The Best & Worst Health and Fitness Apps for 2016

See if your app made either list

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The world of health and fitness apps is constantly growing. The choices for a personal trainer and/or a life coach just a touch away are unlimited. A lot more people will be downloading mobile applications these days as motivation to keep their New Year’s resolutions, most of which include getting fit. How do you make a decision? There are more than 8,000 apps on Google Play and Apple App Store alone.

A report by ARC, the research group of apps analytics company Applause, may help. “With so many options, inevitably there are winner and lagers depending on customers’ reviews,” Applause’s Digital Experience Analyst Ben Gray says.

Researchers analyzed customers’ reviews of 65 brands that have the most popular fitness, medical, nutrition, stress relief, and women’s health apps, based on volume of feedback.

The authors of the research looked at more than 4,000 app store reviews. “Apps are incredibly personal,” Gray says. The quality customers valued the most, according to him, was elegance – how intuitive and easy it is to use the app and discover new features. “People expect the app to work fast, be responsive and not crash.”

On a scale from 0 to 100, the 10 apps that earned above average app quality scores of 66 or greater based on more than 40,000 reviews:

1. Period Calendar / Tracker by ABISHKKING (94.5) [Android | iOS]

2. Relax Melodies by Ipnos Software (88.5) [Android | iOS]

3. Period Tracker by GP Apps (88.5) [Android | iOS]

4. Calorie Counter by MyFitnessPal (83.0) [Android | iOS]

5. Lose It! by FitNow (82.5) [Android | iOS]

6. My Pregnancy Today by BabyCenter (82.5) [Android | iOS]

7. Sleep cycle alarm clock by Northcube (79.5) [Android | iOS]

8. MapMyRun by MapMyFitness (78.5) [Android | iOS]

9. MapMyWalk by MapMyFitness (77.0) [Android | iOS]

10. Runkeeper by FitnessKeeper (72.5) [Android | iOS]

These brands are well received by consumers because of consistent positive feedback on all four attributes.

However, the average quality score for all apps put together is 66. In comparison, the high school passing grade on tests is 65. “There is a lot of room improvement,” Gray says. Apps get rate don their usability, performance, satisfaction and content. Apps that rate poorly tend to not optimize the experience towards mobile moments.

Consumers get frustrated when they discover that the app they downloaded or the external device they purchased is not compatible with their phone. Another problem that annoys them is when certain features didn’t work and the phone had to be turned off and then on.

Just four profiled apps have quality scores less than 50. Consumers have concerns about security, stability, elegance and content.

1. FitBit (49.5) [Android | iOS]

2. Weight Watchers Mobile (47.0) [Android | iOS]

3. Google Fit (37.0) [Android]

4. Garmin Connect Mobile (21.0) [Android | iOS]

That said, the health and fitness apps economy is “relatively healthy,” Gray says.  A lot of companies have listened to what their customers had to say and made significant improvements.

Gray says that some of the most common features that have been added to the apps to make them more user-friendly are personal coach option, video demonstrations of exercises, and social integration. The latter allows you to challenge family and friends.  

Some apps scored a lot of points after improving. The most significant example is UP by Jawbone. It improved 12.5 points on a 100-point scale. “They introduced a new lineup of fitness bands that improved health & fitness monitoring and offer timely notifications,” Gray says. Another added feature is the Smart Coach, which serves as a trusted advisor to guide customers toward a healthier lifestyle.