Since blogging is a rather sedentary profession, many of us at TUAW try to find another way to stay in shape. Walking and running provide a good aerobic workout, so a lot of us have picked up one of the popular fitness metrics devices to help track our daily mileage.
Whether that device is a Fitbit, a Nike FuelBand or some other connected activity tracker, it's usually stuck to a belt loop or shirt so we can track every step. Features vary from brand to brand, but the core functionality is almost always a pedometer that tracks strides and extrapolates your activity level from the number of steps you take in a day.
Moves (free) is a new app based on a simple premise -- why do you need a separate activity tracker gadget that you can lose, forget or damage when you already have your iPhone with you almost all the time?
Moves tracks your activity simply by running in the background on your phone, using the phone's accelerometer to estimate your step count and Location Services to keep track of where you are.
Of course, for iPhone owners, the words "background" and "Location Services" bring up a mental alert about the times that you've used other location-aware apps -- and watched your iPhone charge level drop like an Acme anvil from the sky. The developers at ProtoGeo Oy admit right up front that "continued use of GPS running in the background can dramatically decrease battery life."
The developers say that their goal "was to create an app that will keep your phone running fine if you charge it nightly." In actual day-to-day use, I'd say they've met their goal. I've been using the app for five days on an iPhone 5 and have never completely run out of juice prior to plugging in the device at night. It's been close, though -- and without Moves running I usually have about half of my charge left every night.
With that acknowledged, and knowing that the Lightning-equipped iPhone 5 battery cases that could extend your power profile aren't quite shipping yet, does Moves actually work? Like the Fitbit and Nike FuelBand, it records your daily walking and running as well as other movement-based exercise. Like Runkeeper and similar apps, you can use Moves to track the amount of distance you cycle. Moves recognizes those different activities and displays a pulsing circle for each. Walking is measured in steps taken, while cycling and running are totaled in miles or kilometers.