Developer David Smith has expanded his lineup of ++ apps for the iPhone and iPad (Pedometer++ and Sleep++) with the addition of Activity++, an iPhone app designed to help you make the most from your Apple Watch fitness data.
But wait, why on Earth would you need another app when the built-in Activity app’s rings provide an at-a-glance overview of your Move, Exercise and Stand goals?
Why Activity++ exists
That’s a good question.
In a nutshell, Activity++ picks up where Apple’s software left off, giving you a more comprehensive picture of your fitness goals with a detailed statistics view, something sorely missing from the built-in app.
It’ll motivate you even more than Apple’s software by displaying how long you have kept a streak of goal achievements going for and letting you take a day off from reaching your goal once you have reached it for six consecutive days.
You get a native watchOS 2 app for your wrist, too, along with a glance and a stylish complication (I say stylish because it’s always in monochrome).
Making sense of your fitness data
On first run, you’ll be asked to grant Activity++ permission to read the following records from the Health database on your iPhone: Activity, Active Calorie, Stand Hours and Exercise Minutes data.
Then, the software presents you with a simple, consolidated timeline of your daily progress towards your fitness goals. On any given day, you see each activity ring separately, plus a combined ring.
You can determine when you fell behind your goals simply by glancing at the color and size of the circles. To quickly see a detailed view of when you were active, tap any day to expand it. You can even expand multiple days to compare your activity.
Or, tap outside any expanded view to close these detailed views. To motivate you more, any time you close one of your activity rings confetti will rain down in Activity++, as seen below.
And if you want to really dive deep to understand better how active you’ve been lately, tap the graph icon in the upper left corner for a convenient summary report of your activity, something Apple’s Activity app does not provide.
In addition to your best day, this screen helps you quickly identify your average performance, the longest streak and a snapshot of what a typical day looks like for you. This simple view is based on historical record of all the fitness data your Apple Watch has collected thus far.
Main view (left), expanded view (middle) and summary (right) in Activity++.
Activity++ will also display how long you have kept a streak of goal achievements going for. Hit your daily goal for a couple of days in a row—that’s a streak. Now, there are several ways you can approach your training regimen to avoid overexercising, and Activity++ can help you with that, too.
Hidden in the app’s settings menu, the Allow Rest Days feature will ensure that your activity streaks won’t be broken if you didn’t train one day after reaching your daily goals over the period of six consecutive days. This lets you take a single day off to give your body some down time to recover without breaking your streak.
Apple Watch goodies
Activity++ provides an Apple Watch app along with a glance and a simple complication.
I’ve found the watch app a bit too simplistic: you cannot scroll through historic data by turning the Digital Crown, nor can you Force Touch the screen to access detailed statistics like in the iPhone app.
That being said, the app’s one-screen approach is better than Apple’s Activity implementation, which requires you to scroll the view horizontally or swipe through pages of data.
Apple Watch app (left), complication (middle) and glance (right).
The glance is virtually indistinguishable from the app itself itself, but it gets the job done. As for the complication, I like that it’s always in monochrome and uses horizontal bars to depict your Move, Exercise and Stand data for the day.
I think the bars give you a better sense of how active you’ve been than the tiny rings on the built-in Activity complication. The bars become brighter to make it clear that you’ve hit your specific goal.
It’s a wrap-up
Activity++ needs iOS 9.3 because it uses Apple’s new APIs which let third-party developers access all three of the activity data types (Move, Exercise and Stand).
Activity++ has a simple interface and virtually no learning curve, with statistics layout that informs the activity data in a way that drives you to hit your daily goals.
“I wanted to try and get away from it being just a historical record and instead be a tool to help you get healthier,” he summed it up nicely.
If you’re an active type who takes advantage of the Apple Watch’s tracking capabilities, Activity++ can give you features not found in Apple’s app, namely detailed overviews of your data, the streaks, the minimalist watch app/glance and the complication based on a more digestible layout.
I wish Smith’s app included other data found in Apple’s Activity, such as total distance or steps taken for the day. That, along with the lack of scrollable month view is my only gripe with this app. The iPhone app, I should mention, lacks 3D Touch, a Notification Center widget and landscape support.
If you’re interested in David’s other ++ apps, check out our reviews of Pedometer++ and Sleep++ or browse his complete app collection on the App Store. Oh, and if you’re into electric cars, Smith has put together a really nicely done nerd’s review of Tesla’s new Model S, it’s a terrific read.
Activity++ requires an iPhone with iOS 9.3 or later (it’s also compatible with an iPod touch and iPad) and an Apple Watch with watchOS 2.2 or later. The app is localized in English, German, Japanese, Simplified Chinese and Spanish.