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A visual interpretation of a period app with a drop of blood as well as pads and tampons to signify what a period app could look like. Drawing by Ella Kauffman Smith.

I have witnessed a lot of poorly designed things in my 16 years of life, but the grand prize definitely goes to menstrual periods. Sure, I agree they can aid the creation of life and repopulate the human race, but why does it have to happen this way? Seriously, I would like to have a long conversation with whoever decided periods were a good idea. However, there are a few ways to make periods better, like chocolate, heating pads, and lots of ibuprofen. Another great way to make it better is to make sure you know it’s coming. Due to the abundance of period tracking apps, each with different bells and whistles, I decided to research the pros and cons of a variety of these apps, so no one has to be surprised by their period again.

To get in gear for my reviewing, I first went to the depths of the Apple app store to find as many period apps as I could. We’re talking as deep as an app with twelve reviews. I then narrowed my options from around 15 to five. I weeded out the apps that cost money or required a subscription. While some people may be interested in these pricier apps, I am a high-school student with no money, and I wanted to highlight apps that everyone can access. As it turned out, most of the apps I originally downloaded required subscriptions, so that whittled down the list rather quickly. Then I picked the apps that I thought would provide the most accurate predictions, be the easiest to use, and contain the coolest features. Once I had my top five picked out, it was time to dive deep into finding their best qualities to find the best period app on the market. Finally, I enlisted the help of my friend, Harper Hays (a junior at Franklin), whose opinions can be found at the bottom of each app review.  

Alright, let’s get started:

1. Flo                                                                                                                                                                      

Starting off strong, Flo is one of the best period tracker apps I have come across throughout my menstrual bleeding days. It is, for the most part, very straightforward and easy to use with a few key features. The main page consists of a circle that tells you where you are in your cycle (for example, ovulation or menstruation), and your chance of getting pregnant. There is also the option to see the entire calendar for the month, as well as past and future months. The second page of Flo offers tips they call “Health Insights,” which consists of skincare tips, mental health insights, body facts, sex education and many more useful facts. The third and final page offers the option to chat anonymously with other app users about recommended topics such crushes, favorite period underwear, cramps, and more. 

Overall this app is very good. A few cons, however, are the premium features that require a paid subscription to access, such as some of the articles on the insights page and other features. While the app is usable without paying for premium, it feels unnecessary for a period tracking app to need a premium subscription. I give Flo a rating of 9/10.

Harper’s thoughts: “I like how Flo looks, and I think it’s also really cool how it has the insights page with a bunch of different articles. There’s also secret chats which is cool because if you have questions you can ask them there. It’s really easy to use; it didn’t take me very long to sign up. It’s really easy to see right when you open it when your period is going to be.” Harper’s Flo rating is 8/10.

2. Clue

The second app I looked at was Clue. Clue is an app I have heard a lot about from friends, including Harper, who mentioned it was an app she had used before. Eager to find out if it lived up to the hype, I signed up for the free version and began to explore. One of the things I really liked about the app was on the first page. There is a cool circle that shows your entire cycle including when your period will happen, when you are ovulating, etc. There is also a page with the classic cycle calendar where you see when your period will happen in a different form than the circle. I really liked the variety of ways to look at your cycle, as opposed to Flo’s one calendar option. Some downsides to Clue are that a lot of its features can only be accessed with a premium subscription. While there is still a lot you can do without it, the app constantly tries to get you to upgrade with little ads and reminders, which got pretty annoying the longer I spent exploring the app. Overall, Clue is a great way to track your period, despite the constant offers to upgrade to premium. As long as that is something you can ignore, Clue’s multiple options for viewing your cycle offers a great period tracking experience. I give Clue a rating of 7/10.

Harper’s thoughts: “What I like about Clue is that it has the analysis about it, so if your period is off it will alert you so you can reach out to a healthcare professional. You can also track your symptoms so it will change to when it thinks your period is going to be.” Harper’s rating of Clue is 8/10.

3. Lunar

Next up we have Lunar. Lunar started off by playing a very long ad before I was given a chance to explore any of its features. I would rather use an ad-free app such as Clue or Flo, but this was really the only downside to an awesome app. What Lunar lacked in ad-freeness it made up for in an expansion of free resources such as health articles, books, podcasts, and more. As far as tracking your cycle goes, Lunar provides you with a calendar view to determine where in your cycle you are, and your potential for pregnancy on any given day. Going even further, it gives you an option to log your symptoms, as well as moods, sexual activity, vaginal discharge, water intake and more. Then, based on the logged symptoms, Lunar provides a weekly report specific to you, and compares your symptoms to other app users. This can help people realize something they thought was odd, such as a specific type of discharge or other bodily function, is perfectly normal for a lot of people with vaginas. While Lunar does have the option for a premium version, which I am not a fan of, there is so much available on the app for free. Overall, Lunar is a fantastic app that does basically everything I can imagine one would need from a period app, and goes the extra mile to educate its users with extensive resources. I give Lunar a rating of 7/10 because of the extremely long ads, and the premium needed to access more resources.

Harper’s thoughts: “It’s cool how there’s a lot of things you can customize, like how much water you drink or how much you sleep. Also with this app there are a lot of articles that are free to read on a lot of different topics. It has books you can read for free, and there’s meditation. The ads weren’t great though, and there was a very long ad. The best thing about it was all the extra stuff that came with it.” Harper’s rating of Lunar is 9/10.

4. Easy Period

Easy Period lives up to its name: easy. This app is by far the simplest, with the least amount of features, but not in a bad way. Easy Period offers three basic pages with different ways to look at the analytics of one’s cycle. The first is a circle similar to that of Clue, but with different colored dots for each day, signifying bleeding, ovulation, or just normal days. There is also a graph of your cycle, something I have not seen with any of the other apps. The graph offers a visual of period statistics, showing what is going on each day, which I really like. The last option for period tracking is the classic calendar, which shows the same things as the other two options, but in a calendar form. I got very excited when I saw the option to log moods and symptoms, but was crushed again when I saw the only way to partake in that was by signing up for yet another premium upgrade. The premium on this app offers not only more resources for education about periods, like a lot of the other apps, but also reminders of when your period is going to come, or if it is late. Yet again, while a lot can still be accessed without it, the major downside to Easy Period is the need for premium to access some of the coolest features. Overall, this app is a great option for anyone looking for a simple way to track their period. The lack of features makes it easy to navigate and find exactly what you are looking for right away. I give Easy Period a rating of 8/10.

Harper’s thoughts: “It’s very simple; there are only two things you can do with it, like looking at the calendar or the graph of when your last periods were. You can also share it with friends. It’s really bad that to add in symptoms you have to get the premium function, and also that there are ads.” Harper’s rating of Easy Period is 5/10.

5. Period.

The last app I looked at was Period., which gained some early popularity with me because of its very creative use of punctuation at the end of the word period. Anything about your period that makes you laugh is an automatic win in my book. Period. started out with something I have found to be incredibly popular, the period cycle. While this circle is different from Easy Period and Clue, it has the same basic idea. It offers a ring of your cycle with dots showing when your period will happen, when ovulation will happen, and normal days. It also has the option of the classic period calendar showing the same things as the circle, but in a different format. One thing that stood out about Period. was the customization you can do with things such as whether or not you have had intercourse or taken birth control. You can also go for the option of notifications about when your period is set to begin, if it is late, or when your fertile window is. Finally, there is a very basic education page with short descriptions of frequently asked questions about topics such as discharge, symptoms and more. The major downside to Period was, again, the necessity to purchase the premium function for a deeper use of the app, but also the use of ads throughout the app experience. While long ads did not play, my use of the app was still disrupted by pop up ads on all of its pages. I give Period. a rating of 6/10. 

Harper’s thoughts: “It’s pretty simple, you can customize it though. And you can learn about your period on one of the pages too.” Harper’s rating of Period. is 6/10.

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