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Scan FreeStyle Libre CGM Sensor with Your iPhone! FreeStyle LibreLink App Approved by FDA

By Jimmy McDermott and Maeve Serino

The recently FDA-approved FreeStyle LibreLink app allows FreeStyle Libre users in the US to obtain a real-time glucose reading directly on their iPhone

The FDA has approved FreeStyle LibreLink, an iPhone app for scanning the FreeStyle Libre sensor. Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre users in the United States can now see their real-time glucose number and trend arrow directly on their iPhone – no separate handheld reader device required. Just like the current reader device, the FreeStyle LibreLink iPhone app can be used to start a new sensor. For background on the FreeStyle Libre, click here.

The FDA-approved FreeStyle LibreLink app is now available and free to download from the Apple App Store. Compatible with iPhone 7 and later (running iOS 11 and later), the app allows individuals to retrieve data from the 10-day or 14-day wear FreeStyle Libre sensors. The FreeStyle LibreLink app is currently not available for Android users in the US.

Since Medicare’s updated policies on smartphone CGM use, we presume that FreeStyle LibreLink will also be allowed for Medicare beneficiaries as well.

Features of the FreeStyle LibreLink App

An iPhone with the FreeStyle LibreLink app can either replace or be used in combination with the FreeStyle Libre reader. If you want to freely switch between the iPhone and separate reader, you must start a new sensor with the reader (not the app).

The iPhone app offers several improved features over the reader:

  • Text-to-speech glucose readings, which may be valuable for visually-impaired users

  • Ability to log small insulin doses of 0.1 units

  • Option to add notes on food, insulin dosing, exercise, and any other comments (though notes can’t be added retrospectively)

  • Support in 26 languages (the FreeStyle LibreLink app is now available in 24 countries)

Similar to the reader, we love that the FreeStyle LibreLink app includes CGM data reports right in the app, rather than having to download a separate app or go to a web portal.

The FreeStyle LibreLink app does not communicate continuously with the sensor or offer alarms – the sensor must be “scanned” at least once every eight hours to obtain a real-time glucose reading and recent history. (The sensor can store up to eight hours of data.) This differs from other CGMs that automatically send real-time glucose data directly to your smartphone (Dexcom’s G6, Senseonics Eversense, Medtronic’s Guardian Connect).

A few limitations:

  • To obtain a reading, the FreeStyle LibreLink app must be open on screen, meaning it cannot be used from the iPhone’s lock screen

  • FreeStyle LibreLink users in the US will not be able to share glucose information with FreeStyle LibreLinkUp, the remote monitoring app currently available in Europe. Hopefully, we’ll see FreeStyle LibreLinkUp in the US soon, as we know that many caregivers in Europe have found it to be immensely helpful.

  • In the US, FreeStyle Libre is still only approved for individuals 18 years old and up

Watch this video produced by Abbott to see several of the app’s features and appearance:

 

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