How to export Apple Health data as a document to share

Here's how to share your data

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What we can do now

Apple has sort of made it possible to export Health data:

  • Open Health, select Health Data from the lower menu
  • Select “All” (it is not possible to export only one data set)
  • In the next screen tap the icon at the top right
  • The Export Health Data item pops up
  • Hit Export and the app will create a .Zip file containing XML data you can email.

If it succeeds, the process takes an age.


When exporting data, the operation frequently fails. The process seems to require significant processing power, why else is it so buggy?

No multitasking, if your device enters lock screen mode the process will fail. Before exporting open Settings>General>Auto-Lock. Set to Never. Now return to Health app and attempt data export.

I’ve noticed Health app frequently crashes when you attempt to export, otherwise the process takes a significant time.

The biggest flaw is once you have your data there is no easy way to make anything useful from it. Apple exports the data as a pair of XML files. Open them and you see gibberish.

There’s an app for that

Unless you happen to be a database demon, there’s no easy way to create useful data from these files. This Apple discussions post offers some ideas, (in Excel), but it is not at all straightforward and requires you install Mac and/or Excel compatible Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) drivers, as often seen in Big Data implementations.

Fortunately, every problem is an opportunity, and developers at Quantified Self have created QS Access, an app that lets you access your HealthKit data in a table you can explore in Excel or Numbers.

This free app is at present the best way to export and analyze the data Health collects. Install the app, give it the permissions it needs, select the data you want to export and it will gather the results and present them in a CSV spreadsheet you can share.

I’m pleased to have found the app, as it makes it easy for me to show how many miles I’ve walked since discovering Apple’s step counter.

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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