Moves review: Tracks physical activity well, but drains battery

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The Good Moves does a terrific job tracking and displaying your activity on a daily and weekly basis. The user-interface isn't cluttered or busy.

The Bad Despite claims that improvements and updates have eased battery strain, the app still drains the battery on most iOS devices. Only iPhone 5S users benefit from the Battery Saving option.

The Bottom Line At just under $3, Moves will give you a similar experience to that of the Fitbit Force or Jawbone UP, both of which cost over $100. Any iPhone 5S owners who are on the fence about activity trackers need to give Moves a shot.


7.5 Overall
  • Setup 9
  • Features 7
  • Interface 8
  • Performance 7

Moves is yet another way for people to track how active they are. The app isn't new; it originally launched in December 2012, and, at the time, it was a radical idea. Moves required a user to carry his or her iPhone at all times, and it would magically track and count steps.

Fast forward to today, when Apple has included the M7 chip in the iPhone 5S, with its sole purpose being to track the movement of the device. Moves was recently updated to take advantage of this addition to the iOS hardware, and the price went from free to $2.99.

The app still requires you to carry your iPhone on you at all times to get an accurate count of your activity throughout the day, but the GPS and battery consumption are improved with the latest update.

After installing the app you are prompted to either sign in or start from scratch. New iPhone 5S users will have to grant Moves permission to access Motion Activity information stored on the device, along with access to use the device's GPS. Those who don't have an iPhone 5S will only need to grant location permission to the app.

Moves not only tracks how many steps you take throughout the day, but it also tracks where you go and plots it on a map.

When you first start using the app you'll see your current location plotted, with a small thumbnail of a map which you can expand by tapping on it. You can then name the location and view your GPS bread trail.

A step count will always be available at the top of your activity listing. This count takes a few seconds to update after launching the app. I'm not sure what else is going on behind the scenes during this time. When using other M7-enabled apps, the step count is already updated when I launch the apps. I believe it's putting together the activity timeline and matching up step counts with locations. It would be nice to get the overall step count upon launch, and then fill in the activity feed.

The size of the green circle, in which you'll find your step count, increases based on the number of steps you've taken during the day. You can also tap on the circle to view stats such as distance, amount of time you were active, and an optional calorie count. For the runners and cyclists using the app, you'll find your activities color coded: a blue circle represents cycling, and a pink circle represents running.

Moves requires you to leave the app running in the background at all times. So if you force-close or restart your device, you'll receive an alert letting you know Moves has stopped and that you'll need to relaunch the app to get it up and running again. One issue I have with this is the flood of notifications you get after relaunching the app. Every morning, Moves will send you an alert letting you know how many steps you had the previous day, and if you set a new record for activity. But if you need to restart your device, or you close the app on accident, then relaunching it brings up the same notifications again. It's a minor complaint, and something that shouldn't require too much work to fix in a future update.