Original Research

Are There Mobile Applications Related to Nail Disorders?

Author and Disclosure Information

The role of mobile applications (apps) for patient education is expanding, with little inquiry evaluating the quantity and quality of nail disorder apps. Our objective was to investigate iOS (Apple’s iPhone Operating System) and Android apps to determine the types of nail health apps that are available for patient education. A standard app analytics and market data tool was used to search and analyze iOS and Android nail apps for several nail health, psoriasis, and hair loss keywords.

Practice Points

  • Patient-targeted mobile applications (apps) might aid with clinical referencing and education.
  • There are patient-directed psoriasis and hair loss apps on iOS and Android platforms, but informative apps related to nail disorders are limited.
  • There is a need to develop apps related to nail health for patient education.



The use of mobile devices in health care settings has enhanced clinical practice through real-time communication and direct patient monitoring.1 With advancements in technology, improving the accessibility and quality of patient care using mobile devices is a hot topic. In 2018, 261.34 million people worldwide used smartphones compared to 280.54 million in 2021—a 7.3% increase.2 Revenue from sales of mobile applications (apps) is projected to reach $693 billion in 2021.3

A range of apps targeted to patients is available for acne, melanoma, and teledermatology.4-6 Nail disorders are a common concern, representing 21.1 million outpatient visits in 2007 to 2016,7 but, to date, the availability of apps related to nail disorders has not been explored. In this study, we investigated iOS (Apple’s iPhone Operating System) and Android apps to determine the types of nail health apps that are available, using psoriasis and hair loss apps as comparator groups.


A standard app analytics and market data tool (App Annie; https://www.appannie.com/en/) was utilized to search for iOS and Android nail mobile apps.4,5 The analysis was performed on a single day (March 23, 2020), given that app searches can change on a daily basis. Our search included the following keywords: nail, nail health, toenail fungus, nail tumor, brittle nails, onychomycosis, onycholysis, subungual melanoma, nail melanoma, paronychia, and nail squamous cell carcinoma. App Annie app descriptions were assessed to determine the type of each app (Lifestyle, Medical, Health & Fitness) and target audience (patient, physician, or both). Psoriasis and hair loss topics were chosen as controls for comparison, based on a prior study.8 For psoriasis, the keywords psoriasis and chronic skin disease were searched. Hair loss was searched using the keywords alopecia, hair loss, hair health, and scalp.


Nail-Related Apps
Using keywords for nail-related terms on iOS and Android platforms, our search returned few specific and informative apps related to nail disorders (Table 1). When the terms brittle nails, nail, nail health, nail squamous cell carcinoma, and nail tumor were searched, all available nail apps were either nail games or virtual nail salons for entertainment purposes. For the terms nail melanoma and subungual melanoma, there were no specific nail apps that appeared in the search results; rather, the App Annie search yielded only general dermatology and melanoma apps. The terms onycholysis and paronychia both yielded 0 hits for iOS and Android.

App Annie Search Results for Nail-Related Applications (Apps) for iOS and Androida

The only search terms that returned specific nail apps were onychomycosis and toenail fungus. Initially, when onychomycosis was searched, only 1 Google Play Medical category app was found: “Nail fungal infection (model onychomycosis).” Although this app recently was removed from the app store, it previously allowed the user to upload a nail photograph, with which a computing algorithm assessed whether the presentation was a fungal nail infection. Toenail fungus returned 1 iOS Medical category app and 5 Android Health & Fitness category apps with reference material for patients. Neither of the 2 medical apps for onychomycosis and toenail fungus referenced a physician involved in the app development.

Psoriasis Comparator
On the contrary, a search for psoriasis yielded 22 hits for iOS and 34 hits for Android within the Health & Fitness, Medical, and Social Networking categories (Table 2). The search term chronic skin disease returned 18 apps for iOS and 60 apps for Android related to psoriasis; 100% were classified as Medical apps.

App Annie Search Results for Psoriasis-Related and Hair Loss Applications (Apps) for iOS and Android

Hair Loss Comparator
Search terms related to hair conditions—specifically, alopecia—yielded 0 apps for iOS and 10 for Android platforms (Table 2). Using the search term hair loss, 12 apps for iOS and 50 apps for Android were found within the Health & Fitness, Medical, and Beauty categories. The search terms hair health and hair loss resulted in 2 and 12 apps in both iOS and Android, respectively. In addition, the search term scalp was associated with 6 related apps in iOS and 7 in Android, both in the Health & Fitness and Medical categories.

Other Findings
Most apps for psoriasis and hair health were identified as patient focused. Although iOS and Android are different operating systems, some health apps overlapped: subungual melanoma and toenail fungus had a 20% overlap; psoriasis, 19%; chronic skin disease, 2%; alopecia, 0%; hair loss and hair health, 10%; and scalp, 18%. iOS and Android nail entertainment games had approximately a 30% overlap. Tables 1 and 2 also compare the number of free and paid apps; most available apps were free.


Next Article: