Apple’s approach to mental health on iPhone and Apple Watch is super intuitive

How to Track mood, anxiety levels and depression scores on iPhone using iOS 17

You heard that right. Your Apple iPhone and Apple Watch now let you track your emotions and moods throughout the day, starting with iOS 17 and watchOS 10.

There is no doubt that our emotions and moods are influenced by the activities we undertake. Researchers have proven that exercise and physical activity, in general, can boost endorphins, reduce cortisol buildup, and make you happier.

Given that your Apple Watch tracks your activity today and if we can marry it with snapshots of our emotional states and moods during the day, we could, in logic, figure out how this interconnects. Which activities make us happier? Which activities could trigger an adverse reaction and more?

Although, we are still far from an automatic emotion detection system. Apple’s iOS 17 and Apple Watch provide a new set of features that makes capturing your moods in an easy manner.

So, let’s dive in.

Related Reading:

Apple takes a closer look at your mental health Mental health check ins on iPhone and Apple Watch

You can log your state of mind during and at the end of the day using the Apple Watch’s Mindfulness app and the iPhone/iPad’s Health app. These logs help you connect the dots between how and why you feel a particular way.

You scroll through engaging, multidimensional shapes and choose how you’re feeling in a range from Very Pleasant to Very Unpleasant, with a middle ground of neutral when you’re not feeling particularly pleasant or unpleasant.

Then, the app asks you to describe your current mood in more detail to help you understand how you’re feeling and responding at that moment. Choices include anger, anxiety, calm, frustration, gratitude, and so forth.

Next, you select associations with the biggest impact on your feelings, like family, work, health, money, travel, and more. Adding this impact helps you contextualize your current feelings, see patterns, and make connections between the cause and its effect on you. 

Let’s look at some of these new mental health-focused offerings from Apple.

How to log your emotions using Apple WatchHow to log emotions on Apple Watch

Apple has made it super easy for users to log in to their emotional states directly on their Apple Watch with watchOS 10+.

  1. Open the Mindfulness app on your Apple Watch.
  2. Tap on State of Mind Log. Mindfulness app log state of mind Apple Watch
  3. Tap on Log How you’re feeling right now (or you can also choose how you feel today.) Log how you feel right now or today via Apple Watch Mindfulness app
  4. Now, scroll on this screen and identify the emotion that best suits your state of mind. State of mind log for unpleasant to pleasant on Apple Watch Mindfulness app
  5. Tap on the check mark on the top right corner of the screen–this is sometimes difficult to see.
  6. On the optional next screen, you can further define the emotion using additional words to help you narrow down what you feel. Scroll the full list to see all your options. Words that describe feelings on Apple Watch Mindfulness app
  7. Now, try to identify what’s triggering and causing those emotions, and ask yourself what’s having the biggest impact on you right now. Scroll the list to see all your options. Biggest impact on your feelings in Apple Mindfulness app
    1. If you want to add more detail, like identifying a particular situation at work, tap the Add Context button at the bottom and type in or discuss further details. Apple Watch Mindfulness app state of mind add context
  8. Once done, you see the message ‘logged.’

The application also checks with you to see if you would like reminders for logging periodically. Apple’s suggestion is to try and log your emotional state at least twice a day. Automatic reminders for logging moods on apple watch

Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and tap on ‘Enable.’ That’s it! You have successfully logged in to your first emotion.

While you can log your state of mind with the Mindfulness app, you need to use your iPhone’s or iPad’s Health app to review your entries and identify patterns.

How to log and review your emotion logs on your iPhone

Using the Health app, users can see valuable insights to identify what might be contributing to their state of mind — associations or lifestyle factors, such as sleep or exercise — and can use these insights to better manage their overall health.

Log your state of mind using Apple’s Health app

  1. Open the Health App on your iPhone or iPad running iOS 17+.
  2. Tap on Browse at the bottom of your screen and choose Mental Wellbeing.mental wellbeing on apple health iOS 17
  3. To create a log on your iPhone, locate State of Mind and tap it. If you’ve never created a log, scroll down and look under No Data Available. iPad and iPhone Apple Health app log state of mind
    1. Tap the Log button to start your log. Apple Health app log state of mind
    2. Follow the prompts to enter how you’re feeling right now or today.Apple Health app for iPhone and iPad log emotional state
    3. Choose words from the provided list that describe that feeling and identify what category has the biggest impact on why you feel that way. Apple Health app state of mind describe feelings and impacts on feelings
    4. To add more personalized information, tap Additional Context and add more detail.

Review your emotional log inside the Health app on your iPhone or iPad

  1. Once you log your state of mind via Apple Watch’s Mindfulness or Apple Health apps, look under Browse > Mental Wellbeing > Today to find the last log entry.How to review your mood log on your iPhone
  2. Tap on this log entry. The next series of screens help you review any insights. Trends in mental wellbeing Apple Health app
  3. Tap on Show in Charts to see all your mood logs and tabs for states, associations, and life factors. Tap through each tab to see the most information.State of Mind Apple Health trends for mental wellbeing
  4. Important metrics, such as your total exercise minutes, mindful minutes, sleep, and more, are available in the ‘Life Factors’ section. Apple Health app life factors that contribute to mental health and wellbeing in the iPhone and iPad Health app

How to check for anxiety and depression using your iPhone

The State of Mind, as Apple calls it, helps users review their emotional scores, understand linkages between their lifestyle and emotional states, and provides them with questionnaire tools so they can self-access for depression and such.

To access these questionnaires, tap on the ‘Mental Health Questionnaire’ on the State of Mind screen.

Mental Health Check tool on iPhone iOS 17

This brings you to a mental health questionnaire screen that has a set of 16 easy questions with a selection of multiple-choice answers.

How to check Anxiety and Depression scores on iPhone
Apple automatically shows you the results in terms of an Anxiety Score and a Depression score

Once you have completed these questions, your results are immediately available on the next screen.

How to export a PDF with your Mental Health Scores and questions

The same depression and anxiety assessments often used in clinics are now easily accessible in the Health app and can be taken anytime.

Apple uses two standard questionnaires to assess your anxiety risk and your risk of depression.

  • The Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire-7 (called the GAD-7) is a 7-question tool healthcare professionals use to screen and measure someone’s anxiety symptoms over a two-week period.
  • The Patient Health Questionaire-9 (called the PHQ-9) is a 9-question test healthcare professionals use to screen and measure someone’s depression symptoms over a two-week period.

These assessments can help users determine their risk level, connect to resources available in their region, and create a PDF to share with their doctor.

You find a score for Anxiety and another score for Depression.

Users have the ability to export PDFs, and this one-page, beautiful-looking pdf highlights your anxiety and depression score along with a summary of your answers. This makes sending it to your therapist or mental health professional easy.How to export a PDF report of your mental health in IOS 17

Another beautiful design component is that once you finish taking the anxiety and depression questions, your score is automatically logged in the Mental Wellbeing Dashboard.

Mental Health Resources in the Health App

Apple has provided a set of fabulous resources on this page.

Not only can you save your anxiety and depression report and share it with your therapist, but you also access important mental health resources right from this screen.Supplemental mental health resources on iPhone

  • Reach the National Side Prevention Lifeline by calling 988 straight from this screen.
  • Or SMS the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Apple has also provided additional reading resources on the screen that you, hopefully, find valuable.

Insights and analytics from the collected information

Apple developers have done a fantastic job when it comes to providing users with some actionable insights from the log/journal actions.Mental Wellbeing Reports on iPhone

When you tap on any of the mental state entries in the Mental Wellbeing screen, it launches some very interesting features:

  1. A detailed questionnaire relating to the mental state of mind is made available. Here, as you can see, I can access the Depression Risk Questionnaire.
  2. The chart on the top of the screen classifies all your depression risk scores into four categories: None to Minimal, Mild, Moderate, Moderately Severe, and Severe.

We love how the information flows easily from one screen to the next, making it easier for users to not only examine their scores but derive very useful insights by taking these questionnaires and examining their entries over weeks or months.

This is a great start. We are hopeful that Apple will someday find a way to automate the process of capturing emotional states.

Apple has done an amazing job with these new mental health-focused offerings. Please let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or insights to share.

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Sudz Niel Kar
I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products, have a BS in Computer Science and an MBA specializing in emerging tech, and owned the popular site AppleToolBox. In my day job, I advise Fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health and fitness-tech evolution and keeping a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships, and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch Ultra or Samsung Galaxy Watch and closely monitor my HRV and other recovery metrics.


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