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Best period tracking apps: how to monitor your cycle using your phone

(Image credit: Clue)

Periods are no fun but they're a necessary evil for many of us. Problems lie in the fact that they can be unpredictable throughout your life, causing different symptoms and hormonal changes that are worth keeping an eye on in case of more sinister underlying issues. 

That's where a period tracker app can be at its most useful, allowing you to keep an eye on your cycle and see if anything is amiss. Alternatively, if you're trying to conceive, it's useful to learn exactly when you're at your most fertile. 

While wearables like Fitbits, Garmins and Apple Watches offer basic cycle tracking facilities, you can't beat a dedicated period tracking app. Here are a selection of a few of the best out there.  

(Image credit: Clue)

Clue

Simple, clear and accurate when tracking

Very simple to use 
Extensive symptom tracking options 
Slightly buggy at times
Doesn't spot potential medical conditions 

Clue is easily the most attractive looking period tracking app out there. Its interface is straightforward. Simply tap Enter Today's Data and you can easily input a variety of different physical symptoms and emotional feelings that you may have experienced that day. That includes the basics like bleeding and cramps, but also covers how you're feeling mentally, whether you've had sex that day, and how healthy your skin feels. 

The more you use it, the smarter Clue gets, predicting when you should feel certain common symptoms relating to you. The best part is that everything about Clue is laid out in a very appealing way so you won't have to spend too long each day updating it with how you're feeling. It's free to use with a subscription plan that uses the money raised to research further into menstrual health. 

(Image credit: Period Tracker)

Period Tracker Period Calendar

Not a catchy name but a very useful app

 Extensive symptom tracking 
 Offers free self-care advice 
Premium service needed for bulk of self-care 
Overly cute interface 

Period Tracker Period Calendar has an incredibly forgettable name and it's a little on the cutesy side, however, it also has some very useful features if you're concerned about your cycle. With options for tracking mostly every symptom imaginable (and some you may not have thought of), the app encourages you to examine your breasts regularly and take good self-care measures. It also offers free exercises that should help you both mentally and physically when trying to relieve some of your suffering. 

With plenty of tracking tools, Period Tracker Period Calendar is pretty good at suggesting when there's a high chance of pregnancy or not (although we don't advocate relying upon it), as well as detecting when certain symptoms may arise, ensuring you shouldn't be caught by surprise any time soon. It may look overly cute but it's surprisingly smart where it counts. 

(Image credit: Eve)

Eve

Almost fun with plenty of varied information

Offers more than just period tracking 
Keeps things light-hearted 
Bit convoluted to use at times 
You need Premium to get the most from it 

Tracking your period isn't exactly fun but Eve is easily the nearest to fun that you can get here. At its simplest, it allows you to track your symptoms and sexual activity with some occasionally risqué icons, monitoring how you're doing health-wise and whether you should keep an eye on any unusual developments. The best analytical features require you to upgrade to Eve Premium but it's modestly priced and worth the extra insight. 

Elsewhere, Eve also tries to create a community feeling with fun sex quizzes, a community board for sharing your queries about all things gynecological, as well as reviews and recommendations of various products. It's a convoluted interface in places but it's hard not to be charmed by the friendly nature of the app, clearly wanting to be less clinical than others. 

(Image credit: MyFlo)

MyFlo

Keen to help you become symptom-free

 Takes a holistic approach to symptoms 
 Tracks different phases of your cycle 
Some educational courses are expensive 
Not the clearest of interfaces

MyFlo has a lofty ambition for any period tracking app - it wants to make you symptom-free. We're not entirely sure that's possible but it has some nice ideas that should improve things, taking a more holistic approach and encouraging users to sign up to paid courses on what exercises and food help with easing menstrual symptoms. 

It also works well as a tracker with plenty of symptoms that can be listed along with a fairly crucial tick box for whether your latest period was worse than the last. MyFlo won't be the cheapest of choices if you decide to join some of its courses but if your life feels like it's dictated by your cycle, it can teach some valuable lessons about what to eat and how exercise can positively alter your periods. 

(Image credit: Ovia)

Ovia

With a focus on fertility, Ovia still offers useful insight into your periods

Huge number of symptoms to list 
Community support features
Some assistance is restricted 
Overkill for some users 

Ovia gets right to the point when you open it. It gives you a fertility score and tells you how many days until your fertile window begins. That's ideal for those looking to become pregnant but what about when you simply want to track your periods? Ovia still has you covered with a vast wealth of symptoms to input to the point it's almost overwhelming. It can also start to spot if you may have a more long term issue or not, although that's where it becomes frustrating. 

To get the most help from Ovia, you need to be US-based with relevant health insurance to be able to access further help, although a community feature does go some way to helping those more internationally based. It's a complex set of tools to track everything but if your needs are complex, you can't go wrong here.