Best Apps for Managing Diabetes

Use Your Smartphone for Glucose Control, Activity Tracking, and More

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Smartphone apps have become increasingly important tools for managing certain health conditions, including diabetes, by assisting with everything from diet and exercise to glucose monitoring and symptom management. These five cleverly designed apps are useful for anyone with diabetes, from people who are newly diagnosed to those who have been living with the disease their entire lives.

The Top 5 Apps for Managing Diabetes of 2022

Best Overall : BlueStar Diabetes


BlueStar Diabetes

BlueStar Diabetes

Key Specs
  • Price: Free
  • Platforms: iOS and Android
  • Features: Organize medications, real-time coaching, record blood glucose and carbs, view lab results, sync health data with Apple Health, and connect with your healthcare team
Why We Chose It

BlueStar is a free, award-winning app that offers a variety of helpful tools for people who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It allows you to set reminders for medications, record your blood glucose levels, and plan meals for the day.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Tracks blood sugar results

  • Immediate feedback from real-time coaches

  • Provides recipes ideas/food barcode scanner

  • Set medication reminders

  • Syncs with fitness trackers

Cons
  • Requires access code from employer or health plan

  • Only intended for ages 17+

BlueStar is an FDA-approved, award-winning app that provides 24/7 real-time coaching from Certified Diabetes Educators. This comprehensive app is available only by prescription and offers an impressive range of tools tailored to the individual. Once registered, users can receive personalized guidance based on their blood glucose, medications, current health, and a review of lifestyle factors affecting diabetes.

In addition, BlueStar provides thousands of tailored coaching messages based on real-time glucose values and trends. While BlueStar is not intended to replace your doctor, it can greatly enhance your care, particularly if you're having difficulty controlling your blood sugar or are in need of ongoing support.

BlueStar is intended for persons 18 and older with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Free for iPhone and Android. To activate the app, you will need an access code from an authorized healthcare provider.

Best for Emergencies : Medical ID


Medical ID
Medical ID
Key Specs
  • Price: Free plan; premium lifetime option for $6
  • Platforms: iOS and Android
  • Features: Portable tool for storing emergency contacts, allergies, medications, blood type, organ donor status, and more; location services and displays medical information from the lock screen
Why We Chose It

In the event of an emergency, the Medical ID app makes sure first responders can access important details about your health conditions (like diabetes and any others) as well as send alerts to your emergency contacts. Note: This app is designed to keep you safe rather than help you manage your diabetes.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Access from lock screen during emergency situations

  • Shares location with emergency contacts

  • Provides information on nearby hospitals

  • Comes pre-installed on iPhones

Cons
  • Not specifically for diabetes management and care

  • Free version doesn’t include many features

Although not a diabetes-specific app per se, Medical ID comes preinstalled on an iPhone (as part of the Health app) and is free to download for Android. The app is visible on the lock screen of the phone, allowing first responders or others to access critical medical information such as chronic conditions, including diabetes, emergency contacts, and more. It won't help you manage your diabetes, but it will alert others of your condition in the event you have a diabetes-related emergency—a severe hypoglycemic event, for example—that leaves you unable to speak for yourself.

Comes pre-installed on iPhone, free to download on Android

Best for Nutrition : Fooducate


Fooducate

Fooducate

Key Specs
  • Price: Free plan; premium upgrades start at $3/month
  • Platforms: iOS and Android
  • Features: Track meals and exercise, scan barcodes, personalized health and diet tips based on the foods you scan, weight loss support, motivational insights, and tailored food-based education based on health conditions
Why We Chose It

With over 300,000 foods in its database, Fooducate provides insight on your nutrition quality so you can make smarter food choices as part of your diabetes management. Simply scan the barcode of your food packages to access helpful information on your daily eats. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • In-app community with recipes and member support

  • Identifies foods' nutritional value (carbs, sugars, etc.)

  • Suggests healthy alternatives for foods scanned

  • Premium version offers diabetes-specific tips

Cons
  • Free version doesn’t include diabetes support

  • Doesn’t track blood sugars

Fooducate is a nutrition-focused tracking app that assesses the quality of the foods you're eating. The app uses a built-in database of hundreds of thousands of scannable barcodes so you can easily count macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats). It assigns a letter grade (A, B, C, or D) to a food's nutrition quality. Fooducate then provides you with explanations and alternative recommendations, plus tips from nutrition professionals and community support so you can continue to make smart decisions for blood sugar management.

Free on iPhone and Android

Best for Tracking Blood Sugar : Glucose Buddy


Glucose Buddy

Glucose Buddy

Key Specs
  • Price: Free plan; in-app products range from $15 to $60 per item
  • Platforms: iOS and Android
  • Features: Track blood sugar readings, log meals, 12-week diabetes education plan, nutritional insights, track exercise data, and print out reports for your medical provider
Why We Chose It

Glucose Buddy’s intuitive interface simplifies the process of logging carbohydrate intake, medication, exercise, and blood glucose readings. Plus, its custom insights help you understand how your lifestyle impacts your diabetes management.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Straightforward and modern look

  • Settings for prediabetes and type 1 & 2 diabetes

  • Provides insights based on target blood glucose range

  • Content library with management tips

  • Can sync data from Apple Health app

Cons
  • More expensive than its competitors

Glucose Buddy is a must-have iPhone app for tracking blood glucose levels, insulin, medications, A1C results, and carb intake. The app syncs with Dexcom G5 and G6 glucose monitoring systems to maintain a thorough record of your glucose, but it doesn't stop there. Glucose Buddy helps you track your physical activity and food intake, and also offers push notifications to remind you when to check your blood sugar next. Glucose Buddy's chart display can help you spot patterns and gain greater insight into your blood sugar trends and you can even create printable reports to bring to your next doctor's appointment.

The standard version of the Glucose Buddy app is free, but Glucose Buddy Premium offers a tiered subscription service ranging from $15 to $60 a month for an ad-free and customizable experience, including personal diabetes coaching, performance reports, smart glucose meters, lancing devices and lancets, complimentary test strips, and an A1C calculator.

Free for iPhone; offers in-app purchases

Best for Food Tracking : MyFitnessPal


MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal

Key Specs
  • Price: Free plan; premium option for $20/month or $80/year
  • Platforms: iOS and Android
  • Features: Meal and activity log, customized recommendations based on goals, supportive community, track progress over time, meal plans, and custom carb tracking tools
Why We Chose It

MyFitnessPal is so much more than a calorie counter app: It lets you track your sugar, carb, and water intake as well as your physical activity and timing of your meals. The app has a notes section where you can record blood sugar levels and insulin injections.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Database includes more than 14 million foods

  • Can use smartphone camera to scan foods

  • Access to a library of recipes and workouts

  • Shows breakdown of macronutrients

  • Integrates with over 50 apps

Cons
  • Requires consistent internet connection

  • Premium is pricey but has more benefits

MyFitnessPal is one of the most widely-used food tracking apps, thanks to its enormous food database incorporating more than 11 million foods—everything from produce to restaurant menu options to Trader Joe's snacks. The barcode scanner lets you input nearly any food from your pantry and the app also incorporates an exercise tracker that syncs with your food choices to help you meet your goals for weight management.

Free for iPhone and Android

Final Verdict

Overall, BlueStar Diabetes provides the best diabetes management offerings thanks to its incredible features. You can view glucose readings, connect to an integrated insulin pump, stay up-to-date on blood sugar trends, and manage meal plans right from your smartphone. Plus, BlueStar makes taking care of yourself even easier by allowing you to track activity levels, food intake, medication, and hydration. 

MyFitnessPal and Fooducate offer customized nutritional insights, while Glucose Buddy makes it easy to track blood sugar in just a couple of taps. Glucose Buddy's personalized insights help you understand how your lifestyle affects your condition. In case of emergencies, it’s a good idea to have the Medical ID app filled out with up-to-date contacts and medical information. 

Compare the Best Apps for Managing Diabetes

Diabetes App Cost Operating System App Store Rating
BlueStar Diabetes Best Overall  Free iOS and Android  4.3/5 (Google Play); 4.4/5 (App Store) 
Medical ID
Best for Emergencies 
Free plan; premium lifetime option for $6  iOS and Android  4.8/5 (Google Play); 4.7/5 (App Store) 
Fooducate
Best for Nutrition 
Free plan; premium upgrades start at $3/month  iOS and Android  4.4/5 (Google Play); 4.6/5 (App Store) 
Glucose Buddy
Best for Tracking Blood Sugar 
Free plan; in-app products range from $15 to $60 per item  iOS and Android  4.0/5 (Google Play); 4.8/5 (App Store) 
MyFitnessPal
Best for Food Tracking
Free plan; premium option for $20/month or $80/year  iOS and Android  4.5/5 (Google Play); 4.7/5 (App Store) 

FAQs

What Is a Diabetes App?

A diabetes app is a software program that helps people manage their diabetes. Some apps provide management tools for glucose tracking, while others are super helpful for monitoring carbs and physical activity.

How Do Diabetes Apps Work?

Diabetes apps offer a variety of features for managing your condition. There are food and exercise tracking apps that allow you to scan barcodes of your foods for nutritional insight and there are also diabetes management tools like medication reminders and alerts that let you know when it's time to conduct a self-test for blood sugar levels. Some apps even integrate with your healthcare provider's portal for personalized insights about your condition.

What Are the Benefits of Using Diabetes Apps?

Using a diabetes app can help you better manage your condition. Many apps have interactive features that let you input data and track your progress, as well as offer lifestyle tips and reminders to establish and maintain healthy habits that can positively impact your condition. Plus, some diabetes apps connect you to communities of people who have similar health interests and challenges.

What Is the Best Carb Counting App for Diabetics?

Tracking your carb intake is a vital part of managing your condition and diet. All of the apps on our list (except for Medical ID) offer carb counting tools.

Methodology

Our methodology for evaluating diabetes apps is comprehensive and unbiased. We looked at key diabetes app features, assessed user reviews, researched the target markets for each contender, and used expert opinions to determine which apps are best for managing your condition.

Only the apps with a strong ability to meet a user's needs made the cut. We eliminated any apps that had a significant number of negative reviews, were hard to navigate, or didn’t provide valuable benefits or information for people with diabetes. Our thorough research and comprehensive analysis of each app allow our readers to make the best possible decision for their diabetes management needs.

By Barbie Cervoni MS, RD, CDCES, CDN
Barbie Cervoni MS, RD, CDCES, CDN, is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist.