Starting with iOS 9.3, third-party app developers can tap into Apple Watch activity data like move and stand goal progress as well as exercise duration. Developer David Smith has used that new capability to create an alternative dashboard to Apple’s Activity app on iPhone and Apple Watch. The new app is called Activity++ (following Pedometer++ and Sleep++) and it’s out for iPhone and Apple Watch today. Here’s what it offers:
First, there’s a design difference between the Apple Watch complication (watch face widget) set of Apple’s Activity and David Smith’s Activity++ apps.
Apple originally used monochromatic circles for the Activity ring complication for the Utility watch face with watchOS 1, then changed to a colorful Activity ring which is easier to decipher but aesthetically less neutral with watchOS 2. Apple doesn’t offer a way to revert to the monochromatic Activity complication with watchOS 2 and the Utility face (you have to use the Simple watch face for monochrome), so Activity++ addresses that by using a monochromatic complication. You can easily tell the two apart, too, as Activity++ relies on bars versus circles. Just note that top the bar is Move, center bar is Exercise, and bottom bar is Stand and you’ll be rewarded with three solid stripes at the end of the day which looks pretty cool.
Similarly you’ll notice that the language is different and potentially clearer on the large Activity++ complication for the Modular watch face compared to Apple’s Activity complication: David Smith’s reads MOVE, EXERCISE, and STAND; Apple’s reads CAL, MIN, and HOUR for the same goals. The Activity++ glance, which you can access with a swipe up from the watch face, combines graphical and numerical visuals to your Activity data which is appealing for data-focused users.
Back on the iPhone, Activity++ features an alternative dashboard that focuses on daily move, exercise, and stand goal progress. The dashboard will show you each day plus how many calories you burned, how many minutes you exercised, and how many different hours you stood and moved around for at least one minute; streaks for each metric are celebrated by being boxed together and labeled with the number of days it continued.
You can tap any day of the week to view a more detailed graph of each day. This features a slick animation, and opening one graph doesn’t close other graphs so you can compare multiple days.
There’s no landscape view even on the Plus-sized iPhones, though, and like Apple’s Activity app, there’s no 3D Touch options on 6s-series iPhones. You can, however, long-press on any date and jump to that specific date on your calendar to see context about what you scheduled for that day. Similarly, a Notification Center widget would make Activity++ stand out further from Apple’s Activity app, but neither have widgets yet (although I’d bet Activity++ would gain it first).
If you’re looking for insights into your activity behaviors, Activity++ features a statistics view which presents historical bests and a general overview of how you’ve been doing on your move, stand, and exercise goals.
Finally, Activity++ celebrates daily goal completions rather than only awarding 7-day streaks. By default, Activity++ will even allow you to miss one day in between activities to accommodate a rest period without breaking a streak. When you meet a daily activity goal, Activity++ will even explode confetti within the app. The idea here is that it’s okay to take a break during the week and have an off day or alternate workout days, and your achievements should still be celebrated, which is smart.
Overall, the app is a neat, alternative dashboard to Apple’s Activity app if you use the Apple Watch to track your fitness data. I’m personally a big fan of Apple’s Activity app design, but Activity++ has a useful approach to goals and streaks that will be more encouraging and practical for a lot of people.
Activity++ on the Apple Watch does face some noticeable speed issues like most Apple Watch apps (which could be remedied with faster hardware in the future) and I personally prefer Apple’s colorful Activity rings myself, but I can you can use parts of Activity and Activity++ to improve your tracking (I prefer the Activity++ glance, for instance).
Activity++ for iPhone and Apple Watch is available for $2.99 on the App Store.