Period-tracking apps have been around for a while now, but they’ve more recently entered the discourse in our post-Roe world. Since many of these apps collect a trove of sensitive data by default, and because they are not protected by HIPAA, it makes sense that menstruating people would feel on edge about sharing info that, if subpoenaed, could imply pregnancy, miscarriage, and more.
We're currently testing a bunch of these apps, and at risk of spoiling our findings, it's rough out there. Remember the Mozilla Foundation's *Privacy Not Included buyer’s guide, which evaluated 18 period tracking apps based on privacy? Three apps that are so popular we couldn't not try them were on this list and did not meet Mozilla's privacy requirements.
That’s why we can rate period apps as helpful, rather than straight-up healthy, in that they can offer helpful insight into someone’s cycle. This is true whether you’re trying to predict when your next period is coming, want to maintain some sort of record to track symptoms and share them with your doctor, or to add a layer to fertility tracking. (That being said, using only an ovulation tracking app to prevent pregnancy is statistically not very effective, so talk to your gynecologist about other birth control methods.)
BUT, given very real and valid concerns about user data safety, we can’t completely throw our weight behind recommending a period-tracking app.
You still might want to use one, though, and that’s totally cool! As long as you’re going in aware of the potential privacy violations and have a plan for how to use it in a way that makes you feel safe and comfortable, there are some good options, and we are testing five different apps for one full menstrual cycle. So far, we found Clue to be the best period app overall, Cycles to be the best for couples, and Life to be the best no-frills budget option. But stay tuned for our in-depth review, coming soon!
Do you use a period-tracking app? Respond with a 🩸. Won’t find one on your phone because you don’t feel they protect your privacy? Respond with a 🚫.
Melanie, editor at Nessie Sightings