Apple tells users to erase, restore iPhone and Apple Watch to fix Workout GPS data bug

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited October 2020
Apple on Wednesday published a support document that presents potential solutions for a bug that can in some cases lead to missing Workout GPS route data for Apple Watch users running iOS 14 and watchOS 7.

Missing GPS Route Data


The problem was first spotted last week, when Apple Watch users found the device seemingly fail to record GPS mapping data for recent workouts. Some found missing data in the Fitness app on iPhone after using both Apple's own Workout app and third-party titles like Strava.

Apple offers a rather extreme solution to address the GPS bug, along with other related issues, in a support document published today. According to the company, users running iOS 14 on their iPhone and watchOS 7 on Apple Watch need to completely erase and restore both devices from an iCloud Backup.

Specifically, Apple says to first unpair Apple Watch from iPhone, which creates a backup of onboard content before erasing it from the device. Users are then instructed to create or update a current iCloud Backup, verifying that Health data storage is enabled in iCloud. From there, a complete iPhone reset that erases all contents and settings is required.

Once both devices are stripped of user data and settings, Apple says to first restore iPhone from the recently saved iCloud Backup, then pair and restore Apple Watch using the Watch app.

In addition to missing workout route maps, the reset routine is also recommended for the following symptoms:
  • The Activity, Heart Rate, or other health-related apps fail to launch or load data on your Apple Watch.
  • The Fitness app or Health app fail to launch or load data on your iPhone.
  • The Health app or Fitness app is reporting an inaccurate amount of data storage on your iPhone.
  • The Activity app is reporting an inaccurate amount of data storage on your Apple Watch.
  • Your environmental sound levels data or headphone audio levels data from Apple Watch is missing in the Apple Health app on iPhone.
  • Increased battery drain on your iPhone or Apple Watch.

MacRumors reported on Apple's support document earlier today.

Apple fails to detail what, exactly, is causing the errors, but a complete system reset on both iPhone and Apple Watch is a drastic measure that suggests iOS 14 and watchOS 7 might suffer from a data handling, storage or synchronization bug. Whether the problem was fixed in the recently released iOS 14.0.1 or watchOS 7.0.1 updates.
NorwichGordyTomPMRI
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    That’s rough. I haven’t been affected by this myself but I know people who have. Unfortunately, the one who is most concerned is in her mid-70s, goes for 6-8 mile walks a few times a week and won’t be confident in doing an erase and restore to both of her devices. 

    In practice this solution isn’t that difficult but I know some people will struggle just at the thought of it. 
    edited September 2020 gregoriusmNorwichGordymuthuk_vanalingamAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 31
    Apple support had me follow this procedure. It fixed my data sync problem, which had been immediately obvious when I upgraded to iOS 14 and watchOS 7. Upgrading to iOS 14.0.1 and watchOS 7.0.1 had not fixed the problem but the dual reset did. 
    gregoriusmNorwichGordycaladanianTomPMRIAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 31
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    That’s really quite a poor show from Apple here, in terms of quality control and user experience. 


    edited October 2020 ajlNorwichGordycaladanianmuthuk_vanalingamrazorpitlkruppITGUYINSDAlex1NMplsP
  • Reply 4 of 31
    Rayz2016 said:
    That’s really quite a poor show from Apple here, in terms of quality control and user experience. 


    I’d be my last day in SW development if I had to advise my customers to do this
    ajlNorwichGordycaladanianlongpathGeorgeBMacelijahglkruppTomPMRIAlex1NIreneW
  • Reply 5 of 31
    benjerbenjer Posts: 91member
    I don't usually look at my workout maps unless I run an unfamiliar route...but sure enough, the gps data is missing from my runs since I updated.

    I'm also getting poor battery performance on my Apple Watch 4 since the update as well. ihatescreennames said:
    That’s rough. I haven’t been affected by this myself but I know people who have. Unfortunately, the one who is most concerned is in her mid-70s, goes for 6-8 mile walks a few times a week and won’t be confident in doing an erase and restore to both of her devices. 

    In practice this solution isn’t that difficult but I know some people will struggle just at the thought of it. 
    True. If you've never done this before, it's not necessarily a simple fix.
    muthuk_vanalingamAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 31
    I am experiencing this problem, but because I am using an original model Watch, which otherwise is still working fine with my (original) iPhone SE, I am stuck back on Watch OS4.3.2. So I’m in a bit of a quandary, whilst I’d love to have the maps back in my Activity app, do I really want to go through this rather drastic process? I’m guessing that if Apple ever do come up with a Watch OS update which addresses the issue, it won’t be an update to the OS which I’m on...
    Buying a new Watch would obviously solve the problem, but I’m not about to do that just to get my workout maps back!
    Alex1N
  • Reply 7 of 31
    I’m affected. Battery drain and no maps on Workouts anymore at least.

    but I’ve just ordered a new Apple Watch and probably I will wait until I receive it to do anything...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 31
    Wow. Erase the phone to fix a bug!!
    muthuk_vanalingamAlex1N
  • Reply 9 of 31
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    I have not experienced any of these problems after updating my iPhone 7 and Series 4 AppleWatch.

    But, as a warning, I have experienced problems when trying to restore an iPhone and then re-pair it with a watch.  
    Specifically:   The iPhone would restore and appear to be fully functional but the pairing process would fail on multiple attempts.

    Eventually what was happening became more clear:   while the data (such as contacts) was restored from the iCloud backup, the phone was still restoring data from elsewhere.   That was data that was not backed up under iCloud backup such as:  music, health, pictures, etc....   While it was never exactly clear what was going on, it appeared to be that the download of that additional data overrode the download of data to pair the Apple Watch (almost like WiFi had failed) and the pairing process failed.

    The solution was to wait till the next day to pair the watch to the newly restored iPhone.
    h4y3sNorwichGordyTomPMRIcaladanianAlex1N
  • Reply 10 of 31
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,752member
    My sister and I also had the workout GPS bug, and the only way to get GPS data logging again was to erase and restore. There was no setting anywhere that I could find to turn logging on or off. 

    Also my friend couldn't update her S3 watch because of lack of space, despite there being nothing but the stock apps, no photos and no music on her Watch. Ended up erasing and reinstalling.

    Also my X is using a lot more battery since iOS14, an hour of browsing in Safari uses about 30% of the battery (which is on 80% lifetime).

    None of these is a good experience and obviously the bug is widespread enough for a support note, so it should be fixed. There are reports of significant battery usage after every major iOS update. If Apple is not able to find these bugs during in-house testing then they need to obtain a customer's device that is exhibiting the symptoms to find the bug. And after that, improve their in-house testing.
    SpamSandwichcaladanianAlex1N
  • Reply 11 of 31
    Joer293Joer293 Posts: 29unconfirmed, member
    I have the latest update beta and it does not fix the issues with battery or gps. <begin rant>. Yes I’m very familiar with apples default response of wipe and load the watch. It’s a gamble of your time if that even works for the specific issues. It’s just a way for Apple to get you out of the store or off the phone most times.  This is not at all simple or short unless you are someone who barely uses the watch for anything. It can take a couple hours for backup and restore, if it works successfully the first time. plus 2 - 7 days for banks to revalidate the “it should be instant” Apple Pay. Plus phone calls where the banks blame Apple and Apple blames the banks. Plus COVID wait times. And don’t forget carriers that are unable to process activation on cellular and “nobody else has this issue” reported by many people. Then there are always apps that need to be reconfigured, data lost, etc. wipe and load should be a last resort. Oh and there is no way to validate a backup is good. I’ve had it happen twice where iTunes says the backup was corrupted, must start over as new watch. Especially on upgrading to a new watch restores are unreliable <end rant> 
    edited October 2020 NorwichGordycaladanianAlex1N
  • Reply 12 of 31
    The upgrade to iOS 14 & iPadOS 14 both cleared out Notes, which have each taken ~2 weeks to completely download from iCloud.com. Notes is important to me, which makes this workaround unappealing.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 31
    f1turbof1turbo Posts: 257member
    I had heard about this bug shortly after updating my iPhone and Series 4 watch.  Checked my workout data, no maps.  Since I’d ordered a Series 6 watch, I figured that update would take care of the problem. Nope. I’ve also noticed that at least one workout, Traditional Strength Training, was never transferred to the iPhone Fitness app.  Very disappointing.  Also, this is my fourth Watch I’ve had, and my new Series 6 is the first one that has just crashed while using it, at least that I can remember, and it’s done it 3 or 4 times in it’s first week. 
    Alex1N
  • Reply 14 of 31
    Does this solution also work if one chooses to backup to one's local machine instead of iCloud?

    But apparently I don't need to, unless it only affects "runs".  My outdoor walks seem to be recording the GPS route just fine.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 15 of 31
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Been running this for two and a half hours, and I’ve no idea if I’m going to get my activity/health data back. 

    My advice: if the GPS stuff isn’t that important to you, then don’t risk it. 
    caladanian
  • Reply 16 of 31
    What about us users who do not use iCloud for backup? I back up to my Mac. I'm not paying extra for storage and I do not trust the cloud with MY data. From data breaches to holding my data hostage, I will not use the cloud. Its all about locking you in and making it harder to change in the future. I don't want some pimple faced geek laughing at my pictures, or having items now deemed "inappropriate" removed, to being prosecuted for having the wrong type of data as well. In today's heated climate, saying, doing, or having the wrong things can get you cancelled. I'm not buying into Orwellian surveillance in the name of so called convenience. 
    Ok then. Just make sure you secure your mac. 
    I can see why you would be afraid to say the wrong thing with what you said. I’m a geek that has no pimples and are offended by your remarks. /s
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 31
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    If one has no computer and no full-device iCloud backups, this seems like a really bad idea.
    Alex1Nmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 31
    If one has no computer and no full-device iCloud backups, this seems like a really bad idea.
    Kinda like having a house or car without insurance. Heavy price to learn a lesson, but most of us have gone thru this. 

    Strange thing is that Apple’s tech support rarely advises to restore from a backup if you encounter an OS bug because a lot of times it’s in the backup. So you have a chance of bringing it back. 
    edited October 2020 Alex1N
  • Reply 19 of 31
    This can be a nightmare having to reset my iPhone AND Apple Watch!  When I got my iPhone 11 PRO MAX a year ago, it was DAYS before it totally restored all my data to the phone!  Pictures especially.  Then have to re-do all my Apple Pay cards?  God knows what else I'll have to spend hours setting back up, not to mention the DATA that is going to be used on my internet plan (yes, we are capped at 1TB at home) downloading all my cloud data back.

    I can see that my walks are no longer being mapped as of 09/18/20.  So apparently I am affected, although I could care less about the maps.  I walk the same route every day.

    But I am having HomeKit camera issues that are GPS related.  Cameras that are set to OFF when Home, are not turning on when I am AWAY.  I wonder if this is related?
    Alex1N
  • Reply 20 of 31
    Rayz2016 said:
    Been running this for two and a half hours, and I’ve no idea if I’m going to get my activity/health data back. 

    My advice: if the GPS stuff isn’t that important to you, then don’t risk it. 
    Agreed.. while i like having the maps, it would be a huge headache and risk to reboot everything. Luckily my mileage is still being recorded... nope, I’m not gonna do it... hopefully they get a fix for this soon!
    beowulfschmidt
Sign In or Register to comment.