Apart from checking the clock for time, one of the best things Apple Watch does is to monitor your activity – physical. Apple Watch tracks your physical movement and keeps a record of steps walked or calories burned. This is highly useful when you are out for a walk or working out in a gym.
But for some reason, if your Apple Watch not tracking your steps and fitness activities, then it is entirely understandable that you get frustrated. Especially after running on the street for 60 minutes, just to find that your Apple Watch has tracked only 10 minutes.
Before we proceed to fix the issue, below are some points you should keep in mind. It is possible that you might be misinterpreting some of the terminologies on Apple Watch.
Explanations on how Apple Watch tracks your physical activity
Stand Ring: This is one of the most confusing terms on Apple Watch. The notification you receive from Stand Ring does not tell you to stand, it just notifies that you have not moved around from quite some time. Try having a walk for 60 seconds and check if there is any change in the Stand ring.
Exercise Ring: Now, this is a real deal, this ring keeps track of your physical exercise. Apple Watch has been designed to learn from your habits. The ring does not move if you do routine tasks in your home or office. It starts tracking once your heart starts pumping above average. For instance, a person running 10kms every day will have to do a little more to move this ring up.
Move Ring: The Move ring keeps track of your calories: Active and Resting. Resting calories are the ones that your body burns all the time, even when you are breathing. Active calories are the one that your burn by working out. Apple Watch does not track resting calories, so if you think your Apple Watch is not functioning properly, then I am sorry to say you are wrong. Same like Exercise ring, Move ring also learns gradually from your habits, and you will notice it growing smarter over a period of time.
If you have understood how Apple Watch tracks physical activity and still feel that your activities are not properly tracked, check the possible fixes given below.
12 Tips to Fix Apple Watch Not Tracking Steps Issue
Tip #1: Check that you are Wearing it Firmly
If your Apple Watch is not counting steps, the first thing to ensure is that are you wearing it firmly or not. Apple clearly states that ‘A better fit means better readings.’ The band should not be too loose or too tight. Try to achieve just the right fit.
Tip #2. Have a Good GPS Reception
Make sure you are in an open space that has a good GPS reception. It helps in tracking steps accurately.
Tip #3. Turn on Location Service on Apple Watch
Double – check if location services are turned ON, on your Apple Watch. For this: Launch Settings → Privacy → Location Services. Now, make sure toggle is ON.
Tip #4. Check if Motion Calibration & Distance is ON, on your iPhone
- Open Settings → Tap on Privacy.
- Tap on Location Services. (Make sure this is ON)
- Tap on System Services.
- Turn on Motion Calibration & Distance.
Tip #5. Check Fitness Tracking is turned ON
- Open Watch app on your paired iPhone.
- Scroll a little and tap on Privacy
- Check if Fitness Tracking is toggled ON. If not, turn it ON and restart your iPhone and Apple Watch.
Tip #6. Make Sure the Watch is Unlocked
For step tracking to work flawlessly, keep the watch unlocked. For this, it is recommended that you set your Apple Watch to automatically unlock whenever you unlock your iPhone, and it remains that way until you take the watch off your wrist. For this:
Step #1. Launch Watch app on your iPhone.
Step #2. Scroll down and tap on Passcode.
Step #3. Make sure Unlock with iPhone is turned on. Also, for added security, keep Wrist Detection on.
Tip #7. Keep Personal Information Accurate
Apple Watch uses your personal information to calculate how many calories you burn and more. So it is always advisable to keep your health information accurate.
Step #1. Launch the Health app on your iPhone and tap on your profile picture in the top right.
Step #2. Now tap on Health Profile ⟶ Edit (on top right) and fill in the details. Tap Done.
Tip #8. Configure your Activity App
Activity app enables you to track how much you move, exercise, and stand from day to day. Make sure it is configured on your Apple Watch. If this app is not set correctly, it won’t track your steps and other activities accurately.
Tip #9. Turn off Third-party Apps
Many times if your steps are not being appropriately tracked, turn off all apps running in the background. It may help.
Tip #10. Check for Software Updates
Most of the times, Apple finds the issue and fix it in the next OS release. Now we don’t know whether the problem on hand is because of the iPhone or the Watch. So it is better to check both – iOS or watchOS for any software updates.
Tip #11. Recalibrate your Apple Watch
Calibrating/Recalibrating your Apple Watch improves the accuracy of your distance, pace, and calorie measurements. It can also help your watch learn your fitness level and stride, which improves efficiency when GPS is limited or unavailable.
Reset your calibration data. To do this:
Step #1. Launch Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
Step #2. Tap on Privacy ⟶ Reset Fitness Calibration Data. Confirm it.
Step #3. Make sure you are following Tip #4 mentioned above.
Step #4. Wear your Apple Watch and go outside to a flat, open outdoor area that offers good GPS reception.
Note: If you have Apple Watch Series 2 or later, you just need your Apple Watch. If you have Apple Watch Series 1, you will have to bring your iPhone for GPS. Hold the iPhone in your hands or wear it on an armband.
Step #5. Launch the Workout app on your Apple Watch. To start, tap on Outdoor Walk or Outdoor Run. To set a goal before starting, tap on three horizontal lines.
Step #6. Walk or run for about 20 minutes at your normal pace.
Note: If you do not have 20 minutes now, you can complete it over multiple outdoor workout sessions.
Tip #12. Unpair and Pair it Again as New
Above is the list of basic troubleshooting, if your Apple Watch still does not track your complete activity, then one of the users on Apple forum has a temporary fix which many users have found to be working. Fix is to update both: Apple Watch and your iPhone to the latest software. After that, UNPAIR your Apple Watch and then PAIR it again as NEW.