Import Export Health data

Apple has really changed the way I think about my overall health and fitness, starting with iOS 7 and the M7 motion coprocessor of iPhone 5s. I went from being completely oblivious of my weight and physical fitness, to being obsessed with them. Apple Watch has made that even more obvious, as I now feel accountable for everything I do. At the end of the day, I have the satisfaction of looking at my stats in the Health app and see my progress.

As someone who talks about Apple for a living, I am often restoring devices, moving data from one iPhone to another, and also upgrading hardware every year. This is part of the fun for me. But there is a downside to this behavior: every time I set an iPhone as a new device, I lose all of the data from my Health app.

In this post, I will show you how to export Health app data, and import that same data into a freshly restored device, or a new device, depending on your situation.

UPDATE: A new application has been released in the App Store that makes the Health data import process much easier. While the information contained in this post is still accurate, I must say that Health Data Importer makes moving your Health data from one iPhone to another a breeze and I suggest you read that post instead.

How to export Health data

There are actually two ways to export the data from your Health app. The first way, is one provided by Apple, but it is virtually useless. The other way relies on a third-party application, and is, to my knowledge, the best way to export your Health information.

How to export your Health data using the Health app

As previously mentioned, this way of exporting your data is pretty much useless because the data is then presented in an xml file, making it hard to do anything with the data. It’s not like you can simply open up the file and look at it. Maybe even worse, once you have that exported file type, you can’t import it back in the Health app. I’m actually wondering why Apple would even give the option to export that data in this format to begin with, especially because it doesn’t offer the ability to import it back either on the same device or a new device. Regardless of the reason, this is how you can export all that data.

Step 1: Launch the Health app.

Step 2: Navigate to the Health Data tab.

Step 3: Select the “All” option at the top to see all health-related categories.

Step 4: At the top right corner of the screen, tap on the Share icon. Note that if this Share icon doesn’t appear, you should try to force-close the application and navigate to that location again. It should then appear.

Export Health data

Step 5: You will be asked to confirm to Export Health Data. Tap on Export. Depending on how much data you have, it might take a few seconds.

Step 6: When done, the app will automatically create a new email containing your Health export in a Zip file. Email that to yourself and save it for later use, assuming Apple will ever let us do anything with it.

Email exported data from Health

How to export data from your Health app using a third-party app

This is actually the preferred and recommended way to export your Health data as it will output all the information to a usable CSV file, which you can then open in Numbers or Excel on your Mac, or even use to import back into Health. This is the method we’ll use to export the data and import it back in the next section of this tutorial.

Step 1: Download QS Access from the App Store.

Step 2: Launch QS Access.

Step 3: You can select to export the data in chunks of one hour intervals or 1 day intervals. The one hour option means that each row in your export file will contain the data of one hour worth of health tracking. So you’d have 24 rose for every day. One day intervals means each row will contain the data of one day.

In my experience, I was not able to export all the data containing one hour intervals. I guess there was just way too much data for that to work, and the app crashed every time. However, I didn’t have a problem exporting the data with 1 day intervals.

Try each way and see what works best for you. In this tutorial, I will simply select 1 Day.

Step 4: Now select all the data points you want to export, such as Active Calories, heart Rate, Steps, etc…

Step 5: Once you’re done selecting all the data points, tap the Create Table at the lower right corner of the screen.

exporting health data

Step 6: You will be asked to grant QS Access permission to access and and use the Health data. Select all categories, then tap Done at the top right corner.

Step 7: The app will automatically create a CSV file and display it on your screen. Tap the Share icon in the upper right corner and email the file to yourself.

data exported from health app

You are done exporting the Health data. Now let’s see how to import that data into a new iPhone, or maybe an iPhone that you might have restored and set up as a new device (not from backup).

How to import Health data

As I mentioned above, although Apple lets you export your data from the Health app on your iPhone, it won’t let you import it. To export Health data you can actually import later on, you have to use a third-party application that can be found in the App Store.

Step 1: Download Health Importer from the App Store and launch the app once to read the instructions.

Step 2: On the iPhone on which you want to import the Health data you exported in previous steps, launch the Mail app and open the email you sent to yourself with the exported CSV file.

Step 3: Tap and hold on the attachment until you see the Share options appear on the screen, the select Open in Health Importer.

Import Health Data

Step 4: This will automatically launch Health Importer. From there, you will be able to map the data you have exported with the data points found in Health app. Tap on each data point to be mapped, starting with Start. Map it correctly and tap Save.

Map Health data to import

Step 5: Repeat with all the data categories you have exported.

Map Health data to be imported

Step 6: When done, tap Import Data to Health App at the bottom of the screen. The app will start the import process, which could take some time if you have lots of data in there. Note that in my experience, the progress bar showed by the app was deceiving as it wasn’t moving. But don’t give up and keep waiting until everything is imported.

importing health data completed

At that point, you can open your Health app and you should see the freshly imported data. If nothing appears yet on the graphs, wait a few second for the to refresh and process all the data you just imported.

  • Eikast

    I wish that Apple backed it up via iCloud.

    • Yup. Same here. Just like my calendars are in iCloud, I wish this would be in iCloud as well

      • Siddharth Desai

        I wish Messages would be backed up to iCloud. That would make the ‘To Restore or Not Restore’ decision much easier.

      • CasonAsherTech

        Well idb posted a tutorial on backing up and restoring only your messages not too long ago. Great article with clear instructions, I haven’t lost my messages since!

      • Brandon D

        i know i’ve heard you say you don’t like to restore from backups normally, if you back it up via itunes and check the ‘encrypt iphone backup’, it backs all of this info up for you…health..calendars..messages..
        i’m sure you probably already knew about this, but i did this after i got my apple watch and had to update.

      • See above.

    • Bill Ziobro

      agree! I just started looking into this because my phone has had some issues. An Apple Genius actually said to restore my phone as new and not use a backup. This is my first app that has actually made me need to use the restore from backup. In the past I have always setup every new iPhone as a new one. All the main apps I use data came back from logging in to them – gmail, exchange, evernote, facebook, things, etc.

    • Ezekiel Elin

      It is backed up to iCloud. I still have data from prior to getting my iPhone.

      • Eikast

        It’s backed up within an iPhone backup. It’s not backed on iCloud as your contacts, calendar are

      • Ezekiel Elin

        You did say “backed up to” If you mean just syncing, then I believe apple isn’t for security reasons.

  • Cody

    I didn’t know this was possible! Thanks Sebastian!

  • Rares

    I have a lot of health data saved in zip files, I saved it from the health app itself but now I can’t find an app to open the file and import it to the health app. I had some problems with the ios and before every restore, I saved the health data and emailed to myself. Now, “health importer” does not support zip files, is there any other app that supports zip files ?

    • Not that I know of. That’s why I said in this post that Apple’s Health app export option is pretty much useless.

      Maybe you can try looking into some software that would convert an xml file to a csv one.

  • Stephen Canning

    After purchasing an apple watch i have now started to look at my overall fitness and health again.

    Any chance you guys could do a review on the health app and some of the best apps to use or post a link if this has already been done?

    Thanks

  • Sjoerd Stoop

    All,

    I also tried this method. Everything seems to work fine, but when I open the Health-app afterwards it looks like not everything is imported.

    How is this possible? Do I have to wait or so…? Or did I do something wrong?

  • Maxwell

    health importer isn’t working with iOS 9 fyi

  • Scott

    Sebastien, is there any way to recover health data on old backups?

  • kellythekitchenkop

    I went through all the steps and it said, “0 data items have been saved to Health App” — any idea what I did wrong??

    • Bryant Ordoñez

      i had the same problem! the solution is change the language of the iPhone to English! and then try it again.

  • Randall

    My data was exported as a zip file and is not same format. Can some help me !

  • skallagrim

    There is very nice app called SpectaRun that takes data from your activities and shows graphs and lets you export the data in usable format.

  • Amoeba Stunts

    does not work on iOS 9. iOS 9 exports XML. Health Importer only imports CSV. Maybe you should make a note of that in the post. would be helpful to users.

  • LeeDrake

    Guys! I found a way to make this work with the original xml export (e.g. the first thing he showed). What’s more, it may be able to handle the hourly data too.

    First, use the normal export function to a .zip file with lots of XML data. This is the previously useless stuff.

    Then, go to this website on your computer: http://ericwolter.com/projects/health-export.html. It will convert the .xml files to .csv files.

    Each metric will now have a seperate CSV file (e.g. HKQuantityTypeIdentifierFlightsClimbed). The only problem is that it is using semi-colons (;) as separators instead of commas (,). But it’s an easy fix, just right click and open each .csv file in Text Edit or Notepad and replace all the semi-colons (;) with commas (,). Then save.

    I then put these .csv files into Dropbox, and synced them to my recently restored phone. Then I added the new data using the Health Importer App. Using this method, the QS App wasn’t needed at all. Also, dropbox works much better than emailing files.

  • kdesch

    I created a simple python script that can parse the export xml

    https://github.com/kdesch5000/AppleHealthData.git

    • AHK data transfer/sync:
      Changed to new iPhone, so now trying to sync/import the (now XML), exported files, for which I have a lot of different data sets, from different wearables/phones/apps.

      Anyone got a way to import the XML files (2 unzipped files from AHK export were: Export_cda.xml and Export.xml), please…

      Can it also be imported via login ? dont see a way yet !

      Thanks in advance 🙂

  • Anyone got a way to import the XML files (2 unzipped files from AHK export were: Export_cda.xml and Export.xml), please…