After Apple announced the Research app at the iPhone launch event in September, the app is now available to download for iPhones and Apple Watch. The availability of the app, however, is only limited to users in the US. The app weighs in at 38.4 MB and can be downloaded for free. According to the App Store listing, the app requires iOS 13.2 and watchOS 6.1 or later to run.
In a tweet yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook called the app "a game changer". Cook said that the app could help "the medical community and help millions lead healthier lives".
The Research app is a game changer. Participants now have the opportunity to securely contribute to research that could lead to new discoveries for the medical community and help millions lead healthier lives. https://t.co/lpa5Al62xE
" Tim Cook (@tim_cook) November 14, 2019
Currently, users in the US can sign up to be part of three health studies: Women's Health, Heart and Movement, and the Hearing Study.
The Women's Health study uses data from the Cycle Tracking app on watchOS 6. It is aimed to improve the scientific understanding of menstrual cycles. The Heart and Movement Study uses the watch to read movement and health rate information. The Hearing Study, however, examines the impact of sound exposure on hearing health and stress levels.
Apple says it can collect information like movement, heart rate, and noise level data for these studies. Apple also clarifies that the Research app will only share data with the studies that the user explicitly signs up to.
This week, Apple also shared some results of its Heart Study, which found that the Apple Watch could accurately detect atrial fibrillation, the most common type of irregular heartbeat.
In related news, earlier this month, Alphabet Inc's Google bought the health tracking company Fitbit for $2.1 billion.