How to ensure you're getting full credit towards your Move & Exercise goals on Apple Watch...

Posted:
in Apple Watch
Although the Apple Watch does a lot of its fitness tracking without any help, it isn't perfect, and there are a few things you can do to guarantee the most accurate possible results.




One basic step is to make sure you're wearing the Watch properly. It should be strapped tight near the top of the wrist, though not so tight that it's uncomfortable to wear during the day. This allows the heart rate sensor to pick up as much data as possible.




Along those lines, some bands may provide better results than others. You might prefer the look and feel of a particular accessory, but if it causes your Watch to lose readings, it's not much help in tracking.

For the sake of motion sensing, you'll want to make sure you're wearing the Watch on your non-dominant hand, and have its orientation configured properly in Apple's companion iPhone app. From the My Watch tab, select General, then Watch Orientation. You might want to have the digital crown facing upwards (towards your arm) if you wear gear like lifting straps at the gym -- otherwise there's a chance of accidental button presses.




There are a few other essential app settings, among them Wrist Detection under the My Watch tab's Passcode menu. Nominally this is a security measure, but it's also mandatory for gauging resting and walking heart rates.

Be sure to go into the tab's Health menu and update your physical stats as necessary, since this data is used to estimate calories burned. Note that if you use a HealthKit-compatible scale, your weight should be updated automatically.

It may be necessary to calibrate your Watch, particularly if it's a Series 1 or 0. For that we've prepared a separate guide.

Finally, Apple recommends certain strategies when you're actually in motion. To earn Exercise credit during a brisk walk for example, it's essential to let your Watch hand swing freely, or else use the Outdoor or Indoor Walk options under the Workout app. If you need that hand for something else, the Workout app is the only choice, since it invokes GPS and HR tracking.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,362member
    "it isn't perfect" is a bit of an understatement. I'd pronounce it "adequate." Running the workout app eats battery. Perhaps this has been addressed by Apple, but any day I run that app for a 30 minute walk costs me about 3 hours of battery. My wife has the 38mm version. She is quite active, and gets maybe 12 hours out of her original AW. If you want "all day" battery...well...get a fitbit.

    The badge things are quite spotty. Sometimes they simply delete themselves. I "earned" on last month (saw it show up as complete) and then it simply disappeared. 

    I like my AW, and didn't buy it for the fitness stuff. I like the idea of "closing rings" and it is sort of entertaining on its own. But it isn't really for a serious athlete, or anyone that is using it consistently for fitness. And perhaps the intent - it was intended to get people to stand up once an hour. It does that fairly well.

    My opinion, YYMV. 

    wreighven
  • Reply 2 of 13
    eightzero said:
    "it isn't perfect" is a bit of an understatement. I'd pronounce it "adequate." Running the workout app eats battery. Perhaps this has been addressed by Apple, but any day I run that app for a 30 minute walk costs me about 3 hours of battery. My wife has the 38mm version. She is quite active, and gets maybe 12 hours out of her original AW. If you want "all day" battery...well...get a fitbit.

    The badge things are quite spotty. Sometimes they simply delete themselves. I "earned" on last month (saw it show up as complete) and then it simply disappeared. 

    I like my AW, and didn't buy it for the fitness stuff. I like the idea of "closing rings" and it is sort of entertaining on its own. But it isn't really for a serious athlete, or anyone that is using it consistently for fitness. And perhaps the intent - it was intended to get people to stand up once an hour. It does that fairly well.

    My opinion, YYMV. 

    I agree with all of your points, if they're applied to the original Apple Watch.  I upgraded to the Series 3 (gray ceramic Edition with cellular) last month, and have found it to be a night and day difference in terms of quality of heart beat readings, battery life, etc.  I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is interested in a "fitness tracker", and it can do so much more.  I workout 1.5 hours per day (one hour HIIT and 2ish miles of running), and frequently get two full days of battery life.

    I do a lot of camping too, and not having to take my Watch charger on a weekend campout (Friday evening to Sunday morning) is a nice bonus.

    If you have the means, I'd highly recommend upgrading.  It's a completely different device!
    edited February 2018 eightzerobrucemcwatto_cobraGeorgeBMacalbegarc
  • Reply 3 of 13
    Another tip: If you're performing exercises where your heart rate will fluctuate rapidly or you need more accurate HR readings (such as heart rate driven exercises.) Then pair a bluetooth heart rate chest-strap with your apple watch. I use the entry level wahoo tickr heart rate monitor and it plays along with the watch very nicely. (Plus if you're doing a long workout it'll save significant battery life on your watch.)
    steveauwatto_cobraGeorgeBMacalbegarc
  • Reply 4 of 13
    I run for two hours every day at ~ 9 KM/H non-stop, and do stair-stepper 3-4 times while at work, never used power saver mode and my battery lasts (~ 5-10% left) two days before it needs recharging. I am using Apple Watch Hermes series 3. Heart monitor on my Apple Watch is very very accurate. I verified it against many other sources and its damn perfect all the time. BTW to respond to the1st poster, it really is for everyone whether you are a serious athlete or just having fun with the watch.
    edited February 2018 wreighvenapple jockeywatto_cobraGeorgeBMaceightzero
  • Reply 5 of 13
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,528member
    wreighven said:
    eightzero said:
    "it isn't perfect" is a bit of an understatement. I'd pronounce it "adequate." Running the workout app eats battery. Perhaps this has been addressed by Apple, but any day I run that app for a 30 minute walk costs me about 3 hours of battery. My wife has the 38mm version. She is quite active, and gets maybe 12 hours out of her original AW. If you want "all day" battery...well...get a fitbit.

    The badge things are quite spotty. Sometimes they simply delete themselves. I "earned" on last month (saw it show up as complete) and then it simply disappeared. 

    I like my AW, and didn't buy it for the fitness stuff. I like the idea of "closing rings" and it is sort of entertaining on its own. But it isn't really for a serious athlete, or anyone that is using it consistently for fitness. And perhaps the intent - it was intended to get people to stand up once an hour. It does that fairly well.

    My opinion, YYMV. 

    I agree with all of your points, if they're applied to the original Apple Watch.  I upgraded to the Series 3 (gray ceramic Edition with cellular) last month, and have found it to be a night and day difference in terms of quality of heart beat readings, battery life, etc.  I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is interested in a "fitness tracker", and it can do so much more.  I workout 1.5 hours per day (one hour HIIT and 2ish miles of running), and frequently get two full days of battery life.

    I do a lot of camping too, and not having to take my Watch charger on a weekend campout (Friday evening to Sunday morning) is a nice bonus.

    If you have the means, I'd highly recommend upgrading.  It's a completely different device!
    I echo this.  I had the original AW (purchased June 2015), and I noticed that the battery life was getting shorter with watchOS 4 as well as some degradation over 2.5 years.  Where I used to be able to do 30-60 min workouts and still have a good 20-30% battery at the end of the day, I was not always making it to end of day sometimes.

    Received the non-cellular Series 3 AW for Christmas (company mobile plan doesn't allow the add on, so no point to get the cellular version), and was a significant improvement.  Beyond the new (from original) features of GPS, water proof, brighter screen - the battery life improvement over original AW was significant.  More than double.  As noted, I can easily go 2 days, with workouts, and never using batter saving mode.  Also, while not a big deal, I do quite like the Siri "talk back" feature with Series 3.
    watto_cobraGeorgeBMacalbegarc
  • Reply 6 of 13
    aegean said:
    I run for two hours every day at ~ 9 KM/H non-stop, and do stair-stepper 3-4 times while at work, never used power saver mode and my battery lasts (~ 5-10% left) two days before it needs recharging. I am using Apple Watch Hermes series 3. Heart monitor on my Apple Watch is very very accurate. I verified it against many other sources and its damn perfect all the time. BTW to respond to the1st poster, it really is for everyone whether you are a serious athlete or just having fun with the watch.
    I really appreciate the information in this article

    I had the first Apple Watch and loved it, and found it very accurate, handed it off to my daughter and now I am still using Series 2. I also find it very valuable in my exercise program, biking, hiking, swimming and walking. Not only accurate, but motivational at whatever level of activity a person chooses. Adding the use of a calorie counter or similar eating diary anyone, young or old and any activity level, can make significant progress toward a healthy lifestyle.  

    Battery life has not been a problem in my experience, daily min. 14 hour use.

    Just another gem in the Apple stable! It has been a good run.

    Regards to all. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯



    .
    steveauwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,950member
    eightzero said:
    "it isn't perfect" is a bit of an understatement. I'd pronounce it "adequate." Running the workout app eats battery. Perhaps this has been addressed by Apple, but any day I run that app for a 30 minute walk costs me about 3 hours of battery. My wife has the 38mm version. She is quite active, and gets maybe 12 hours out of her original AW. If you want "all day" battery...well...get a fitbit.

    The badge things are quite spotty. Sometimes they simply delete themselves. I "earned" on last month (saw it show up as complete) and then it simply disappeared. 

    I like my AW, and didn't buy it for the fitness stuff. I like the idea of "closing rings" and it is sort of entertaining on its own. But it isn't really for a serious athlete, or anyone that is using it consistently for fitness. And perhaps the intent - it was intended to get people to stand up once an hour. It does that fairly well.

    My opinion, YYMV. 
    Have you tried disabling Raise to Wake? If you don't need a network connection on your walks have you tried putting it in Airplane Mode. Are you streaming audio from your iPhone via BT or Apple Music over cellular (or WiFi if you're on a treadmill)?

    I keep Raise to Wake disabled in general to save on battery life and I've noticed no aberrations with my battery drain using the default workout app between either my Series 0 and Series 3 Watch.

    I also use a sleep monitoring app aptly named Sleep Watch that uses over a few percent of my battery life each night, but I also make sure I enable Airplane Mode as there's no reason for it to be trying to connect to my iPhone whilst I sleep.

    You may want to see if a Genius appt. at an Apple SSTore can find an issue with the battery, app, or OS because your experience sounds highly atypical.
    edited February 2018
  • Reply 8 of 13
    eightzero said:
    "it isn't perfect" is a bit of an understatement. I'd pronounce it "adequate." Running the workout app eats battery. Perhaps this has been addressed by Apple, but any day I run that app for a 30 minute walk costs me about 3 hours of battery. My wife has the 38mm version. She is quite active, and gets maybe 12 hours out of her original AW. If you want "all day" battery...well...get a fitbit.

    The badge things are quite spotty. Sometimes they simply delete themselves. I "earned" on last month (saw it show up as complete) and then it simply disappeared. 

    I like my AW, and didn't buy it for the fitness stuff. I like the idea of "closing rings" and it is sort of entertaining on its own. But it isn't really for a serious athlete, or anyone that is using it consistently for fitness. And perhaps the intent - it was intended to get people to stand up once an hour. It does that fairly well.

    My opinion, YYMV. 

    I try to run for 1 to 1 1/2 hours on most days and my series 0 (hardly new) has no problem running all day -- 15-18 hours.   If you're having problems, you may want to check your settings as well as the watch faces you're using.
    albegarc
  • Reply 9 of 13
    Another tip: If you're performing exercises where your heart rate will fluctuate rapidly or you need more accurate HR readings (such as heart rate driven exercises.) Then pair a bluetooth heart rate chest-strap with your apple watch. I use the entry level wahoo tickr heart rate monitor and it plays along with the watch very nicely. (Plus if you're doing a long workout it'll save significant battery life on your watch.)
    Interesting you should mention that:   I just sent my series 0 to Apple repair yesterday because it was not handling changes in heart rate well:   When I start a run it can take 5 minutes before it starts displaying and recording heart rate.   But, once I settle in and my heart rate stabilizes it seems to do OK.
    (I love AppleCare+!)

    My suspicion has been that the older processor just couldn't handle the newer software.  But Apple support said "No, send to us for repair".
    edited February 2018
  • Reply 10 of 13
    aegean said:
    I run for two hours every day at ~ 9 KM/H non-stop, and do stair-stepper 3-4 times while at work, never used power saver mode and my battery lasts (~ 5-10% left) two days before it needs recharging. I am using Apple Watch Hermes series 3. Heart monitor on my Apple Watch is very very accurate. I verified it against many other sources and its damn perfect all the time. BTW to respond to the1st poster, it really is for everyone whether you are a serious athlete or just having fun with the watch.
    Congrats on the nice running!  I've been trying to hit a 9minute Km in a 10K but the closest I've come is a 9'17".

    While I am a fan of the Apple Watch, few of my serious running friends are.  They all use Garmins.  While the AW hardware (except for the screen -- which is not well suited for "always on / low battery use" running) is generally far superior, the software lags well behind what is available on the Garmins.

    I wish Apple would talk to some serious runners when they put out WatchOS5.  The software works fine for casual runners but lacks power for the more serious stuff.  Third party apps could remedy that situation, but there aren't many quality ones that run natively on the watch.
    respenceralbegarc
  • Reply 11 of 13
    ....
     If you need that hand for something else, the Workout app is the only choice, since it invokes GPS and HR tracking.
    Actually, that's true for more than just if you're using that hand for something else:   I did an exceptionally hard strength & core workout for an hour on Monday but forgot to start the Workout app -- and the exercise ring hardly moved (less than a quarter).

    If you're doing a cardio workout the watch seems better at figuring that out.   But other workouts that don't have elevated heart rates need you to start the app in order to move that green ring.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    I have been a serious runner for over 40 years. The last 25 years I have used a HRM for scientific training data. Most of those years required wearing a chest strap, which I hate. They are uncomfortable, often slip, require semi-often battery replacement, and I think they may restrict breathing a little during high stress runs. Imagine my delight when Apple announced they would come out with a strapless fitness watch! I waited until series 2 came out and dropped my $400. I have been a huge Apple fan since 1985 when my first Mac Plus showed me how much more pleasant computing can be. But this Apple watch for me has been a terrible disappointment. I have found its ability to accurately record HRs is inconsistent and not at all accurate. It sometimes won't display an HR for a whole run. It is always turning on and off for any run. I don't think I ever completed one with a single string of data. For my intense physical training sessions, whenever I switch from a slower paced activity to a high intensity one, the HR goes blank. I worked for a couple of weeks with Apple Help and the technicians were very knowledgeable and friendly, but at the end of trying to get mine to work for me pretty much decided it is me and the way I work out. We tried just about every trick you can dream up to get it to work for me. So guess what. I now have a chest strap again. Even it is a little funky with how it works with Apple. I have to turn bluetooth off in my 7+ or the phone tries to take over the strap's data feed, though I don't know where it stores it. If the watch is receiving the data, it is very accurate and immediate. My Apple Watch Series 2 feels and acts like an early beta product; not something ready for prime time.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 13 of 13
    respencer said:
    I have been a serious runner for over 40 years. The last 25 years I have used a HRM for scientific training data. Most of those years required wearing a chest strap, which I hate. They are uncomfortable, often slip, require semi-often battery replacement, and I think they may restrict breathing a little during high stress runs. Imagine my delight when Apple announced they would come out with a strapless fitness watch! I waited until series 2 came out and dropped my $400. I have been a huge Apple fan since 1985 when my first Mac Plus showed me how much more pleasant computing can be. But this Apple watch for me has been a terrible disappointment. I have found its ability to accurately record HRs is inconsistent and not at all accurate. It sometimes won't display an HR for a whole run. It is always turning on and off for any run. I don't think I ever completed one with a single string of data. For my intense physical training sessions, whenever I switch from a slower paced activity to a high intensity one, the HR goes blank. I worked for a couple of weeks with Apple Help and the technicians were very knowledgeable and friendly, but at the end of trying to get mine to work for me pretty much decided it is me and the way I work out. We tried just about every trick you can dream up to get it to work for me. So guess what. I now have a chest strap again. Even it is a little funky with how it works with Apple. I have to turn bluetooth off in my 7+ or the phone tries to take over the strap's data feed, though I don't know where it stores it. If the watch is receiving the data, it is very accurate and immediate. My Apple Watch Series 2 feels and acts like an early beta product; not something ready for prime time.
    My gen 0 has been doing something very similar.   But it only started sometime after Watch OS4 was released.   Right now Apple says it is a bad sensor and I have sent it in for repair/replace.   It should be interesting to see what it does once I get it back.

    But I have always found the chest strap more accurate...
    Instead of turning off bluetooth on your phone, have you tried tapping the "i" next to the chest strap on your list of bluetooth devices and telling your iPhone to "Forget"?
    edited February 2018
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