Study shows mobile apps are inaccurate fitness trackers

The results of new research from the University of Toronto looked into the top three applications.

The outcome of a new study, conducted by the University of Toronto, has revealed that the three most downloaded mobile apps for fitness tracking aren’t nearly as accurate as their users likely believe them to be.

The U of T study indicated that fitness apps have a notably lower accuracy rate than regular pedometers.

When it comes to measuring how much a person walks in a day, standard pedometers were found to be considerably more accurate than the top three downloaded mobile apps that are meant to be used for the same purpose. This is concerning as those applications have been increasing in their popularity and are used by people who are attempting to motivate themselves to reach a more healthful physical activity level every day.

While messaging mobile apps remain the most popular, health and fitness applications have high engagement rates.

Mobile Apps - Fitness appIn fact, a Flurry Analytics survey conducted last September on behalf of Yahoo Canada actually showed that health and fitness apps scored higher on their engagement rate. It is estimated that they are on 11 percent of smartphones. There may be fewer of them than messaging apps, but they cause greater engagement with their users than those more popular rivals.

Due to this high engagement rate, it has made this type of mobile application extremely appealing to companies of all sizes. Everyone from giants to tiny startups are trying to carve out a piece of the market for themselves.

Unfortunately, in this haste to take part, it doesn’t look as though all the participants are taking the care that would be required to make sure their mobile apps are as accurate for users as the main alternative – using a traditional pedometer. The apps that were considered by the study included Moves, Runtastic and Accupedo. The authors of the report stated that “the most commonly downloaded smartphone applications are neither valid nor consistent in measuring step counts.” Several tests were run on both Android and Apple devices in order to allow the researchers to come to this conclusion.

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