Your iPhone can tell you if you’re at risk of a fall in the next year.
It’s important to check the feature – as it could warn you of “disease or injury”.
This might be a sign of an illness you were previously unaware of.
The feature uses the fact that you carry your iPhone in your pocket.
So it’s very easy for Apple’s technology to monitor how you’re walking.
Inside the Apple Health app, you’ll find a special metric called Walking Steadiness.
“This is an estimate of your stability while walking,” Apple explains.
“Your steadiness is also related to your fall risk.”
“As steadiness goes down, your risk of falling goes up.”
“Walking Steadiness is not an indication of how likely you are to fall in any given moment, but an overall sense of fall risk in the next 12 months.”
It works when you carry your iPhone in a pocket or in a holder near your waist.
If you’ve set up notifications, you’ll also be warned when your steadiness is “low or very low”.
Getting an alert about low steadiness might be a good reason to check in with a doctor.
Of course, it’s worth remembering that you can still have a bad fall even if Apple hasn’t warned you.
Don’t assume elderly relatives are safe because they score high on walking steadiness.
The feature is only there to flag when there may be an issue – a good time to see a health professional.
Walk this way
But Walking Steadiness isn’t the only walking metric your iPhone can track.
In fact, it can also monitor your walking asymmetry, average walking speed, step length, double support time, and stair up-and-down speeds.
Walking asymmetry reveals whether you’ve got an even or uneven walking pattern.
“In a healthy walking pattern, the timing of the steps you take with each foot are very similar,” Apple explains.
“Walking asymmetry is the percent of time your steps with one foot are faster or slower than the other foot.”
“This means the lower the percentage of asymmetry, the healthier your walking pattern.”
Apple adds: “Uneven walking patterns, such as limping, can be a sign of disease, injury or other health issues.”
“An even or symmetrical walk is often an important physical therapy goal when recovering from injury.”
Also interesting is Double Support Time, which is how much of the time both of your feet are on the ground during a walk.
The lower the value, the more time you’re spending with your weight on one foot instead of too.
This can be a sign of better balance, according to Apple.
It will naturally vary depending on terrain and may increase with age.
Changes in strength, coordination and balance can affect your two-foot contact time.
It’s worth checking the Health app to see if there have been any sudden or significant changes to your walking habits.
And if you’re worried about your health, check in with a medical professional.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission.