Best Apps for Managing Diabetes

BlueStar Diabetes is our top pick overall for its notable features

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Smartphone apps have become increasingly important tools for managing certain health conditions, including diabetes. They assist with everything from diet and exercise to glucose monitoring and symptom management.

These 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. Review the five best apps for managing diabetes below.

Best Apps for Managing Diabetes of 2023

Best Apps for Managing Diabetes
Best Apps for Managing Diabetes

Best Overall : BlueStar Diabetes


BlueStar Diabetes

BlueStar Diabetes

Key Specs
  • Price: Free
  • Platforms: iOS and Android
  • Notable 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 18+

Overview

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. It is 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 $5.99
  • Platforms: iOS and Android
  • Notable Features: Portable tool for storing emergency contacts, allergies, medications, blood type, organ donor status, and more
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.

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

Overview

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.

While it won't help you manage your diabetes, 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.

Best for Nutrition : Fooducate


Fooducate

Fooducate

Key Specs
  • Price: Free plan; Premium upgrades start at $1.99
  • Platforms: iOS and Android
  • Notable 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 into 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

Overview

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.

Best for Tracking Blood Sugar : Glucose Buddy


Glucose Buddy

Glucose Buddy

Key Specs
  • Price: Plans range from $19.99 to $59.99 per item
  • Platforms: iOS and Android
  • Notable 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

Overview

Glucose Buddy is a must-have 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 to 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.

Best for Food Tracking : MyFitnessPal


MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal

Key Specs
  • Price: Free plan; Premium options are $19.99/ month or $79.99/ year
  • Platforms: iOS and Android
  • Notable 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

Overview

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 but many of the functions that would benefit diabetics (like carb tracking) are better in the Pro version.

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. 

Compare the Best Apps for Managing Diabetes

Diabetes App Cost Platforms Notable Features
BlueStar Diabetes: Best Overall  Free iOS and Android  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  
Medical ID: Best for Emergencies  Free plan; Premium lifetime option for $5.99  iOS and Android  Portable tool for storing emergency contacts, allergies, medications, blood type, organ donor status, and more
Fooducate: Best for Nutrition  Free plan; Premium upgrades start at $1.99 iOS and Android  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
Glucose Buddy: Best for Tracking Blood Sugar  Plans range from $19.99 to $59.99 per item iOS and Android  Track blood sugar readings, log meals, 12-week diabetes education plan, nutritional insights, track exercise data, and print out reports for your medical provider
MyFitnessPal: Best for Food Tracking Free plan; Premium options are $19.99/ month or $79.99/ year  iOS and Android  Meal and activity log, customized recommendations based on goals, supportive community, track progress over time, meal plans, and custom carb tracking tools 

Frequently Asked Questions

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. 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. Some of them might be a feature for the Pro version of the app, so do a little digging to find out.

Is There a Free App for Diabetics?

Yes, there are many free apps for diabetics. BlueStar Diabetics is the only app on our list that is completely free. The other apps all have free options or trials and then also have paid premium options.

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 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.

Woman using an iPad in a kitchen

Tetra Images / Getty Images

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