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Health Connect will finally let apps sync more than 1 month of data

Health Connect is adding support for background reads and history reads.
By

Published onMay 15, 2024

Android Health Connect hero
Mishaal Rahman / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Health Connect is adding support for history reads, which lets users give apps access to all stored data.
  • Previously, Health Connect could only share the past 30 days worth of data with apps.
  • Also, Health Connect will soon let apps read health data while in the background.

Finding the right health and fitness tracker app can be tough because everyone’s personal fitness goals are different. Many people use multiple services so they don’t miss out on a particular feature offered by one of them, but using multiple services can be a hassle since there’s now multiple places to check their health data. That’s why Google created Health Connect, an Android service that acts as a one-stop shop for the user’s health and fitness data.

Health Connect was introduced two years ago at Google I/O 2022. The premise is that health and fitness apps currently store their data in different ways because they’re made by different developers. This makes it difficult for them to share data with one another, since each developer has to write code to convert data from other apps into data that their app can recognize. Health Connect solves this problem by defining its own way to store health data, so apps only need to write code to support Health Connect and not the myriad of other health and fitness apps out there.

While the idea behind Health Connect was good, it lacked a lot of features at the start. Fortunately, Google has steadily made improvements to the Health Connect platform, most notably baking it into the OS with the Android 14 update. Now at Google I/O 2024, the company has announced a number of improvements to Health Connect that should make it even more useful.

During the “What’s new in Android Health” session, Google revealed that Health Connect will soon add support for history reads. Apps can currently only read the past 30 days worth of data that other apps have contributed to Health Connect. Limiting apps to the past 30 days of data made it so you couldn’t easily migrate your entire health data history from one app to another, so it’s good to see Google remove this limitation.

Another improvement to Health Connect is the ability for apps to do background reads. This enables apps to read data from Health Connect while they’re in the background. Currently, apps need to either run a foreground service (which requires showing a persistent notification) or wait for the user to open them before they can sync with Health Connect.

Google says that both the background reads and history reads capabilities are locked behind new permissions. The Health Connect app has added two new runtime permissions, one for background reads and one for history reads, that the user needs to explicitly grant to apps. After granting approval, users can revoke access at any time through Health Connect’s settings.

These Health Connect updates are coming later this year. Google didn’t say exactly when, but I’ve already spotted evidence of these new permissions in the Health Connect app shipped in the Android 15 beta. It’s possible this update will roll out with the Android 15 release before being backported to Android 14 through a Google Play System Update and to earlier releases through an update to the Health Connect app on Google Play.

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