Set Medication Reminders in iOS 16 Beta


Of all the Health app features introduced in the iOS 16 beta, the new Medicines feature is arguably the most practical. According to the CDC, 48.6 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug a day. Unfortunately, an NIH study found that 30 to 50 percent of patients are not on long-term medications — in other words, they are not on their medication schedule. This is a problem costing health care hundreds of millions of dollars a year† However, in iOS 16 beta, you can log and schedule medications you take and set reminders on your iPhone or Apple Watch. You can also share your medication list with relatives or healthcare providers.

Third-party medication reminder apps have been around for a long time, but this is the first time it’s been included by default in Apple’s Health app. And while the jury is still out on how effective these reminder apps are, experts said The edge That this feature is a step in the right direction, especially if forgetfulness is the main reason you are having trouble taking medication on a regular basis.

Aside from reminders, the Medications feature also allows you to export your medication list and will alert you if there are any drug interactions that you should be aware of. You can also archive medicines that you no longer need to use.

A note on privacy: according to Privacy Policy of Apple’s Health app, any device locked with a passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID will automatically encrypt your health data (aside from your medical ID), making it “inaccessible by default.” If you’re using iOS 12 or later, enabling two-factor authentication also prevents Apple from reading health and activity data synced to iCloud. If you’re concerned about keeping your medications private, it’s a good idea to make sure you use these safeguards.

Set your reminders

To get started, go to the Health app and tap the To leaf through tab. Scroll down and tap the medicines menu and then the Add a medicine choice.

From here, there are two ways to enter which medications you are taking: use your phone’s camera or search by the name of the medication.

Using your camera

You can scan a bottle or box to load your medication.

  • If you have a prescription bottle handy, tap the Camera icon and take a picture of the label.
  • Grant permission for the Health app to access your camera.
  • Tap Get started and place your prescription bottle or box in the center of the frame.
  • You should then see a list of possible matches. Select the correct one. If it does not appear, you can choose to add the drug through a manual search by clicking the . to tap Search by name button at the bottom of the screen. (See below for more info.)
  • Here you will be asked to select your medication frequency. You can choose from three options: On a regular basisOn specific days of the weekor If necessary
  • if you chose On a regular basisenter how often you plan to take the medication (e.g., every day, every other day, every four days, etc.).
  • if you chose On specific days of the weekenter the days on which you should take the medicines.
  • In either case, select a start date and tap Done
  • The next screen allows you to schedule when to take your medications. Press green plus icon under the Time of Day heading and enter the desired time and dose. You can add different times if needed. You can also specify the dosage (one teaspoon, two tablets, etc.) by tapping the dosage to the right of each time.
  • Tap Next one
  • Choose from a selection of pill shapes when prompted, scroll down and tap Next one† (You can skip this part if you want.)
  • If you did choose a pill shape, you can choose the color for the pill shape you selected, as well as the background. Tap Next one
  • View details and add optional comments. This is when you can add a display name for your drugs if you want more privacy.

And you’re done!

Using Search

Step-by-step screenshots of manually adding medication in iOS 16 public beta

You can also manually enter your medications and then select the type and dosage.

  • Type the name of your medication in the search bar and select the name that appears.
  • You will then be asked to select the type of medication (ie tablet, extended-release tablet, liquid-filled capsule, etc.).
  • Then enter your dosage.
  • From here you can follow the steps described above.

Once you’ve entered all your medications, you’ll receive notifications on your iPhone to take your medications at the times you’ve designated. When you tap the notification, you will be prompted to either mark everything as registered, log each medication individually, or snooze the alert for 10 minutes. You can also do this from the Apple Watch, but you’ll need to install the watchOS 9 public beta first.

Register your medicines immediately

If you accidentally miss a notification, you can also log your medicines directly in the Health app on the iPhone or the Medicines app on the Apple Watch.

on the iPhone

  • Of the To leaf through tab in the Health app, scroll down and tap the medicines menu.
  • Below the Log subsection, press the plus button next to the medication you want to log.
  • You can either tap Mark all as taken or tap under each drug listed skipped or Taken
  • To change details such as time and dosage, tap the blue link below the drug’s name and dose.

On the Apple Watch

Medication logging screen displayed on Apple Watch Series 7

Logging from the Apple Watch is easy.

  • press the Digital crown to access your apps. The Medicines app icon is a blue and green pill on a white background.
  • Scroll down to Your medicines
  • Tap the individual medication. If you want to change the dose and time, you can do this by pressing the Amount taken and Time taken tests. When you’re satisfied, tap Log

Archive and export your medicines

Be aware of which drugs you upload as you cannot delete them. (This is iOS 16 beta, so this may change.) However, you can archive medications you no longer use.

To archive a drug:

  • Below the Your medicines list, swipe left on the medication you want to archive. You should see a yellow one Archive button appear.
  • Press Archive knob.
  • You can also tap the blue one edit link next to the Your medicines subsection.
  • Tap the blue file box icon next to the medication you want to archive. It will then appear below in the Archived medicines list.
  • If you are going to use the medication again later and want to add it to your list from the archive, tap the green plus icon in addition to the medication.

If you’re filing a drug, keep in mind that it won’t show up in your drug list or schedules. It will also not appear if you choose to export a PDF of your medication list.

To export your medication list:

  • Go to the To leaf through tab and scroll down to the medicines menu.
  • Find the blue one Drug List Export PDF clutch.
  • Tap the link. You will see your name, date of birth and a list of your current medications.
  • To complete the export, tap the Share icon in the top right corner.
  • From there, you can choose how you want to share the PDF (e.g. AirDrop, Text, Email, Print, etc.).

And that’s it. The installation process may take some time if you are taking a lot of medications or want to register over-the-counter medications such as Advil, Allegra, or Prilosec. You have the option to be as thorough as you want and you can always add more medicine later if needed.

Photography by Victoria Song / The Verge


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