Skip to main content

Table 1 Accuracy problems in studies using physiological measurements by smartphone apps

From: Smartphones in mental health: a critical review of background issues, current status and future concerns

Measure App Smartphone Participants Finding Study
Blood pressure Instant Blood Pressure iPhone 5 and 6. 85 patients and staff; 53% with hypertension. Measures “were highly inaccurate” Plante et al. (2016)
Heart rate Instant Heart Rate
Heart Fitness
Whats My Heart Rate
Cardio Version
iPhone 4 and 5. 108 patients, exluding those in critical condition. “substantial performance differences” between the four apps Coppetti et al. (2017)
Heart rate
Blood pressure
Oxygen saturation
Instant Blood Pressure
Instant Blood Pressure Pro
Pulse Oximeter
Pulse oximeter Pro
iPhone 5S 100 healthy participants “applications evaluated do not provide clinically meaningful data” “inaccurate data.. can potentially contribute to patient harm” Alexander et al. (2017)
Heart rate Runtastic Heart Rate Monitor
Instant heart rate+
iPhone 15 regularly active college students “Poor correlation to ECG” during moderate to high intensity exercise Bouts et al. (2018)
Step counting Argus: calorie counter and step Android phones: Samsung, OnePlus, Moto, Oppo, Galazy, Huawei, LG, Google, Sony and Agora running Android
4.4 to 8.1
Apple: iPhone 6, 6S, 7, 8, running iOS10.3–11.4.
48 healthy participants “extraordinarily large error ranges for both..phones”
“appear unsuitable to detect steps in short, slow, or non-stereotypical gait patterns”
Brodie et al. (2018)
Sleep Sleep time iPhone 4 s and 5 20 participants with no sleep disorder “absolute parameters and sleep staging…. correlate poorly with polysomnography” Bhat et al. (2015)
Sleep MotionX 24/7 iPhone 4 78 children and adolescents with suspected sleep disordered breathing “did not accurately reflect sleep or wake and should be used with caution” Toon et al. (2016)