eXtensions - Saturday 24 June 2017

Update to Nokia Health Mate - Data now Synchronising with Apple Health app (amended)

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By Graham K. Rogers

Health Mate

A couple of days ago, the Withings Health app that I had been using with the blood pressure monitor, and which synchronises data to and from the Apple Health app, was updated. Following the takeover of Withings by Nokia, the app was completely redesigned and is now named Nokia Health Mate.

The update gave users a totally new interface which was clearer and easier to read, but does not suit everyone. I found I was having to relearn how to use the app. With comments online about the interface, and my couple of days' use of the app, I feel that while the stark pages do display the data clearly, access to data within the app is not so easy to find, compared to the Withings version that had everything displayed up front.

Unfortunately the update broke the links to Apple Health and although previous data was displayed and the Nokia app took input from Health, data from the Nokia app was no longer available in Health. My main concern was with the blood pressure readings and I checked both apps, making sure the right buttons were selected, but the blood pressure data, shown in Health Mate, was no longer being transferred to Health.

A small update the next morning did not change this, but I did notice that a Guest button had been added. This had been a feature in the Withings app and is useful for ad hoc checking of others, without the need to set up an account. I had not seen this in the initial release of Health Mate.

I wrote to Nokia and a reply a few hours later recognised that a number of users had found the same problem. This was a relief in a way, as it was less likely to be a problem with my iPhone; and with the developer acknowledging the problem, an early fix was more likely. This was confirmed in a follow-up email from Nokia's Support staff who confirmed that the issue was being forwarded to the iOS team: the heavy guns.

A number of suggestions were put forward in that first email, including a reinstall of the app. I did this and all my data was re-entered: downloaded from Withings/Nokia, but the Health app now had no blood pressure readings at all from the device.

This morning another email arrived from Nokia with some smart formatting and a mea culpa along with an announcement that a new version of the app was now available which had rectified the "issues with Apple Health integration". I immediately downloaded the update to the app and within a few minutes data began to appear in Apple Health, so the update has apparently been successful.

Nokia email

Nokia has recognised that there was a problem. There was no hiding of this from users. Their support staff shared that with me (and I presume other users). They have communicated with me on a number of occasions about the problem and, after just over a day, a fix has been provided.

Many large companies dither and obfuscate, adding delays to a fix. Nokia has grasped the problem and dealt with it.

Additional notes: although Health was quickly seeded with previously created data, when I tried the blood pressure monitor after the update, the readings were initially not shown in the app. I tried quitting both Health Mat and Health, but it was not until I restarted the iPhone that the data for the check appeared.

I later tried again, and despite several readings in Health Mate, these were not initially shown in Health. I tried quitting both apps again, and when I accessed the data in Health mate - clicking on the readings to expand them - the Health app updated: an unusual stickiness. . . .

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)



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