute. Reproductive health?

As Federighi continued without pause, there was a record-scratch effect across Twitter.

Did Apple just acknowledge a vital piece of women’s health—which is to say, menstruation—that it failed to include in its original version of the fitness tracker? It’s hard to say with absolute certainty, because the two words, “reproductive health,” were the only ones Apple executives devoted to the topic at today’s conference, and they left the feature off their new screenshot of the updated app. We’ve contacted Apple and will update this post should we receive relevant information.

But one would presume that a woman’s menstrual cycle is the single most important trackable indicator of one’s “reproductive health”—unless, of course, as this person suggested, the iPhone will simply alert men when the device is dangerously close to their reproductive organs.

It will be interesting to see how Apple’s update compares with the many period trackers already available in the app store. Apple does have a bit of catching up to do, but we’re talking about a company that featured twice as many women at its keynote event today than at its last seven keynotes combined. Perhaps its push into women’s health will be big enough to move the needle there, too.

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