If you feel like you’re relaxing your head a lot while sitting at your desk, playing video games, or standing at the bus stop, an app for iPhone can help, as long as you’re wearing AirPods.
PosturePal uses motion tracking in iOS 15 that can determine the position of your head while wearing AirPods and alert you if your posture is poor.
Available on the App Store for free, with a one-time purchase to unlock all its features for $1.99 / £1.99 / AU$2.49, the design is fun and easy to use. You are greeted with a character who reacts with whether or not you tilt your head correctly, and once you are done, you get a score.
TechRadar spoke with the developer Jordi BruinOn how Posture Pal will emerge, and its future plans to help more users put their heads up.
Chat with the developer
App development can take anywhere from a week to six months. But for Bruin, it was a little shorter.
“I got the first version up and running within 10 minutes in October of last year,” Bruin reveals. “The API was very straightforward and I found some good code on GitHub, which allowed me to test if the idea was possible.”
With PosturePal available for iOS users with iPhones and AirPods, we asked if there are any challenges that may still need to be resolved. “Since I only have access to AirPods Max at the moment, I am unable to test all the different supported headphones,” Bruin explains. “The problem with regular AirPods and AirPods Pro is that a lot of people wear them the wrong way. For example, by tilting them forward too much. I know how I want to fix them, but it’s hard to test when I have to borrow AirPods from friends.”
The app can benefit your back, neck and shoulders from using it only once a day, thanks to its gentle nudge to make sure your head is straight. We wondered if Bruin was also feeling the benefits of PosturePal. “For me, the main thing that has helped me is to keep my posture at the top of my mind. I don’t use the app in every work session [yet], but I want it. Bruin continues. I’m trying to make it easier for myself to keep track of my posture by adding things like support for shortcuts to start a session automatically when AirPods are connected. “
When trying the app on the train, we’ll experience the sounds and vibrations of PosturePal, telling us to keep our heads straight. We asked Bruin if there were plans to provide a push notification instead.
“Notifications are planned for an update coming soon. But I’m currently trying to understand why people prefer a notification rather than a (more accurate) sound through the AirPods they’re already wearing.” Bruin explains. “However, we will likely add a simple notification option that we can try out and get feedback on.”
Gadgets have become popular since their arrival in iOS 14 and iPadOS 15, but they’re currently missing from PosturePal, which seems like an easy win. We asked Bruin if they were coming. “Yeah, sure. We wanted to make this first release small and focused on the user experience but you can expect a full view of history, progression over time, tools, and more.”
Bruin sees the app as a game, which you can distinguish from the cute giraffe and colorful user interface, could it be the leaderboards or the multiplayer options to compete with friends and family on the cards? “I searched the leaderboards in Game Center, but since I’ve never built anything with that, I didn’t want to go far down the rabbit hole for the initial launch,” Bruin reveals. “Since the app tracks something you might think of in ‘Health’ data, I’m hesitant to focus too much on engagement at the moment, but that’s definitely something to think about.”
Finally, the rumored Apple AR/VR headset could be a perfect fit with PosturePal in combination with AirPods, so we asked Bruin if he thinks the app will take advantage of that hardware when it’s released. “I would expect any future headset to have similar APIs to track head/eye movement in a similar way, so it will definitely be interesting to integrate if you get to this point.”