Moves: A smart pedometer app

Moves, free for iOS (iPhone only)

Timeline

Timeline

Now that spring has sprung, it’s time to get active outdoors! You might be too busy with end-of-semester work to get in a long workout, but maybe Moves can help assuage your guilt.

Moves is a free iPhone app that functions as a smart pedometer - it knows your every move, no fancy bracelet required. I tested it out for a few days last month and was impressed with the level of accuracy and the surprisingly efficient battery usage.

All you have to do is download it and launch the app. Once you turn it on you can forget about it…but don’t forget to grab your phone before you head out! Moves will track your total walking time and distance, as well as the number of steps you take. It can also distinguish between running, cycling, and “transport” (travel as a motor vehicle passenger).

The interface is minimal but elegant. Your numbers show up in attractive colored circles. Touching a circle changes the display of the measurement unit, e.g. from steps walked to total distance walked. Scroll down to see a timeline of your movements throughout the day, with Foursquare locations automatically inserted. Clicking on any of the map excerpts will bring up a full map of your day’s activities. Clicking on the date displays a daily or weekly summary.

I was afraid that my battery would be gone by midday, but Moves is fairly well optimized. It doesn’t use GPS if the phone is still, so it conserves battery power fairly well for an average work, classroom or exam-crunch day. However, if you’re a very heavy iPhone user, or if you’re out on an all-day hiking expedition, you may end up with a dead phone.

I didn’t find any major flaws in my Moves data (but as you can tell from my screenshots, I’m not a hardcore exerciser), but it would be awesome if it could sync with calorie-tracking apps such as MyFitnessPal, or to exercise-specific apps such as RunKeeper. Also, remember that this app only works if you’re carrying the phone on your body, so it’s easiest to implement for people who already keep their phone in their pocket as opposed to those who leave their phone on their desk all day.

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