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Losing weight is hard, especially if you have to go at it alone. And while weight loss apps don’t offer the same one-on-one support of a dedicated nutritionist or personal trainer, they’re a good middle ground if you’re looking to save some money while working toward your goals.
The best weight loss apps not only allow you to track your weight progression over time, they also help you dig into calories and macros so you can fine tune what you’re eating. Many of them also have additional features, like sleep cycle and exercise tracking so you can take a holistic look at your lifestyle and make tweaks as needed.
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Our team at GGR, which includes certified personal trainers, nutrition coaches, and Olympic athletes, downloaded a dozen popular weight loss apps to test them firsthand. We put them through a comprehensive testing methodology and rated them on multiple factors including:
- Ease of use: Was it easy to navigate or a glitchy nightmare?
- Accuracy: Was it even right?
- Stat tracking and features: How many stats could it track, and how many additional features were there?
- Community: Did it offer access to peers who share common goals and interests?
We also enlisted the help of registered dietitian nutritionist Perry Nix to help us write this list. When all was said and done, we crowned these the 9 best weight loss apps.
Best Weight Loss Apps in 2024
- Best Weight Loss App Overall: WeightWatchers
- Best Free Weight Loss App: MyFitnessPal
- Best Weight Loss App with Coaching: Noom
- Best Weight Loss App for Tracking Macros: Cronometer
- Best Weight Loss App for Community: Fitbit
- Best Weight Loss App for Meal Planning: PlateJoy
- Best Weight Loss App for Activity Tracking: Apple Health
- Best Weight Loss App for Beginners: Lose It!
- Best Keto Weight Loss App: Carb Manager
Best Weight Loss App Overall: WeightWatchers
Good for: Anyone looking for a tried-and-true option with point counting and community support
- Designed specifically for weight loss
- Targeted quizzes to find the right plan for you
- Two membership options, starting at $23 per month
- Online-only or hybrid memberships available
- Works on a point budget system—no “off-limit” foods
- 24/7 support chat
Pros & Cons
- Point system allows you to tailor the plans to your preferences
- Online or hybrid options provide more flexibility
- Can choose a plan that works within your budget
- Includes an app for easier tracking
- Assigning Points to food is hard to translate to real-world eating when off the plan
- Tracking can be tedious
- Requires weekly weigh-ins, which can be problematic for some
WeightWatchers earned the spot of best weight loss app overall for two major reasons. First, and most importantly, it scored really highly on all of our tests. GGR head of content and certified personal trainer Kate Meier rated it a 4 or 5 out of 5 for almost all major tested features except one (we’ll get into that later). It’s also a tried-and-true program that has years of success behind it.
WeightWatchers has been around since 1963 and while the name has changed since—they go by WW now—the foundation remains the same and people find it really effective.
The app does work on the same principles as the regular program. Instead of getting a calorie budget, you’ll follow a point system that basically gets you to the same end goal. This just makes food tracking easier for a lot of people.
Kate says she found the app extremely easy to use and very accurate—she only had to manually enter one item into the food database, which stores more than 12,000 recipes. There’s also a barcode scanner that allows you to quickly input packaged food, and that worked well too.
In addition to food, you can track all kinds of activities and it syncs with Apple Health and other platforms so you don’t have to manually input exercise, according to Kate. One of the biggest draws of the app is its community. You have access to an active community of users within the app, but Kate says there’s also a huge, active community on social platforms.
The downside is that it doesn’t track a ton of metrics—this is the only area where it scored under 4 in our testing. You can track activity, sleep, food, body weight, and blood sugar, but that’s it. Granted, that’s probably plenty for beginners, but if you want to get deeper into biometrics at some point you’ll have to transition to another app.
Registered dietitian Perry Nix says, “Although Weight Watchers was rebranded to take on a more wellness-centered focus, the program is still very much a diet promoting weight loss.”
It “encourages nutrient-dense foods, but no foods are completely off limits,” she explains. “Unlike other diets that eliminate certain foods or food groups, Weight Watchers takes an ‘all foods fit’ approach. This may enhance the sustainability of the program for those pursuing a balanced approach to weight loss.”
There’s also no free version. You’ll have to pay $10 per month to access the features, but we think this is a fair ask for the accuracy, ease of use, and impressive community.
Learn more about this app with our full WeightWatchers review.
|iOS and Android
|Fitbit, Garmin, Apple (Health and Watch), Withings, MapMyRun, Misfit, and Daily Burn
Best Free Weight Loss App: MyFitnessPal
Best Free Weight Loss App
- Nutrition and fitness tracking app
- Calorie and macro counter
- Syncs your data from popular fitness apps
- Vast database of nutrition labels and food
Pros & Cons
- Free and premium accounts available
- Find and track virtually any food
- Create and store your homemade recipes
- Track recipes from your favorite cooking websites
- Free version doesn’t allow barcode scanning
- Free version doesn’t feature Macro Goals
- Monthly subscription is costly
Good for: Those looking for an easy interface and both calorie and workout tracking
MyFitnessPal is one of the most recognizable fitness apps in the game, and it still remains one of the best free options you can get.
“I think this is one of the easiest apps I’ve ever used. I love how clean the interface is. It’s super user-friendly and it works really well if you are just needing to count calories/track macros,” GGR head of content Kate Meier says.
As far as stat-tracking goes, it’s a little limited. Kate says it only really tracks weight, but you can input just about any lifestyle or fitness goal of your own and track progress in a separate tab. You can also use it as a food log to dig into calories and/or macros.
“I’ve used MyFitnessPal on and off for about 5 years. It has always been a good ‘check-in’ tool for me to make sure I’m getting enough protein, or if I want to see how I’m doing on macros. I have gone through spurts where I want to lose weight, so I’ll use it for a few months at a time, and it has always been incredibly effective,” Kate says.
There are also a lot of features, like a recipe database, workout routines, and intermittent fasting tracking. All recipes also have a detailed macro breakdown, which is helpful for those who want to track food choices beyond calories.
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According to Kate, the biggest downside to this app is the automated formula it uses to help you track your weight and food intake. She says she prefers to set her own calories because it often underestimates her ideal calorie intake compared to her activity level.
If you’re a beginner, this might be a bit of a deterrent because you’ll need some time to figure out your body and what works best for you. But otherwise, we think this is a great option for most people.
Perry Nix, RD, LD, says that when she was using MyFitnessPal, she appreciated appreciated the visual pie graph depicting the macronutrient breakdown of the foods she consumed each day. “For someone who works out regularly, this is a helpful tool when you are working on increasing your protein or reducing your fat intake,” she says.
One downfall from a dietitian’s perspective? “Food tracking with MyFitnessPal doesn’t account for daily fluctuations in calorie needs,” Perry says. “For example, on days you exercise you might need more calories from protein and carbs to fuel your body and recover post-workout.”
There is a paid option, but the free version has most of the features. If you do upgrade, you’ll get a barcode scanner, custom macro tracking, and no ads.
|Free, or $79.99 per year for premium version
|iOS and Android
|Fitbit, Withings Health mate, VeSync, Renpho Health, Wahoo, Qardio Scale
Best Weight Loss App with Coaching: Noom
Good for: Anyone who prefers additional support from a coach and daily courses
Best with Coaching
- Uses a psychology-backed approach to weight loss
- Provides behavioral guidance more than nutritional guidance
- App supports food, weight, and activity tracking
- Multiple membership options available
- A stress-relief plan is also available
Pros & Cons
- Gives you freedom to make your own choices
- Helps you identify patterns and behaviors that may be connected to your weight
- Flexible payment options
- 1:1 coaching plans are available for purchase
- Doesn’t offer much nutritional guidance
- May not be the best option for those who need a more structured plan
- Expensive on the month-to-month plan
Many weight loss apps are an “on your own” kind of thing, but Noom is built around coaching. The whole program takes the stance that changing your mindset through evidence-based approaches, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is the key to sustained weight loss.
“You get a personal accountability coach who texts back and forth with you in the app. You can literally ask them any question and they get back to you, and within hours. The content is offered each week that makes sense for the week and stage that you are in…I feel like there is a psychologist in this app helping me,” Sarah Price, a GGR tester, says.
Keep in mind that you’re not working directly with nutritionists or registered dietitians. Because this is more of a behavioral approach, you’ll get tools to help you adjust your behaviors and habits, like daily courses to take and read.
“It is very different from other apps that I have tried. It cares about your goals and weight loss, but more about why you eat what you do and helps you with other choices,” Sarah says.
All that considered, there are some commonalities between Noom and the other weight loss apps on our list. In addition to personal coaching, there’s an in-app community, which Sarah rated a 5 out of 5, where you can share comments and/or screenshots of your progress. It also tracks additional metrics like blood sugar, exercise, steps, and water intake.
The only thing Sarah really didn’t love about Noom is the food tracking system. While she could track calories and weight loss, there’s no way to track macros, which is what she wanted to do most.
Instead of focusing too much on calories and nutrient breakdown, it assigns certain colors to foods to help you make choices that way. This works for some people but if you really want to learn how to track macros, this app isn’t going to be the best way to do it.
Speaking of categorizing foods by color, dietitian Perry Nix says “Noom’s color coding system may be triggering for those with a history of disordered eating. A ‘red’ or ‘green’ food could easily be interpreted as ‘bad’ and ‘good.’ This type of labeling can lead people to feel guilt or shame when eating.”
It also doesn’t sync with smartwatches or other devices, which seems kind of archaic for a health app. Noom recommends using the app only on your phone, as even tablet capability is a work in progress.
Check out our Noom review for more information.
|Varies from $70 per month to $209 per year; calculated by how long it will take you to reach your specific goals
|Monthly to yearly
|iOS and Android
Best Weight Loss App for Tracking Macros: Cronometer
Good for: Anyone who wants to dig into carbohydrates, fat and protein instead of just calories
Best for Tracking Macros
- Nutrition tracker that tracks macros, micronutrients, exercise, and more
- Free and ad-free Gold version with fasting tracking and custom reports and charts
- Monthly or annual payments for Cronometer Gold
- Access to community through social media and forum for questions and answers
- Can sync with compatible fitness trackers
Pros & Cons
- Large community
- Monthly subscription choice
- Track up to 84 nutrients
- Can sync with compatible fitness trackers
- Free version has ads
- Pricier subscription
- Number of things to track can be overwhelming
If you’re serious about tracking macros and other key health metrics, Cronometer is the choice for you. According to GGR senior editor and certified nutrition coach Erin Chancer, who tested the app, it’s very easy to use, and has many available metrics to track.
“Other than meal and exercise tracking, you can track your measurements (such as biceps, calves, and hips.) You can track heart rate, blood pressure, and pulse. There is also a way to track your mood and sleep to chart your mental health. Anything you choose to track can then be added to your daily diary,” Erin says.
This was overwhelming at times, but if you get to a place where you can narrow down your most important metrics, Cronometer makes it easy to see macros (and even micronutrients) and other metrics with visually appealing data graphs, charts and reports. Because of this, she rated it a 4 out of 5 for features and ease of use, and a 4.5 out of 5 for available stat tracking.
Perry Nix, RD, loves that Cronometer doesn’t just track macros and instead actually helps people “obtain an optimal micronutrient intake, too”
“Cronometer tracks significantly more nutrients than most other tracking apps. This is super helpful for those with medical conditions that can lead to nutrient deficiencies,” she explains. “It’s also great for athletes who want to track nutrients like electrolytes and B vitamins for improved muscle recovery, hydration, and energy production.”
All this is available in the free version, but you will have to upgrade to the paid app for additional tracking for things like fasting times.
The only place Cronometer really fell short was meal tracking. While the meal tracker is relatively easy to use, you have to enter meals manually as recipes, according to Erin. She says this isn’t a deal breaker if you meal prep or eat the same things daily. However, it can be tedious for new meals with many ingredients.
“When you have a meal with multiple ingredients (e.g., my daily salad lunch), unless you weigh and measure everything you eat, you’ll have to estimate the amounts, which can lead to inaccuracy in your tracking,” she says.
|Free, or $8.99 per month or $49.99 per year for premium version
|Monthly or annually
|iOS, Android, and desktop
|Fitbit, Garmin, Strava, Apple Health
Best Weight Loss App for Community: Fitbit
Good for: Those who want support from peers who are also on a weight-loss journey
Best for Community
- Fitness, nutrition, and sleep tracking app
- Syncs with Fitbit wearable devices
- Features workouts and meditation sequences
- Set nutrition goals and log food
- Ability to track heart rate
Pros & Cons
- Free and premium versions
- Step counter and movement tracker
- Track workouts
- Follow Fitbit workouts
- Calorie and macronutrient tracker
- Only works with Fitbit products
- Requires subscription for premium features
All the weight loss apps we recommend have some sort of community aspect, but Fitbit really highlights this feature. The app has a whole separate community area that really makes it feel like more of a social media platform than a weight loss app.
There are both public and closed groups that you can join. You can also create your own groups around specific themes or areas of interest and add up to 2,000 members. You can use these groups to share anything you want, from healthy recipes to general fitness and diet plans.
Outside of this community aspect, there are also regular tracking features, like a calorie counter, an exercise tracker, a heart rate monitor, and a sleep tracker. You can also get deeper into fitness tracking to see how long you spend in fat-burning or cardio zones.
Like more basic apps, you can, of course, input your current weight and monitor your progress toward your goal weight.
While Fitbit is available on both iPhones and Android devices, there is a major downside here: You can’t directly sync the data to an Apple Watch or other fitness trackers. There are some hacks you can try to get around this, but the results from users seem mixed.
If you’re a dedicated Fitbit user, the app will integrate seamlessly with your existing fitness tracker. But if you’re an Apple fan, you might want to go with Apple Health for stat tracking instead, and consider joining weight loss community groups on an actual social media platform for that additional support.
|$9.99 per month; $79.99 per year
|Monthly or annually
|iOS and Android
|Fitbit (other trackers may sync but data is very limited)
Best Weight Loss App for Meal Planning: PlateJoy
Good for: People who don’t need to track calories, but are looking for help eating healthier overall
Best for Meal Planning
- Nutrition app providing meal plans and grocery lists
- Grocery lists have optional Instacart delivery
- Large database of recipes based on groceries
- Can personalize meal plan for family, dietary preferences, and more
Pros & Cons
- Simplified grocery shopping for healthy eating
- High customer ratings
- Adapts to different preferences
- Expensive service
- No free app, just a free trial
According to GGR senior writer and certified personal trainer Amanda Capritto who tested it, PlateJoy isn’t your typical food tracking app.
“It’s more of a menu and shopping planner than a macro or calorie tracker, although it does provide nutrition information for the meals you plan to shop for and make. It also totals up all of the nutrition info to show you your day’s total calories/macros,” she says.
Because of this, we think it’s the best app for those who are looking for a zero-hassle way to get into meal planning. Amanda rated it 4.5 out of 5 for ease of use and 5 out of 5 for accuracy. She says what’s really great about this app is that you aren’t actually logging your food like you’d have to with MyFitnessPal, Noom, or WW.
“You select recipes from the menu lists for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and then the app automatically calculates everything for you. Of course, if you alter the recipe, the nutrition info will not be quite the same, so if you’re really serious about logging, you’ll need to follow the recipes to a T,” she says.
Registered dietitian Perry Nix says, “A lot of people don’t know how to create a balanced, healthy meal. Platejoy not only meal plans for you, but teaches you the components of a nutritious meal.”
“I like that Platejoy creates meals based on what’s already in your pantry. Eating healthy doesn’t require fancy, expensive ingredients, and you likely already have what you need at home to make a nourishing meal,” Perry says. However, it may not be the best for picky eaters, since it does encourage a wide range of ingredients, Perry calls out.
It also has an aesthetically pleasing interface, although creating a menu and shopping list can take some getting used to.
The major callout here is that there’s no actual focus on weight loss or stat tracking in the app. We know what you’re thinking: How can you call this one of the best weight loss apps without the weight loss focus? But here’s how we see it:
If you want to focus on meal planning and healthy eating more than you want to dig into calories and other numbers, this is a great option for you. It also works well if you’re already working closely with a nutritionist and personal trainer to lose weight and you just need a place to track the meals and dietary plan they’re giving you. That being said, you can sync PlateJoy with a Fitbit to view daily nutrition totals.
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PlateJoy is also missing the community aspect that most other weight loss apps share, but again, this one is really meant for a different purpose.
|$12.99 per month, $69 for six months, or $99 for a year
|Monthly, every six months, annually
|iOS and Android
Best Weight Loss App for Activity Tracking: Apple Health
Good for: Apple diehards who want more detailed health metrics
Best for Activity Tracking
- Fitness, sleep, and nutrition tracker
- Ovulation cycle tracking
- Medication tracking
- Emergency medical ID storage
- Health record storage
Pros & Cons
- Counts steps and walking steadiness
- Offers medication reminders
- Syncs Apple Watch, iPhone, and iPad device
- Ability to track atrial fibrillation issues
- Tracks heart rate
- Offers mindfulness and mediation
- Only available on Apple devices
- Not designed for diets or calorie counting
A lot of weight loss apps focus on food intake and counting calories more than fitness tracking. But Apple Health is really more about physical activity and other lifestyle factors, like sleep and cycle tracking.
It tracks active exercise and calories burned, but it also considers other aspects of your overall activity level, like time spent standing, walking speed, walking steadiness, walking heart rate, and flights of stairs climbed. It monitors other health metrics, too, including heart rate, resting energy expenditure, blood oxygen level, and respiratory rate.
One thing you don’t get with Apple Health is food-calorie tracking. You can monitor your weight and other related body composition metrics, like body fat percentage and body mass index (BMI), but it won’t spit out recommended daily calories to help you hit your weight loss goals.
Outside of that, an obvious downside here is that Apple Health is only compatible with iOS devices. You can’t use it on Android operating systems without going through a third-party app. But there’s also an upside here for Apple fans: You can easily sync it to your Apple Watch and other iOS devices and have access to your health information across all devices.
We also think it can get a little complicated for beginners. There’s a lot of information and sometimes too much information can lead to overload. While wearable devices definitely have their place, we don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing to get too caught up in tracking everything—and Apple Health makes that really easy to do.
Best Weight Loss App for Beginners: LoseIt!
Good for: Anyone looking for an easy-to-use app with all the basic features
Best for Beginners
- Calorie tracking app made with weight loss in mind
- Over 40 million users
- Includes personalized weight loss plan, smart camera, and community support
- Premium version has advanced tracking and sync with devices
- Lifetime membership also available
Pros & Cons
- Large community
- Large food database
- Barcode scanner
- Personalized weight loss plan
- Some users complain of minor bugs
- Lots of ads in free version
LoseIt! is our top choice for beginners because it’s easy to use and has an extensive food database that’s really accurate. GGR writer and certified personal trainer Anthony O’Reilly rated it a 5 out of 5 for both ease of use and progress tracking, and a 4.5 out of 5 for accuracy.
You can adjust nutritional information if needed, but Anthony didn’t have to deal with that at any time during the testing period because everything was spot-on. It also has a free barcode scanner, which Anthony calls a “lifesaver,” that makes shopping really easy.
While there are premium features, the free version has a lot to offer beginners. You can only see calorie breakdown instead of specific macronutrients, but this is a good place to start on your weightloss journey. Once you get calorie counting down, you can progress into macro tracking down the line if you want to.
“The Snap It feature makes it super simple to track your food intake and portion sizes,” says registered dietitian Perry Nix. “This is great for those who find entering foods repetitive and time-consuming, and could make it easier to stick to your goals.”
Note, though, that “Lose It doesn’t track your vitamin and mineral intake, so it’s not ideal for those at risk for micronutrient deficiencies,” according to Perry.
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There’s also a really detailed quiz when you first sign up so the app can understand your wellness goals and help you accurately track your progress to get there.
Another callout is that it sends just enough push notifications to keep you motivated and on-track, but not so many that you just want to delete it from your phone to get rid of them. This is an ideal balance for beginners who may need more of a push, but don’t want to be overwhelmed by excessive notifications.
One downside is that the community support feature is only available on the premium version. We do think this is a worthwhile upgrade for beginners, so it’s worth it if you’re looking for that social accountability.
|Free version; $39.99 per year for premium; $149.99 for lifetime subscription
|Annually or lifetime
|Both iOS and Android
|Google Fit, Apple Health, Fitbit, Withings scale and blood pressure monitor
Best Keto Weight Loss App: Carb Manager
Good for: Anyone who wants a large low-carb recipe database and a simple way to track macros
- Diet tracker app specializing in low-carb, keto, and paleo diets
- Features calculator for macros, calories, and net carbs
- Nutrition info of over one million foods
- Unlimited barcode scans
- Measure and log exercise, weight loss, and BMI
- Premium version includes micronutrient tracker, diabetes tracker, and advanced reports
- Premium version billed annually
Pros & Cons
- Integrates with FitBit, Garmin, and other fitness trackers
- Lots of included foods, articles, and recipes in free version
- Macronutrient goals can be adjusted beyond just keto
- Only annual billing option
- No refunds after 7 days
If you’re following a keto diet, you’ll need a weight loss app that can accurately track carbohydrates and, ideally, net carbohydrates. While many apps have this functionality, it’s often a premium feature. Carb Manager still tracks calories, but it puts carbs at the forefront and there are more than 5,000 low-carb recipes in the database of the free version.
Yet despite the large library and extensive features, GGR staff writer and Olympian Caine Wilkes says it’s simple to navigate and he gives it a 4 out of 5 for ease of use and functionality and a 4.5 out of 5 for accuracy.
“I never had to input a meal while using it. However, there were quite a few times where nutritional information was off, even for scanned-in items, although errors were minor. And they were quick to fix,” he says.
While carbohydrates are the main consideration with the keto diet, Carb Manager can also track water intake, intermittent fasting times, and workouts. If you upgrade to the premium version, you can also see your micronutrient intake.
Perry Nix, RD, says, “I like that you can track macros, calories, exercise, water intake, and body weight. It’s also convenient that the app includes thousands of healthy recipes for when you’re needing a little meal inspo.”
Perry also calls out that “Carb Manager really markets towards individuals following a keto or low-carb diet, which are considered restrictive diets. If you have a history of disordered eating, avoid using tracking apps and following restrictive diets, as these practices can spiral into unhealthy obsessions.”
This app is compatible with a number of devices, including blood sugar trackers, but Caine says these are upgraded features that will require a premium subscription. There’s never any confusion about which features are free and which are part of the premium membership, though, which is another thing Caine likes about the app.
Carb Manager also gets a perfect score (5 out of 5) for the community aspect. There are groups and challenges that help keep you motivated and engaged.
“Groups are basically forums and chats for people with similar weight loss goals, and each week a 4-week challenge begins to engage the community together, earning challenge points through logging food and using the app,” Caine says.
RELATED: Best Keto Meal Delivery Service
|Free basic version; $39.96 for premium
|iOS, Android and desktop
|Apple Health, Google Fit, Fitbit, Garmin, BioSense, Keto Mojo and more
Other Weight Loss Apps We Tested and Researched
We researched and tested a handful of other weight loss apps that didn’t make the cut. Here’s why:
Fooducate: Kate Meier, GGR head of content, says the activity and calorie tracking in this app seemed off when compared to other fitness trackers she’s used. It also requires a premium upgrade for even some basic features, and only syncs with Apple Health. Because there are a lot more functional apps for less money, we recommend skipping this one for now.
FatSecret: Overall, Kate really liked this app, but it was difficult to contact customer service and duplicate entries in the food database can make things overwhelming for beginners. To be honest, we’re not really loving the name either (but we didn’t actually take points off for that).
Foodvisor: This one was the lowest-scoring in our testing. The free version is extremely limited and logging food can be really cumbersome unless you use the barcode scanner. There’s also no community component, which can make a big difference in how successful you are. You can find out more in our full Foodvisor review.
MyNetDiary: MyNetDiary looks promising and has some great customer reviews, but it didn’t earn a spot on the list because we haven’t tested it ourselves yet.
How We Picked and Tested the Best Weight Loss Apps
Weight loss is a billion dollar industry, so it’s not surprising that there are hundreds of apps that promise to help you on the journey. But as we know with supplements and most health products, you can’t take claims at face value.
To determine the best weight loss apps, we put together a comprehensive testing methodology that considered the following factors:
Is it reasonably priced, or is the cost prohibitive for most people? We don’t expect all of these apps to be free, but apps got higher ratings if they were less than $5 to $10 per month.
Ease Of Use and Functionality
Weight loss apps are supposed to make your life easier, so to get high ratings from us it had to be easy to navigate and really user-friendly. We also considered whether the app ran smoothly or if it was glitchy and constantly rebooting.
Part of the assessment here was also about functionality in free versus paid versions.
Again, we don’t expect to get everything for free, but if an app is advertising no or low monthly costs, does that include most features or are there additional in-app purchases required that jack up the price?
Accuracy is key when you’re tracking calories, macros, and weight. And this is especially important for beginners who may not be able to easily identify when something is off. We considered how accurate calories and macronutrients were, as well as how large the existing database of food items was.
As a general rule, the more robust the database, the more likely you’re going to get accurate information since you don’t have to manually input things yourself. But we did experiment with inputting some of our favorite recipes to see if the nutrition facts would match up—if not, the app lost a point.
Weight loss may be your main goal, but often apps offer other types of stat tracking that go hand in hand with body composition tracking. We considered several things here: whether you could track both calories and macronutrients, and if you could dig into micronutrients and other important nutritional components like fiber and sodium.
We also considered what kind of goals the app let you track. Was weight loss the only one or could you monitor fitness progression, too? The more features and stat tracking available, the higher the rating.
On a related note, we considered whether the app had additional features outside of weight tracking. Can you also input workouts, sleep, and/or your cycle? Is there access to community forums or coaches who could help you when you feel stuck? Can you set up meal plans and grocery lists? All of these factored into the overall rating for the app.
To get the highest rating, an app had to be available on iOS and Android devices. Apps also got higher ratings for compatibility with devices, like Apple Watches, smart scales, and more.
We considered how easy it was to contact the company. Could you email or message them right through the app, or did getting ahold of a real person require some digging? When you did have to reach out, did they respond quickly and resolve your problem? Apps that had easy access to customer service reps and a responsive team got higher ratings.
Benefits of Weight Loss Apps
Weight loss apps really serve as a way to help keep you on track. While it’s ultimately up to you to put in the work, having an easy way to track your efforts and progress can translate to more success. Here are some notable benefits of using a weight loss app.
A Greater Success Rate
Accountability leads to greater success when it comes to weight loss and weight management. While a pen-and-paper food diary used to be the standard for food logging and calorie tracking, weight loss apps have taken over.
And studies show that they’re just as effective1 as traditional methods of tracking, and more effective than little or no intervention. In other words, regular tracking via an app can make it more likely that you’ll hit your weight loss goals.
Access to a Community
This ties into accountability a little bit, but access to a community is beneficial beyond that, too. Sometimes, a weight loss journey can feel socially isolating. It often requires lifestyle changes and adjustments to your eating habits that can also change how you interact with some of the people in your life.
Online communities, like those you find in many weight loss apps, connect you with other people who share similar health goals. This not only helps keep you accountable, but also ties in a social aspect2 that can keep you motivated and engaged.
Calorie counting and food tracking are often a big part of a weight loss plan. Before weight loss apps, you had to write down everything you ate then manually calculate calories and macronutrients. If you’ve ever done this, you don’t need us to tell you how big of a time commitment it can be.
Weight loss apps automate this process so it requires much less of your time. The best weight loss apps have extensive food databases so you just have to enter the food quantities and it will automatically calculate everything for you. You can also often save recipes to make it easier to track foods that you eat often.
Buying Guide: What to Look for in Weight Loss Apps
Just like there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to weight loss, there’s no single weight loss app that will work for everyone. When narrowing down your choices, consider the following factors to help you make your decision.
Ease of Use
Ease of use and overall app functionality are probably two of the most important things to consider when choosing a weight loss app. Apps are meant to make your life easier. If a weight loss app isn’t user-friendly or too frustrating to use, you’re not going to stick with it—bottom line.
Often, you don’t find this out until after you’ve used the app yourself, but we tried a bunch for you and rated on this specific attribute to make your life easier. All of the options on this list passed the test.
Most weight loss apps have basic features, like food, physical activity, and water intake tracking, but there are lots of beneficial components beyond that, too.
For example, access to coaching and/or a community will help with accountability and social support. Informational resources and cognitive-behavioral exercise can help with mindset and background knowledge, which can be especially helpful for beginners.
There isn’t a “must-have” list of features for everyone—you just have to figure out what’s important or most helpful to you and make sure the app you choose has it.
There are two things to consider here. First, is it available on the operating system you use (iOS or Android)? Second, will it accurately sync with your preferred activity tracker, like an Apple Watch, Fitbit, or Whoop?
If you only want to use the app on your phone or iPad and don’t care if you have to enter workout information manually, this is less of a concern. But if you want seamless tracking, you’ll want to make sure the app you choose is compatible with all your devices.
There are lots of free weight loss apps out there, but many of them aren’t fully functional without a paid subscription. When choosing a weight loss app, consider the all-in price. It might be free to download, but if you can’t access the most important features without paying, the free version isn’t really all that useful.
In this case, consider the price of the premium version and decide if it’s within your budget.
Weight Loss Apps: FAQs
What is the best free weight loss app?
In our opinion, MyFitnessPal and Carb Manager are two of the best free weight loss apps. They do have paid upgrade options, but the free versions have a decent amount of features that make them functional enough for most people.
Do weight loss apps really work?
Yes, weight loss apps can really work. But like any weight loss program, you get what you put in. Apps can help with tracking, accountability, and community support, but they can only take you so far. Studies show that they work well for people who are ready to self-monitor3, but if you need more support, an in-person program may be a better option for you.
What weight loss app works best?
There are lots of effective weight loss apps out there, but WeightWatchers and MyFitnessPal are two of our tried-and-true favorites. If you want more coaching, Noom may work best for you and if you’re looking for a community, we recommend trying Fitbit.
Is there a free app for weight loss?
Yes, there are free apps for weight loss. They range in functionality though. Several of the weight loss apps that made our list are free to download and have plenty of worthwhile features so you don’t have to pay for the upgrade. Some of these are Fooducate, MyFitness Pal, FatSecret, and Carb Manager.
1. Ufholz, K., Werner, J. The efficacy of mobile applications for weight loss. Curr Cardiovasc Risk Rep. 2023;17:83–90. doi: 10.1007/s12170-023-00717-2
2. Hwang, KO, Ottenbacher, AJ, Green, AP, et al. Social support in an Internet weight loss community. Int J Med Inform. 2010;79(1):5-13. doi:10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2009.10.003
3. Laing, BY, Mangione, CM, Tseng, CH, et al. Effectiveness of a smartphone application for weight loss compared with usual care in overweight primary care patients: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. 2014;161(10 Suppl):S5-S12. doi:10.7326/M13-3005
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Losing weight is hard, especially if you have to go at it alone. And while weight loss apps don’t offer the same one-on-one support of a dedicated nutritionist or personal trainer, they’re a good middle ground if you’re looking to save some money while working toward your goals. The best weight loss apps not only allow you to track your weight progression over time, they also help you dig into calories and macros so you can fine tune what you’re eating. » Read more about: Best Weight Loss Apps (2024): 9 Options That Made the Cut After Extensive Testing » Read more
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