Solved – Apple Watch Not Registering Exercise

Activity showing exercise creditOver on the Facebook group (podfeet.com/facebook) there’s been a discussion of the problem when an Apple Watch refuses to give Exercise credit in the Activity app. Using Activity is all about credit, so this is pretty important to Apple Watch users.

I started the discussion actually on behalf of fellow NosillaCastaway, Lindsay Tondee, aka Jibblies in the live chat room, aka Forbes’s mother, aka my daughter. Here’s an example of the problem. In one outdoor walk she had an average heart rate of 132BPM for 43 minutes, and her exercise circle only went 1/4 of the way around, or about 7 minutes (the goal is always 30 minutes). She rebooted both the phone and the watch but she still couldn’t get exercise credit.

Denise Crown jumped in and said she’d seen the same problem. Denise found that if she used the indoor walk setting, or even “other”, she WOULD get credit for the exercise time, that it was outdoor walk that wouldn’t work properly.

Denise called Apple about it, and they suggested unpairing, doing an unencrypted backup to iTunes (why unencrypted?) and then to set up as new. This didn’t fix the problem either.

Being a scientist, Lindsay dug in to do exhaustive testing. She was able to replicate Denise’s results, that it seemed to be only outdoor walk that received no credit for exercise. When watchOS 3 came out, Lindsay and Denise both immediately jumped in to test, but still the problem persisted.

Shortly after watchOS 3 came out, Denise got a new phone and a new Apple Watch, and suddenly she got exercise credit on outdoor walks. She was frustrated though because now there was no control group – was it the watch or the phone that was the root cause.

Finally Lindsay did what most geeks do as the very last resort. She called Apple. Luckily she got a completely different answer than the Apple rep gave Denise. I’m proud of Lindsay in so many ways but I can’t tell you how much it warms a mother’s heart to realize that her daughter is as geeky at heart as she is. Anyway, here’s Lindsay’s explanation of the solution.

Apparently there is a calibration setting that you’re supposed to do when you first get the watch, and I have no recollection of doing it. To reset, go to the Watch app on your phone, go to the My Watch tab, Privacy>Motion and Fitness>Reset Calibration Data. This will not erase your activity for the day (yippee!)

Then the important part: soon after that, go on an outdoor walk or run for at least 20 minutes (so maybe wait to reset calibration until right before working out). Make sure you have your phone with you so it can accurately capture your GPS. Don’t putter around your home on this outdoor walk or else it’ll think you’ve travelled 0 mi for 20 minutes (I think that’s how mine got messed up). I went on a 20 min walk and it gave me 17 min of exercise, which I think is fair because I stopped for a few min to pick up 🐶 💩

Here’s the support article: https://support.apple.com/en-us/ht204516

I’m so happy she finally got this resolved, and even more delighted that she documented all of it for the community! I also put this down as another reason to buy AppleCare.

149 thoughts on “Solved – Apple Watch Not Registering Exercise

  1. Denise - October 9, 2016

    Art and I both calibrated our watches 38/42 mm under watchOS 2.0.1, and outdoor walk still would not record on the first gen hardware for either of us. The plot thickens, we recalibrated the same hardware on watchOS 3 and still failed to capture a correct reading. I finally got it to work under watchOS3 with the series 2 hardware. The explanation Apple have me for using an UI unencrypted backup is that they we wanted all the health tracking erased to see if that has an effect. Much respect for Apple’s second-level engineering support, but I was not down for that experiment. I do think it is, or was, a software problem.

  2. Paul Ardeleanu - October 9, 2016

    Thank you for the article.
    A small correction to be made: it’s watchOS 3 and not iOS3. Current iOS version is 10.

  3. podfeet - October 9, 2016

    Thanks so much, Paul! I didn’t have Steve check this one before posting. Fixed now!

  4. podfeet - October 9, 2016

    So you iupaired your watches AND reset them and then repaired them, Denise?

  5. MFStaley - October 9, 2016

    Thank you So much!

    After a rigorous 5 mile walk today, I only received 28 minutes of exercise.
    In no way I felt that the 28 minutes was correct.

    I can’t wait to accomplish th is one set up / recalibration tomorrow AM

  6. Allison Sheridan - October 9, 2016

    Fingers crossed it works for you! Keep us posted.

  7. Joann Cook - October 10, 2016

    Thank you so much for sharing it! Apple also keeps contribution for exercise.

  8. NeatFreakGeek - November 29, 2016

    I did the above and initiallly it works but I find I am having to do this as frequently as every few days to receive the credit. It’s a really annoying bug

  9. makfan - February 14, 2017

    I found your comment because my exercise minutes have slipped down and I’m having trouble meeting the 30 minutes. I have an injury and I just cannot maintain my old pace right now as it aggravates it. I will try to recalibrate tomorrow and see if that helps. Indoor walks are better and Other is pretty much minute for minute.

  10. Anonymous - March 22, 2017

    Thank you so much. This has been bugging me for a few days now. I will have to try this and hope it works.

  11. Susan Dawes - May 30, 2017

    I have tried the recalibration but still only got 3 minutes for 23 minute walk so NO it does not work!

  12. Doug - June 22, 2017

    This honestly seems ridiculous. I just bought an Apple Watch 2 thinking it would be an upgrade from my fitbit, but whereas the fitbit “just worked” when I put it on, the Apple Watch has yet to register any activity at all, save for registering that I have changed elevation from going up and down stairs. Strange. I have been an Apple user since the 80’s and want them to do well, but this kind of experience with a $500 product is unacceptable.

  13. DebMon - June 24, 2017

    I think I’m going to recalibrate every time I use the outdoor walk. I hope they find a fix for this soon. I had such high hopes for the workout feature. After walking 4.5 miles this morning, it shows 9 minutes!

  14. Alison Arnold - June 25, 2017

    I walked my dog for 23 minutes and went swimming in the pool doing at least 10 full laps and my watch says I only excercised for 13 minutes!!! I will calibrate tomorrow but seriously, this bug should be fixed by now – i bought my series 2 watch on Friday

  15. Shubhendu Singh - June 28, 2017

    Thought I was the only (aka dumb) one experiencing this problem. Will try the recalibration tomorrow but frankly don’t recall setting this up when I bought the watch last week. A bug as big as this on a series 2 watch that I paid for $400 is completely unacceptable.

  16. Mariana - July 11, 2017

    I just got my watch yesterday and since it wasn’t counting any steps at all, I recalibrated it and went for a walk. What really fixed my step problem was downloading the new update. However even after recalibrating it, I still didn’t get exercise credit for my 49 minute walk. Tonight I will walk without starting a specific workout and see what happens

  17. Suz - July 15, 2017

    After resetting my calibration data and then going for a 32 minute walk right after (taking my phone as recommended), it only shows I’ve done 15 minutes of exercise. I chose the outdoor walk. I’m using the latest update watchOS3.2.2. Is this listed as a bug still?

  18. Lisa S - July 15, 2017

    Also having issues with walks not registering. I recalibrated last week and since then 4 separate walks over 20 minutes each haven’t registered. The activity is clearly shown on the daily workout list but yet no credit. Makes NO sense! I’ve lost numerous challenges with friends and family who are competing with the activity badges because my exercises aren’t registering. What the heck?!?

  19. Mark Evers - July 25, 2017

    I recalibrated and it seamed to solve the outdoor walk issue for a little while, but not permanently. Today I went for a 45 minute, 2 mile walk with my wife. I only received 5 minutes of exercise credit with the workout app running. Yeah strange thing is I received full time for my 6 minute walk from my car to my building on campus when I wasn’t using the workout app. I don’t have this problem when I use the app for outdoor or indoor swims (although I do get an occasional miscounted lap). Looks like it is a bug with the workout app. Way to go Apple, becoming more like Microsoft everyday.

  20. Phil Evans - August 19, 2017

    Isn’t exercise credit (green ring) earned when your heart rate exceeds a certain threshold? So if you go for a gentle amble it won’t feature whereas if you stride purposefully then you get credit for the period of elevated heart rate? That has always been my assumption. When I pootle into the village with the family i generally burn calories but often see no exercise credit, whereas when I walk to the shops myself i get credit because I generally walk a lot faster. Thinking about recalibration this would establish the difference between a perceived resting threshold and exercise. I think this is the general tone of this thread.
    Currently I am experiencing issues where I get told that I haven’t moved despite running 5k at a decent rate or swimming 2km in open water……both without my phone whereas my cycle trip today tracked perfectly well (with my phone). I’m yet to see a reasonable explanation for that (other than my phone GPS and/or accelerometer are playing up).

  21. podfeet - August 19, 2017

    It’s so curious Phil, because I haven’t yet found a pattern to what’s going on. I use the Apple Watch religiously, and if I get above say 100 BPM, I’ll get full credit for the time. My daughter Lindsay can walk with me, with a higher heart rate for the same time and se will not get credit. She’s upgraded her watch, tried different watchbands, and even recalibrated her watch and nothing she does will fix this. My friend Chris just got an Apple Watch and his heart rate is way above 100BPM and he won’t get credit.

    But lots of people DO get credit like I do. I don’t think this has settled into any pattern I can find.

  22. Kris - August 20, 2017

    I too did all of the steps above (calibrate, etc etc), and I got credit for an outdoor walk 1 time after that. And I NEVER get credit for indoor walks. I don’t understand why indoor walk and outdoor walk are included in the exercise app if they’re not going to count as exercise 🙁

  23. P90x review - September 18, 2017

    it is working just fine for me try to rest it

  24. Nat - September 21, 2017

    I’m having the same problem, but it’s just started for me. Last week it was working fine, now I get 7 min for a 40 min walk. Not sure why it has suddenly changed but it’s really frustrating

  25. Joy - September 29, 2017

    It worked fine once after my recalibration. Today it only showed 3 minutes of exercise. Yet, when I delve deeper, it shows my 38 minutes at 19.50 pace. It just doesn’t register on the rings. Help!

  26. Anonymous - October 10, 2017

    Same thing happening now with my watch. It really sucks…. bought it because it was supposed to be better than all others.

  27. Dan - October 21, 2017

    I had the same issue. Problem is not actually the Activity app, it is the Health app. I had to many apps that were sources into the Heath app. Not only were they providing data to the Health app, they were providing data to each other.

    I had to disconnect each one, remove the devices, delete the Activity app from my phone, unpair, repair, and download the Activity app. I then had all my apps input to MyFitnessPal, which now feeds the Health app.

  28. Allison Sheridan - October 21, 2017

    Interesting, Dan. I’m sure that will help someone else.

  29. jackie - October 22, 2017

    I walked for 40 minutes and it is recorded in the outdoor walk in the activity app but the exercise is just 29m – i don’t have my heart rate turned on to record so it is not that.

    It seemed to always work but now it isn’t??

  30. Anonymous - November 3, 2017

    I did all the steps and walked today for 90 minutes and got exercise credit for 18 minutes. Extremely frustrating

  31. Brandi - November 7, 2017

    Having similar issue. I have the new AW3 and did a spin class yesterday with about 50 minutes with my HR over 130 and it showed 5 minutes of exercise. What? This is crazy as the main reason I bought an AW rather than a new fitbit was that I thought it would work better. ugh

  32. Angel - November 15, 2017

    I did a workout today on the elliptical machine for 11 minutes, and it showed up under my workouts and on my exercise circle.

    Later I did an 18 min outdoor bicycle workout and it was also recorded as a work out (and it has kept my elliptical workout)… but when I checked the rings it was only showing 18 min of workout… as if ring-wise it was erasing the elliptical and replacing it with the bicycling. This is the first time I did two workouts in one day, but it was extremely frustrating to have 18 minutes on there after doing 29 minutes of workout.

    Anyone noticed something similar to this also happening?

  33. Ann - December 2, 2017

    I had an Apple Watch for almost a year and it worked great. All of a sudden the exercise rings were not closing or even registering workouts. I contacted Apple and they had my try a few things out to see if the issue could be fixed. It couldn’t so I had to hand over my watch to Apple so they could look at it. They couldn’t fix it and gave me a new watch. Thought my problems were resolved. Alas, no the same problems exist with my new watch. Contacted Apple again and I have been contacting them regularly for weeks now. They are now having the top people looking into the problem and they are supposed to contact me again later this week. I am so frustrated with this. The workout details are recorded in health app but not on watch with exercise rings closing.

  34. Nate - December 20, 2017

    I need to recalibrate weekly, I hope apple corrects soon

  35. Pamela Trump - December 26, 2017

    I have one walk stride if by myself but another when walking my dog – stop, start, walk a bit, stop smell the roses. I figured if I knew that I covered 1.5 miles and was gone over an hour, then I should at least get my 30 minutes listed. But I never seem to get more than the ring closing 25%…or 7/30 minutes. I will recalibrate it tomorrow but hope Apple is working on this. This is obviously why so many of us have purchased the iwatch – to track the exercise.

  36. julie - December 29, 2017

    This happened to me today for the first time in 6 months of having a series 1 (not Gen 1) watch…only registered 22 minutes in exercise ring after an hour & half outdoor brisk walk.

  37. julie - December 29, 2017

    This happened to me today for the first time in 6 months of having a series 1 (not Gen 1) watch…only registered 22 minutes in exercise ring after an hour & half outdoor brisk walk. Every other time I do this long a walk (I walk at least 1 hour evry day, it records just fine. Not sure why it picked today to bork.

  38. Brianna - January 3, 2018

    Switched from FitBit to the Series 3 a couple of days ago.. still learning the ins and outs of the activity and health apps. I am frustrated though that I logged an outdoor cycle workout in the Workout app, was gone for 15 plus minutes (only did about 2 miles today), and the activity being shown on my watch and in the Activity app still says I’ve only done 11 minutes of activity (which means it isn’t counting ANY of my biking..). As someone has already said, a big reason why a lot of us have these things is for fitness… and it’s rather discouraging on my own personal weight loss journey when my watch is only telling me I’ve done 11 minutes of exercise. I use to do challenges and everything on FitBit and I would love nothing more than to close all of these darn rings every day.

  39. Julie - January 8, 2018

    Wow I love my Gen 2 watch however I am experiencing all of the above. I hope Apple resolves this quickly as the purpose of it is to track our fitness. I am an avid geek from way back…. This is disappointing

  40. Meagan - January 21, 2018

    I’m also having this same issue. Seems to only work without using workout option or by using swimming only. Went for an 7 mile bike ride and only got 9 minutes also did an hour and a half dance class and only got 4….

  41. Amber - January 22, 2018

    I’m having the same issue with my Series 3, and it is so frustrating. I’ve spent a minimum of an hour a day for all 5 days that it has not worked doing research and then working through the suggestions. Can’t Apple fix this with an update? I’ve only had the watch for 2 weeks and splurged on the purchase for the sole reason of tracking my work outs and movement. When my watch tells me to try harder or keep going after coming home from exercise at the end of a long day, I get very frustrated. All of the technology I own is Apple, and I have never had an issue like this.

  42. Grimes - January 23, 2018

    So glad I found this thread. I’m 24 hours into owning this apple watch and thought that it was maybe a bad one. The rings don’t do a thing.
    Its not like I avidly walked all over the mall but was out on the track but I did shoot hoops and ride a stationary bicycle and I have exactly 0 credit for either activity .
    That is not encouraging. Hope it gets resolved. Thank you everyone for all your posts. Helpe me realize that I was not too dumb to use this thing.

  43. Carol Kerr - February 13, 2018

    Exercise ring had been working fine, and then one week , craziness. Took a 40 min walk and get 7 min on exercise ring. Recalibrated as per apple rep, next walk 30 min , 4 min exercise ring. Recalibrated, next walk 19 minutes,and got 7 minutes exercise ring. Next walk 33 minutes, only got 2 minutes exercise on ring. ☹️ I like to achieve the challenge goals but When it won’t register what I’m putting forth .

  44. Sheri Hicks - February 19, 2018

    Mine just started this for the first time today. If I open the workouts in the activity app, it shows my 54 minutes, but my ring only says 22 minutes. I have the series 1 my husband bought me Nov. 2016.

  45. Tim Kero - February 27, 2018

    Outside Walk for 40 min, get credit for nothing except 4 min walking around the house. If Apple were to base merchandise returns on expected results instead of 90 days, I would return my watch. The issue has obviously gone on for years, so any fix must be above Apple’s ability to fix.

  46. Martha - March 5, 2018

    My exercise ring gives too much exercise credit for activities that shouldn’t get much. Yesterday I showered, washed my hair, styled it and received 21 of 30 minutes!!??!! Normally I walk 3-4 miles, tracked with the exercise app in outdoor open walk mode. I’ve tried rebooting and just installed the latest watch software. No change

  47. Sarah - March 7, 2018

    Got AW Series 3 for Xmas and all was working well, until this week. Now it only registers sporadically. I was out for 40 mins this morning with my dogs and it said I was out for 17. What the hell is going on Apple? When you spend this sort of money you expect the top of the range service from your device…if its a bug, fix it please Apple. Like the other reviews, its frustrating when you buy this for its fitness tracking and it doesn’t track what you actually do? Should be at least 90% accurate no?

  48. Lis - March 10, 2018

    Glad I’m not th only one. I have the seri s 3 since Christmas. I walked this morning for 1.24mins and it recognised 24mins. I noted this yesterday and thought it was arranged when it’d only put 4 mins on a 10min walk which I’d paused while I shopped. Not sure how to fix this as I don’t want to loose my history.

  49. Lisa - March 10, 2018

    Glad I’m not th only one. I have the seri s 3 since Christmas. I walked this morning for 1.24mins and it recognised 24mins. I noted this yesterday and thought it was arranged when it’d only put 4 mins on a 10min walk which I’d paused while I shopped. Not sure how to fix this as I don’t want to loose my history.

  50. Rhonda - March 10, 2018

    Sooo glad I’m not the only one, I went for a walk this morning, specifically a hike and it registered 2 mins on the circles but clearly registered my time on the health workouts. It’s frustrating when you are trying to track your workouts and close your rings out and each day it shows you have not done any exercise. That’s one of the main reason this watch was purchased

  51. Anonymous - March 11, 2018

    So glad I found this thread… Had a first gen watch for a good two years now… never any problems. Then yesterday Exercise ring registered zero for the whole day, even though stand and movement were all the way round and then some. I did a recalibrate, and I now have 01 on excercise, when both my movement and hours standing are half way round. Please don’t tell me that the three are not related. I know. I am a very seasoned user of this watch. I’m stating those so you know that I have not been in bed all day, and I have in fact done some activity already.
    Something is clearly wrong. I did the 4.2.3 update about four days ago, but that does not correlate with the failure happening yesterday.
    I’m running an iPhone X 256G, 11.2.6. Apple Watch Model number MJ3T2S/A 4.2.3update.
    I have tried recalibrate, and a reboot of watch.

  52. Deann - March 13, 2018

    I have a series 2 watch. It seemed fine at first, but after a month or so my run distances were behind those of the other people I run with. It has been 5 months now, and the bottom line is that when I turn on any exercise function, the timer starts, but the watch doesn’t register any activity for about 6 minutes, and then it finally starts working. This is for runs, walks, other exercises. It is getting worse by the week. I have spoken with numerous people at Apple and have spent about 20 hours on the phone, in a store, driving to mail the watch off for repair (2 times), and have pretty much gotten zero satisfaction. I purchased this watch for the exercise function after my beloved Microsoft Band 2 broke and Microsoft stopped making them (they gave me my money back), but this watch is far inferior as an exercise tool. I just want my money back and I am totally frustrated with the service I’ve received from Apple. Sorry, I just needed to vent.

  53. sara - March 18, 2018

    I have a seriies 2 it has always been fine but suddenly this week the exercise ring has stopped working I have re-synced, re calbirated and nothing I walk for about an hour or more every day.

    I have my watch through Vitality health scheme at work and luckily their app is still registering my steps which means my vitality points go up but I want the watch to register my exercise as it is an important part of it syncing with my health app.

    Nothing seems to make this work and it seems a lot of people are having the same issues

  54. Sarah - March 20, 2018

    Thank you! I have a series 3 watch and have been having this issue, which has been very frustrating indeed. I will be giving this fix a try this evening.

  55. Tracie - March 26, 2018

    I tried this on my series 3. Still didn’t resolve the problem

  56. Natasha - March 29, 2018

    I have the Same issue Sara is having. Have a Series 2 I watch, iPhone 7+, all of a sudden I’m not registering my activities, rings, steps etc… and it’s very important cuz my Doctor looks at it when I go every 6 weeks. I’ve rebooted, I’ve turned on/off watch..one started last week too !!!

  57. Monica - April 5, 2018

    Me too! Went to the gym and was on cardio machines for 30 minutes. Didnt register as exercise, but did register as steps. My heart rate got past 140. Also went on a 30 minute outdoor walk, and only got steps. Help! I want credit.

  58. Darlene LaRue - April 7, 2018

    I even got talked into purchasing a new AW because it was supposed to be better. Issue NOT resolved…/ I’ll be taking it back. My husband’s works great.

  59. Anonymous - April 10, 2018

    Make sure your information is correct in the Apple Watch app under health. Your height, weight and gender should updated for more accurate results. I had the same problem. Once I update info it seemed to work fine.

  60. Anonymous - April 12, 2018

    My watch was tracking exercise minutes fine until 2-3 weeks ago. Now I can walk on my treadmill at a 3.3-3.4 for an hour and only get 20 mins of exercise credit. I have unpaired and repaired twice. Did not fix the issue.

  61. Fiona Gilby - April 19, 2018

    Hi, new to this, i have a AW 2 all works fine apart from the outdoor walk which done only occasionally credit me for minutes and less calories than other. I have re calibrate, reset and also re paired as above but no still not working. I walk my dog and occasion stop and sniff (the dg not me!) and for his toilet bother other than that i can walk for miles and no credit. HR is 140/145 also. I am at my wits end – can anybody assist me.

  62. Anonymous - April 21, 2018

    I am having the same issue. I just recalibrated and got 1 minute of my 30 minute walk. I did Other and got credit but didn’t track my distance which is one of the things I want tracked. I have a series 3 and don’t want to have to take my phone just to track distance and get it to count. How has apple not fixed this problem yet?

  63. LA - April 22, 2018

    Same issue today. I workout a lot and only see this for outdoor walks. Today walked with my dog for an hour and over 3 miles. Registered 29 minutes on exercise ring though app registered full time and steps. Is annoying.

  64. Tina G - April 23, 2018

    Okay, I am going to join in on this…. I get so annoyed because if i swing my arms like a crazy person I get credit but if I swing them normal no credit and it drives me crazy. I want to close all my rings and some days it is impossible. I read that you need to swing your arms normally to capture the exercise. Help please

  65. Chris - April 25, 2018

    April 10th we started a step challenge at work. Hubby and I walk at the gym for 1 hour (3 miles) after work M-F and I have closed all three rings every single time.

    Until today, I walked for 1:01:54, 3.01 miles. It only counted 9 minutes. I choose the same “indoor walk” every time.. wth?!

  66. Tina G - May 9, 2018

    I see this problem has been going on for a long time. I wish Apple would just fix it. I have tried everything that has been recommended but yet my exercise ring will not budge. I have to swing my arms like a crazy person but now that isnt working. I just walked 33 minutes swinging my arms normally. reset the calibration before setting my outdoor walk. I am so upset that this does not work. What is the problem?

  67. Michelle - May 17, 2018

    This just happened to me today, as well. Yesterday I walked 2 miles and closed all my rings for the day. Today I walked a mile and a half before I noticed I only got 3 min of exercise credit. WTH? I was using the indoor walk workout at the Y on their indoor track, like I do nearly every day. I just upgraded my phone to the 8plus and had some issues, so I thought maybe that was the problem, even tho that was last week. I have un-paired and re-paired my watch twice now. No help. All it did was list my watch twice in the Health app as a source, which another commenter also mentioned, and I can’t delete it. I was never prompted to calibrate my watch when I first started using in last November, it just worked. Really pissed I’m going to have to wipe everything and start over. Has anyone found an alternative fix for this yet?

  68. Carrie C - May 21, 2018

    Dealing with the same issues and some days I only have a limited time to exercise, So my minutes are precious (lol)
    I went for a quick 10 minute walk before work this morning just to get my heart rate up and I only got credit for 1 minute.
    If my heart rate is up and I am sweating why cant this crazy watch get it right. I know that even if It doesn’t go on the watch rings its still counting for my “Health” but I am trying to keep my streak and it seems to mess up every other day. Sometimes will do 30 minutes and it will only count 5. Drives me crazy…good to know I’m not alone but hate that so many people are having issues…So Frustrating:(

  69. Frial - May 22, 2018

    I have the the same issue. I walk with my co-worker we both have series 3. Her watch will record the 30 min that we walked, but mine will not. Everyday, it gives me different reading and never correct, always behind. So frustrating!

  70. Sheila - June 9, 2018

    I have been going to crossfit & do routines for 20 minutes but my watch only shows 3 Minutes! What is the fix for this problem! It does not sound like it is getting a new watch! I have the first iwatch released! Please help fix this

  71. Roger - June 15, 2018

    Today I did an outdoor workout walk for 42 minutes. I only got 10 minutes on the green ring. Yesterday it worked as it is supposed to. What is the secret?

  72. Drew Johnson - June 17, 2018

    Wow! Glad to see I’m not the only one. I’m going to contact Apple help and report back to this thread. I’ve tried the same things as everyone else here and nothing fixes the issue.

  73. L Slippens - June 22, 2018

    same problem in europe! frustrating.
    7 minute workout in mij 55 min. walk. 11 min. per kilometer. that’s not a slow walk.

  74. Anonymous28 - July 18, 2018

    Hi. My watch is doing this, I only get 3-4 minutes of Exercise ring, even after a day of walking 8 km. I looked back through my health history and had 2 recent days with closed exercise ring, both from workouts on a stepper. I have a Gen2 Watch, iPhone SE. My resting heart rate is about 70 bpm, brisk walking gets heart rate up to 100-110 bpm, maybe 120-130 bpm with stairs. On the stepper my heart rate got up there around 150-170 bpm. So, it seems the threshold for exercise credit is around 150 bpm! My husband (Gen2 Watch, iPhone X) whose resting heart rate is around 55-60 bpm, gets exercise credit when his heart rate is only at 85-90 bpm or above (e.g., for a brisk walk). Yesterday, on the same walk, he got 53 minutes, I got 3.

    Does anyone know how the Watch sets the threshold for heart bpm and exercise minutes? It seems this is a factor and the programming has a bug in some cases.

  75. Dee - July 27, 2018

    I just talked to support. I was told for the activity ring to register your workout (for outdoor walk) you need to maintain a speed of 3.3 mph or faster.

  76. Anonymous28 - July 27, 2018

    Thanks Dee. Do you mean the Excercise yellow ring?

  77. Anonymous - July 31, 2018

    Anonymous28-Yes

  78. Anonymous - August 14, 2018

    I’m having the same issue. My husband said maybe I should not set my weight or height,that it was making me work to achieve the goal for my weight but after reading this I see it’s not just me. I look forward to completing my rings and seeing my progress,this is very frustrating.‍♀️

  79. Janice - August 27, 2018

    I have been using the activity app on my watch for some time. I have always used the ‘indoor walk’ because I couldn’t get the ‘outdoor walk’ to work very well; so I use indoor walk when walking on the treadmill or walking the dog. I have been going along just fine since January 1, 2018 (closing rings everyday for going on eight months now. Three days ago I started experiencing the problem with the Move and Exercise rings not recording the correct readings. I walked on the treadmill for 45 minutes and recorded 2 MINUTES of exercise. Very frustrating!!! I found this blog and tried the recalibrating steps to no avail. Then I tried the unpair and repair The first thing I noticed was when I opened the indoor walk exercise I got a notice that said to increase accuracy I should walk for at least 20 minutes – I did not receive this message upon opening the indoor walk when I tried recalibrating.
    The good news is that the activity app has again begun working correctly but only after unpairing and repairing.
    I know we’ve gotten conflicting results but I thought I’d throw out my findings.

  80. Anonymous - September 3, 2018

    This sounds crazy but I put my watch on my ankle when I work out it is always accurate then.

  81. Janice Davidson - October 1, 2018

    I posted earlier of the only fix to this problem being to unpair and re-pair.
    Just wanted to reiterate that the problem occurred again and I fixed it the first time by unpairing and re-pairing.
    The problem happened again after 1 full month of working correctly so this is only a temporary fix. I wish Apple would address and fix this issue; but until they do if you immediately unpair from your phone and re-pair as soon as you encounter the problem at least there will be no break in your recording of exercise and you can close your rings.

    By the way I own the Apple Watch 3.

  82. Patricia - October 8, 2018

    I’ve been having the same issue with my Series 4 watch, which is less than two weeks old. Today, I switched to “other” on the workout app on the phone instead of “outdoor walk” and it recorded it perfectly. Seems ridiculous to pay $600 for a device that can’t properly record an outdoor walk, but that seems to have fixed the issue for me.

  83. Catherine Ertz - October 12, 2018

    I just started having the same problem this week It’s very frustrating, because I became accustomed to seeing my activity ring close, and now it won’t. It was a nice little bit of positive feedback when it was working, but now I just end up frustrated, and it’s counter-productive to even use it. It worked properly for about 8-9 months until now. Sounds like the solution may be to just not wear the watch when working out.

  84. Janice Davidson - October 13, 2018

    Catherine it is a VERY big deal and VERY frustrating; but you can fix your problem by unpairing and re-pairing your watch from your phone. If you do it immediately there will be no break in your activity rings. As I said above in my responses, this is a temporary fix but maybe in the meantime Apple will address and fix this issue.

  85. Ingrid - November 1, 2018

    I bought a series 4- same issue!

  86. Janice Davidson - November 2, 2018

    Obviously a software issue opposed to a hardware issue.

  87. Alex Rios - December 26, 2018

    This has been happening for a solid month now. I went outside for a 20-minute walk in an attempt to recalibrate the watch, received 11 minutes of exercise credit. Called Apple this morning, they suggested unpairing and repairing my watch. Took 38 minutes on the phone with apple and no luck. My exercise and move rings would almost move in unison, now my move ring far surpasses my exercise ring, with no more than 11-15 minutes of exercise a day. Previously I would close my exercise ring with some housework and a light walk. Beyond frustrating.

  88. Kimba - January 9, 2019

    I am SO GLAD that I’m not the only one dealing with this. BUT I’m very frustrated that it’s even an issue! 🙁

  89. Anonymous - January 11, 2019

    Same problem for over a month.I hope Apple fixes this.

  90. Katy - January 27, 2019

    I’ve had the same issue and I found two things to work quickly without recalibration:

    First, go into your watch app -> general -> ensure woekout power saving is OFF. Oddly sometimes this gets turned on for me and I’m not sure why- I’m not in the habit of putting it in powersaving mode.

    Second: go to the health app -> exercise minutes -> data sources & access. Make sure your current watch is listed first. If not, click edit and move tot he top of the list. Do this for your steps too.

    Hope this helps others as it has me.

  91. Chastity - April 1, 2019

    I have a series 4 watch and no matter what intensity I workout, I constantly only receive about 1/4 to 1/2 of my exercise minutes. I have contacted Apple and discussed this with them in detail. They acted like they had never heard of this issue (even though it appears this has been happening for over 3 years). They escalated me up to a “top level” person who I sent screen shots where my activity showed like 5 minutes even though my workout actually showed I was working out for over an hour. I have tried multiple apps (mapmyfitness, mapmyrun, mapmywalk, strava, and a few others) and have had no luck in getting full credit. The only way that I can get full credit (as Apple has repeatedly put as their response to most posts online) is to set my workout to “Other”. I do get a minute to minute record of exercise, however I lose the mapping function and my per lap/mile calculations.

    I have recalibrated, I’ve edited my personal info (i.e. weight, height, etc), and nothing seems to help.

    Here’s my “cheat” to get around it even though this may not be the proper way is to see how much time is reflected on my workout ring right before going on my walk or run. Then go ahead and do my outdoor walk or outdoor run as normal. Once I get home, look at how long I was gone (working out), and then start an “other” workout for the time amount that I didn’t get credit for. So for example, before my walk I had 5 minutes recorded. I went on a 60 minute walk in which I only got credit for 10 minutes. So right now my workout minutes shows 15 min earned. I then do an “other” workout for 50 min and don’t do anything. My workout ring is now reflecting 65 minutes! It makes me feel like a cheater, but honestly not getting credit for what I already did has pissed me off so bad that I’ve wanted to throw my watch in the trash!

  92. Janice Davidon - April 1, 2019

    Chasity,

    Recalibrating your watch alone WILL NOT fix the problem. You must unpair your watch from your phone and then re-pair it. That is the only way to fix the exercise app. I have had to do this several times; it fixes the problem and then it stops working again and you have to do the procedure over again.
    Funny enough it has been a really long time since it stopped working this time around – knock wood.
    REPEAT unpair from phone and then re-pair will fix the problem.

  93. podfeet - April 2, 2019

    I believe that Chastity has won the “my watch doesn’t give me credit” contest. That is hilarious!!! Sad that you have to do that, but I give you big inventive points for it!

  94. barbara - April 7, 2019

    Series 4 watch and it’s still a problem. I biked for 42 minutes this morning and it logged the bike ride as 27 minutes. Really bums me out because I love all things Apple (or at least I WANT to love all things Apple!)

  95. Janice Davidon - April 7, 2019

    Barbara,
    Have you done the unpair and re-pair?

  96. Allison Sheridan - April 8, 2019

    Janice (and anyone else watching these comments – I may have an interesting discovery. I just ran a rough count of the GENDER of the people commenting here. Of the names where I could likely guess gender, yet was 53 women to 9 men!

    I highly doubt my readers sway 5:1 women. This leads me to wonder whether there’s a biological difference between the genders that Apple hasn’t taken into account? What if we have more subcutaneous fat or veins are more buried and this makes it harder for the sensors to accurately record our workouts?

    What do you think?

    I’m going to try to find a conduit to get this data to Apple.

  97. Janice Davidon - April 8, 2019

    Are you kidding! Men won’t ask directions to get around the block much less log onto a board and ask questions. Just counting posts on this blog is not an accurate sampling.
    No I don’t believe it is gender related.
    My problem has been fixed by unpairing from my phone and then re-pairing. It does seem to be a temporary fix as the problem will occur again; then simply unpair and re-pair. As I’ve stated before since my last time it has worked for a very long time.
    It’s a problem Apple needs to work with the app developers to correct.

  98. Allison Sheridan - April 8, 2019

    Janet – I could easily be off track here but I’ve never seen this imbalance of comments on my blog over the last 15 years. While stereotypes are entertaining, I can see the data across my blog. I have a large female following for a tech blog but my data on engaged audience members is around 30% women to 70% men. Seeing 53:9 is so dramatically different from my other data that I thin it is a red flag that might mean something. It might not but I think it’s worth looking at.

    It would really be useful if I could find out what series watch people writing here have. My daughter had this problem (what prompted the article) with a Series 0. She is now on a Series 4 and it’s never happened to her My husband used to see his heart rate disappear for long stretches while running, but on his Series 4 it’s much more consistent. I believe Apple has dramatically improved the sensors in the newer watches so your demand that they fix it may have already happened.

    What watch series do you have?

  99. Janice Davidon - April 8, 2019

    I had the first Apple watch and am on the Series 3 now. Happened on both. Stereotypes aside I still don’t believe it is gender related and while sensors MAY have been improved somewhat; I don’t even think it is a hardware problem (Ingrid, Chasity and Barbara have series 4). I believe it is a software problem – hence Apple’s inability to fix the problem.. I’d bet dollars to donuts the workout app they’ve bundled with their watch is third party.

  100. LISA COMSTOCK - May 8, 2019

    I just bought a series 4 I am having the same issue. I called Applecare they acted like they had never heard of this problem. I ended up sending it to them. I bought this thing with frequent flyer miles so I can’t send it back. I never had problems with my Fitbit till the band wore away. I wish I had my Fitbit back.

  101. Anonymous - May 20, 2019

    Same issue except on a bike ride. Road for one hour only counted as two minutes.

  102. Pat - June 12, 2019

    I used to have the problem with the outdoor walk; it wouldn’t give me credit for the time walked. Somehow that resolved itself. Today I did an indoor walk open goal; I walked for 33 minutes and got credit for 14 in the activity ring. Funny thing is, my Apple Health app shows that I walked for 33 minutes. It actually sent the 33 minutes to my Weight Watcher app. My Activity app shows that I walked 33 minutes. If Apple Watch is sent info from the Apple Health app, why the discrepancy? I have Apple Watch Series 4 and my iPhone IOS is 12.3.1 and I did not have my iPhone in my pocket and I was swinging my arms.

  103. Anonymous - June 17, 2019

    Mine didn’t work twice today on two 30 indoor walks. I have rheumatoid arthritis and it is really annoying because I keep track on how active I am for obvious reasons apart from competition.

  104. Ky upset - June 24, 2019

    Series 4 with updated software STILL doesn’t register complete workout time! Wish I had got the newest Fitbit instead!

  105. JANICE DAVIDSON - June 24, 2019

    Lisa Pat Ky – I have to ask yet again (although no one answers) have any of you tried to un pair and re pair your watch. It is a fix to the problem.

  106. Kathy - June 27, 2019

    I have owned an apple watch for over 2 years and never had a problem with the exercise ring until now. I understand when I clean house, I get nothing. I had to run, walk, and climb stairs to get the exercise minutes It just stopped working. I have unpaired and paired. Tried the 20 minute walk outdoors and recalibrated. Its frustrating especially when you are competing with others on the apple watch. Might go back to Fitbit if it doesn’t get fixed.

  107. Anonymous - July 18, 2019

    Thank you! Nothing else I had tried worked!!

  108. Livia - July 21, 2019

    You can manually add your exercise that you haven’t got credit for through workout app on apple health:

    https://www.iphonelife.com/content/how-to-add-apple-watch-workout-manually

  109. Susan McCarthy - August 6, 2019

    I have the same issue when I go on an outdoor bike ride. I’ll have my heart rate up to 128 for 45 minutes and it’ll show that I only did four minutes of exercise. When I go for an outdoor walk, even though my heart rate is in the 115-120 range I don’t get credit for all of my minutes. However if I switch to the hiking mode it improves and I get credit for almost all of my walking minutes at the same heart rate. I think Apple has a major software issue.

  110. Mike - September 6, 2019

    Just reading through this I have an idea… re-calibrate then go on a very low intensity, leisurely walk, maybe take the dog. That sets the benchmark in Apple Watch for what is considered a “walk” for you. Then every time you walk after that your pace and heart rate will be higher. Therefore you should get credit for a “brisk” walk. I will test and let you know… good luck.

  111. Allison Sheridan - September 6, 2019

    Ooh – interesting idea, Mike. Do report back!

  112. Debbie - September 6, 2019

    Can’t wait to hear your results, Mike!

  113. Mike - September 9, 2019

    So no… it didn’t work. Sorry folks. Apple is basically dictating to me their definition of “exercise”. Me going on a casual stroll with my dog is not good enough for them. My work around is to just not use their “Outdoor Walk” routine because the algorithm sucks. I will just use “Other”. Frankly I like Fitbit much better for the whole fitness ecosystem. Thought I would give Apple Watch a try because of the smart watch features but so far are I’m not really that impressed for the price difference. I’m on a series 4 by the way… all my updates on both the phone and the watch are current. Seriously thinking about taking the watch back and going back to my Fitbit. If you are using your smart watch mainly for fitness, it is way better IMO.

  114. Allison Sheridan - September 9, 2019

    Bummer, Mike. It’s so unfortunate that this one thing doesn’t work for some people. Overall I sure get a GIANT amount of value out of the Apple Watch. I do love the exercise credit and it’s helped me keep off the 10 lbs I took off year over year before I had the watch. I love getting notifications on the watch so I know if it’s something important or can wait. I love being able to dictate on my watch while I’m running or walking which allows me to respond to text messages.. Really often I’ll hear something in a podcast I want to check out later and I holler into my watch, “remind me to…”. My husband Steve and I even use Walkie-Talking often. He uses it to tell me when dinner is ready (I’m spoiled). I have something I do for 12 minutes every day and so I have the timer right on the face of the watch, and it defaults to the last timer time set, so it’s two button taps. I used to miss calls on my phone all the time because I keep my phone on vibrate and in my purse. With Apple Watch I never miss a call.

    So yeah, I’m a fan of the Apple Watch for fitness but also for everything else.

  115. Nikkii - September 25, 2019

    This started happening to me today on my series 5. The only thing that I have changed in the past week was pairing my Orangetheory heart rate monitor (HRM) to my watch. I wonder if this is throwing my watch off, and I wonder of all the people this is happening to how many of them have paired with an additional HRM?

  116. KC - January 9, 2020

    I’m so relieved to know I’m not the only one with this issue. I’ve had my Series 4 since March 2019. I’ve never had any issue with getting credit for my exercise…until October 2019. Out of the blue I would strength train for over an hour, or cycle, and get only a few minutes of credit. I tried recalibrating and that didn’t work. I then unpaired and repaired and things were fine…up until three days ago. But this time the issue is much more stubborn. I have checked all my settings, everything is updated, my personal health info has been updated, I recalibrated, and I unpaired/repaired 4 times…I’m still having the same issue but with a fun twist. Not only am I not getting credit for all activity and exercise BUT now the Activity and Exercise minutes on my watch don’t match what is displayed in my Activity app. I really love my Watch but I’m really tired of issues like this, especially when this fu**ing watch costs several hundred dollars. I can easily throw this watch into the trash and get a Fitbit at this point…I’m just over it. I’ve tweeted Apple Support but I’m not holding my breath… I JUST WANT A FREAKIN SOLUTION OR, COME MARCH, I AM SWITCHING TO A FITBIT.

  117. Brian - January 26, 2020

    This is an interesting thread. My wife and I both have Series 5 AW, running watchOS 6.1.1. She is having the issue where her Workout time is not fully reflected on the Exercise ring, despite maintaining >105 BPM heart rate. In contrast, both her Steps and Move calories seem to be correctly captured. Over the course of a typical 20 minute brisk walk (on the Outdoor Walk setting), she might get 5-8 minutes of Exercise credit, whereas I would get at least 17. We see similar results for Indoor Walk, although these sessions are often shorter. We have not yet tried to re-calibrate her Watch, but that’s the next step for us. I remember doing this, but she doesn’t, so she might have blown through this during the initial setup. Based on some of the comments here, I guess she should also un-pair and re-pair her iPhone. I’ll post an update once we’ve tried this.

    I’m skeptical of the idea that this might be gender-related, but I suppose there might be some physiological factors that influence the accuracy of the AW sensors, or the algorithm that’s used to convert the raw activity data into Exercise minutes. I’d also like to raise one other possible contributing factor: past Fitbit usage. Again, my sample size is really small (essentially reading through this thread), but it seems like many of the people experiencing issues with the Exercise ring have used Fitbit in the past, and have this data source synched with the Health app. Do we see a possible correlation here?

  118. podfeet - January 26, 2020

    Thanks for the thoughtful and detailed info, Brian. I like the idea of looking for more correlations. My first thought as I started to read what you wrote was, “Ha! See? It IS gender-related!”

    I’ll weigh in that I was a former Fitbit user who tried valiantly to get the data to flow into the Health app but it was many many years ago. My activity minutes are accurately recorded, but maybe my Fitbit usage is too far back to have harmed my stats.

  119. Robert Bour - January 26, 2020

    I had the same problem with a Series 3 which I have had for only a month. I played 2 hours of tennis with avg HR of 155 and got credit for only 6 minutes of exercise (sigh). Based on the comments above I unpaired and then re-paired to my phone and that seems to have fixed the problem, so thanks for that suggestion!

    I have no prior Fitbit use. The problem started while using the app Slopes for skiing, which may be incidental. The first two days of skiing showed normal activity and calorie counting, then suddenly on day 3 it showed only a fraction, and the problem persisted from there. I am a 45 y/o male.

    So while the problem is fixed for now, I fear it will happen again, and unpairing and re-pairing isn’t hard but it isn’t trivial either. If anyone figures out how to prevent the problem from recurring, I’d certainly be interested.

  120. FiFi - February 22, 2020

    Please tell me someone has at last found a solution to this or at least have Apple acknowledge the issue? I got a brand new Series 5 for Christmas. I’ve tried everything and so has Apple Support. The Genius Bar sent my watch to Apple for repair and they sent it straight back saying there is nothing wrong with it!!! I’m beyond frustrated to have an expensive watch that can’t even detect a workout accurately! My Fitbit was a quarter of the cost and far more effective, and the customer service was better too!

  121. Janice - February 22, 2020

    Fifi – I have to ask yet again (although no one answers) have any of you tried to un pair and re pair your watch. It is a fix to the problem.

  122. Chastity - February 23, 2020

    I tried that (pair – unpair) and it fixes is temporarily. Unfortunately this is nothing something that you can fix yourself. It’s an issue with the apple watch and how it calculates what it thinks is the “proper heartrate” and such. There is nothing that I have done that will fix this. Only option is to “fake” the workout minutes by doing the “other” or the “mind and body” workout options for the remaining minutes to get your workout minutes OR just make sure you work your @$$ off during your walk so the apple watch will believe you worked out good enough to get credit.

  123. JANICE - February 23, 2020

    How long is temporarily?

  124. Chastity - February 23, 2020

    It’s been so long ago that I tried it I can’t give you an exact timeframe but if I remember it was like after I worked out with the walk workout probably 3-4 more times. Then it figured out that my heart rate isn’t at what it thinks it should be and then I stopped getting full credit. My resting heart rate is around 80 and the Apple Watch expects me to be at like 120 or greater in order to get credit. When I’m just walking, it’s probably only around 96-110.

  125. JANICE - February 23, 2020

    I’ve used this fix and corrected the problem for at least a year. It was so long that it was definitely worth the effort which does not take that long.

  126. Carol - March 22, 2020

    I read that if you log your activity as “other” it will record your activity minute for minute. I will try next workout. Just did a 3 mile walk which took an hour, with heart rate fairly steady 110ish and only got six minutes credit. Ugh. Apple needs to fix this issue. Inexcusable since this was one of the main reasons I purchased this watch.

  127. Fel - May 18, 2020

    My Apple Watch was working fine 2yrd) now it won’t record exercise properly. I have done everything suggested. Still not working. Typical of Apple- obviously there is a bug in the new upgrade that has not been fixed. Technology Should make life easier. I will go for another 20 min outdoor walk to recalibrate ( 3rd time lucky) if that doesn’t work watch will go in the bin and I will never buy an Apple product again !

  128. Teresa - May 26, 2020

    I’m having a different issue. My time is not be accurately recorded when I exercise on indoor cycle. Seems simple enough…if I ride for 30 min and then end…I expect 30 min goal to have been met and displayed in Activity. Instead it displays random times…today it was 11 min.

  129. Chastity - May 29, 2020

    Hi Teresa,
    That’s actually the same issue that everyone else is having. This past weekend I chose the “Hiking” option in which I went for 6+ hours straight and my heart rate ranged from 120 to 166 at all times (it was a very difficult trail) and yet I only got credit for 37 minutes within the activity. But then the very next day I chose the option of “flexibility” because I was stretching (due to the over usage of my muscles during that six hour trail) and although my heart rate stayed in the 90’s (which my resting heart rate is at like 80-85), I got the full hour worth of credit. I personally don’t even pay attention to the time anymore and I just do the “Mind & Body” option for the remaining of my time in which I require to close my rings. It’s very frustrating to say the least, but at this point there isn’t anything that Apple is going to do to fix it. I personally have worked with Apple and showed them my stats and they act dumbfounded that they’ve never seen this issue. This thread says other wise!

  130. podfeet - May 29, 2020

    Chastity – thanks for responding to Teresa. I wrote about this in the comments a while ago and it was discounted as not enough data to reach my conclusion, but look at the people commenting here and notice how many of us are women. While the proportion of nerds that are female is normally quite low, the percentage of women on this thread is really high.

    If you do talk to Apple again it might be worth mentioning. There might be an unconscious bias because of the lack of women in tech that they’ve not tested as fully with us. I am definitely making an assumption with a small sample set but as a woman in tech I have a lot of experience observing the numbers and this really sticks out.

  131. Chastity - May 29, 2020

    While I have to agree that there are mostly women who have complained about this, I’m not sure it’s 100% that factor. I’m working on getting some details, but I have a friend who gets full credit for her outdoor walks. She said that her resting heart rate is higher than “normal” and she believes that may be the factor. I personally have an extremely low heart rate (sitting here at my desk just typing it’s at 79 and 55 while sleeping). If I do an outdoor walk, I typically only get credit for the amount of time when I’m going up a steep hill and I have to catch my breath. So the watch is expecting a HUGE jump in heart rate in order to get credit for that workout. My daughter just does “Other” on every single one of her workouts because she got tired of not getting credit. The “Other” workout gives you minute per minute credit and doesn’t care what your heart rate is. Once I get more details about my friends heart rate, I’ll update you.

  132. Kristen Leigh Mitchell - November 13, 2020

    Really grateful to find this article and comment thread! It is so interesting to read through so many years worth of comments, and learn from so many people who are trying to solve this mystery (since Apple is apparently not)!

    Honestly, I would like to throw my support towards the gender theory. My husband and I have the same watch and watch setup. We have a dog and we also love to hike so we go on a LOT of walks together where we are walking for the exact same amount of time/distance and at the exact same pace. We both start a Workout, we both use Health app, etc. We have also both followed the steps to recalibrate. However it consistently remains the case that he will get full credit for exercise minutes, and I will get essentially half credit. So for example, on a 90 minute walk I get about 46 minutes of exercise credit. I want to emphasize, this was not just a one time thing. This occurs very consistently.

    As a researcher myself, I don’t mean to theorize based on my personal experience but based on what I’ve read here and elsewhere I also don’t see any convincing reason to so vehemently discount the theory, Obviously it is not a hard and fast “rule” that explains everything (aka, ALL women will have this issue or NO men will have this issue) but I agree that the trend seen here is significant enough to raise eyebrows and it would be worth exploring. I suppose the correlation could be that women are more likely than men to do research and sleuth out solutions to problems like this, but I also find that hypothesis just as tenuous (if not more so) than the idea that there is some correlating factor relating to gender and health mapping that has not been considered by Apple’s technicians. It is an incredibly androcentric industry, after all. I would strongly encourage the original author of this post to pursue that possibility further with the folks from Apple, if possible.

    I’d also be interested in how heart rate factors into this, as I also tend to have a lower heart rate in general. However my husband’s heart rate also tends to run low as he was a former athlete, so our heart rate numbers are not all that different especially on some of our slower walks where he always gets full credit and I always get half. It’s interesting too because we’ve looked at it a lot wondering about this very thing, and have noted that the differences between our exercise minutes when we do the exact same workouts are not sporadic, but it is a very consistent ratio. Because it is consistent, I usually don’t worry about it and just account for it in my mind. It does bother me that Apple is not more transparent about how they are measuring this although that’s consistent with their overly-controlling and somewhat manipulative company policy, which has only gotten worse under Tim Cook. I’m not necessarily looking for a “solution” at this point because I think it’s clear from this thread that Apple has thrown up its hands on the matter and doesn’t feel beholden to it’s customer base anymore (as evidenced by all the insanely buggy products and software that they’ve churned over the past year, from iOS 14 to Catalina which is a complete disaster). I wouldn’t hold my breath on a fix from them, but at this point I’m just sincerely curious about it and interested in following the thread. I also appreciate the tip on using the “other” Workout as a workaround to get minute for minute credit. Thanks everyone!

  133. podfeet - November 14, 2020

    Kristen – your comment comes at a VERY opportune time. I am the only one on this thread who is not regularly plagued by missing exercise minutes, but it finally happened to me. I collected a bunch of data about what happened and I think I may have found the pattern. I would love to converse with you directly about my data and findings – if you could write to me at allison@podfeet.com that would be great.

    For everyone else, and Kristen, here’s what happened. I have had every model of Apple Watch since they came out, and now have the Series 6 and still use my Series 5 from time to time. I live in southern California where the temperature and humidity are moderate. I went to Utah for a week where the humidity was on the order of 11% and instead of being close to sea level I was at 3800ft.

    I went for many walks in the area around Zion, not hiking up hills but walking on uneven, sandy, and rocky ground with my dog. On the first day with my Series 6 I got 27% credit for exercise minutes. Intrigued (for science) I wore my Series 5 on the next similar walks and I got 12% and 37% exercise minute credit. This told me it had nothing to do with calibrating the watch, and since it had changed so dramatically from when I was home, I knew I was onto something. My first thought was that it was the low humidity, so I tried putting some lotion on my wrist under my watch so there would be good connectivity, but it did not improve my % credit for minutes exercised.

    Over 6 days of walks in Zion my average was 29% credit for exercise minutes.

    I pulled the date for several walks before I’d left home and one for when I got back and on average I get 96% credit for the minutes walked when I’m at home.

    I compared my heart rate of the walks in the two different areas, and they were just about identical, 100bpm in Zion, 99bpm at home. But there was one distinct difference. My _pace_ was much slower in Zion (walking on unsteady surfaces, small climbs, taking photos). In Zion, my pace averaged 34 minutes/mile while at home my pace averaged 18 minutes/mile.

    There’s a flaw in my data collection methodology and it’s that the Activity app records ALL minutes of exercise, not just those with workouts, so in some cases (especially at home), the app shows more than 100% credit because presumably I ran up and down the stairs doing chores or something and that’s not shown as workout data but does show as total exercise minutes.

    If we assume that effect is minor, my theory then is that if your pace is too slow you don’t get nearly as many minutes of exercise as if you travel the same distance in a shorter amount of time but with the same heart rate. To test this, I need to figure out how to walk slowly and yet get my heart rate up to 100bpm. Maybe I’ll stroll around my neighborhood very slowly with some light hand weights above my head?

    I’d appreciate any thoughts any of you may have on my anecdotal but hopefully helpful data

  134. Ed - November 22, 2020

    I had been having trouble with my Apple series 5 watch recording all my workout minutes as exercise minutes. The people at Apple could only tell me the workout has to be equal or greater than a brisk walk.

    I am 81 years old with heart and high blood pressure problems. Most of my workouts are on a treadmill or stationary bike in my basement. A few months ago I decided to do something to get all my workout minutes to also show up as exercise minutes. I started with the old exercise guideline of 220 minus my age times 80% (220-81 = 139 x 80% = 111). I take a beta blocker for high blood pressure that keeps my heart rate low. My resting heart rate is in the low to mid 50s. My average heart rate for a workout was running 79 to 85, below the 111 that I felt was my guideline rate. I decided to try changing my age to adjust my heart rate goal down to what the watch was recording. I decided to add 20 years to my age and use 70% as my guideline. That brought my heart rate goal down to 83BPM. I then went into My Watch on my phone, then into the Health segment, then under Health Details I changed my year of birth adding the 20 years to it. Since making this change all my workout minutes are now recorded as exercise minutes. I admit it is a crazy way to make it work but it is working for me.

    I also go to the Health app on my iPhone which records my daily activity. Scroll down to the exercise minutes category and select it. Scroll down to Show All Data and select that. The next screen shows the number of exercise minutes by date. I can select a date and see every minute of that day that exercise was recorded.

    I am now more satisfied with the watch. Hopefully the info will help someone else.

  135. Allison Sheridan - November 22, 2020

    Ed – this is positively BRILLIANT. I love everything about your post here. First of all that you’re working out and watching metrics as you are – I want to be you when I grow up! I don’t know if you follow my podcasts or found this post randomly, but I do a show called Chit Chat Across the Pond Lite where I interview people in tech I find interesting. I’m betting you would be an awesome guest! If you’re interested, shoot me an email at allison@podfeet.com and let’s chat. Heck, let’s chat whether you’re interested or not.

  136. Patricia Macinnis - November 23, 2020

    Ed, you’re a rock star on so many levels! Way to McGyver a solution!

  137. Orchid Cavett - November 26, 2020

    I and my sister have Apple Watch 6 and it does not give us points for walking. We can walk for over an hour and it might register 3 mins. She just tried a five k challenge and it didn’t read her mileage right so she missed out on the award. This issues seems to be going on for many years. If I wasn’t helping with a health study I’d go back to a fit bit which correctly measures activity. I can’t believe this has been going on for years!!!

  138. Wendy - December 12, 2020

    I can’t believe it’s been going on this long either. Thanks for your info though

  139. James B - January 31, 2021

    I too am getting quite frustrated with my Apple Watch and its lack of recording a LOT of exercise.

    1. I have an Apple Watch Series 6, 44mm, which is approximately 2 months old.
    2. I have an iPhone XR, which is approximately 4 months old.
    3. I am a 40 year old male, about 6’2″, and about 315 pounds – obviously seriously overweight, and working on that. Kinda the point of trying to track my exercise.
    4. I live in Denver, which of course means high elevation – about a mile high. Low humidity too, especially compared to the coasts.
    5. Both the watch and the phone are updated to the most current versions of watchOS and iOS.
    6. My heart rate during the day without exerting is usually about 65 BPM. When I’m asleep around 56 BPM.
    7. I wear my watch on my left wrist, and it is snug but not ‘snug’ enough to restrict blood flow…but it isn’t sliding around either.

    I have tried recalibrating, I have tried resetting, I have tried not so thinly veiled threats against my watch with a hammer. Nothing so far is getting me the proper credit for exercise, and with me it isn’t just outdoor walks. I am currently a subscriber to the Apple Fitness + streaming service, and using a stationary bike for the bicycle exercise, I’ve done a 30 minute one and the MOST I’ve received credit for is about 21 minutes, the worst was 9. I did a 10 minute one once because I was at 28/30 minutes on my ring, and didn’t get credit for a SINGLE MINUTE. If I do HIIT or strength courses, I’m lucky to get 6 minutes credit for 10 minutes of exercise.

    My wife and I just did a walk through a park with my 4 year old son in a stroller, and I started an outdoor walk exercise as we walked away from our car. According to the info that my phone and watch recorded, I walked 2.2 miles in 47 minutes, with an average heart rate in the mid 90s.

    Yet…my exercise ring stands at a whopping 20 out of 30 minutes. And last weekend in near identical conditions weather wise, and at the same pace give or take MAYBE 1 minute to cover the same path, I got credit for well over 90% of the walk. When it was my turn to push the stroller I made sure to push with one hand and keep my left hand free and swinging naturally. We stopped to give my son something to drink maybe 4 times for a total of 2-3 minutes combined.

    So…any suggestions other than going back to a Fitbit, cancelling my Apple Fitness + subscription, and selling my watch? It’s rather distressing to see that this thread is around 5 years old with the same issues…

  140. Allison Sheridan - January 31, 2021

    James B – I’m so glad you gave so much detail, this really helps. I’d like even more but I’ll get to that in a minute.

    On the walks outdoors, it is common wisdom that the heart rate has to be above 100 to get minutes credit. From my anecdotal analysis, the pace also matters a lot. Your 2.2 mile walk in 47 minutes isn’t going to be fast enough – that’s around 21.5 min miles. I believe (again looking at anecdotal evidence) that it has to be faster than a 20 min mile. This is in addition to being above 100BPM.

    Now the extra detail I was looking for is how high your heart rate is getting with Fitness+. I can’t imagine doing the HIIT training without getting your heart way up! Mine goes REALLY high with HIIT.

    If you’d like to correspond directly with me on this, I’m really intrigued with helping you. You can write to me at allison@podfeet.com, or we can keep chatting here.

  141. James B - February 2, 2021

    Allison – the problem is NOT my heart rate. The problem is with consistency, because the EXACT same activities, done at the EXACT same pace, in the EXACT same location, with the EXACT same equipment. On that 2.2 mile walk that took 47 minutes, I’ve been given credit for 95%+ of that time before, I’ve been given near zero credit for it, I’ve been given halfway credit, a couple times I’ve forgotten to start the workout at the beginning and then been asked about 10 minutes in if I wanted to start recording an outdoor workout, sometimes not.

    I just started a 30 minute bike workout in Apple Fitness +, the same one I did yesterday morning. At the same pace.

    Yesterday? I got credit for 24 out of 30 minutes, which is still ridiculous but “better”.

    This morning? I gave up after hitting the 10 minute mark and not getting credit for a SINGLE minute, and being told that I wasn’t even in the pack for calories burned.

    I guess I made the mistake of not doing more research before shelling out $400+ for a watch that does NOT work as advertised. After all, this thread here is only about 2 weeks younger than my 4 year old son!

  142. Robert Bour - February 2, 2021

    Unpairing and re-pairing fixed my problem and (update from my January 2020 post) it has stayed fixed with no problem since. See Janice Davidon’s post of April 1, 2019 copied below. Sounds like it doesn’t work for everyone, but for anyone who hasn’t tried it, I’d start there.

    ——-
    Recalibrating your watch alone WILL NOT fix the problem. You must unpair your watch from your phone and then re-pair it. That is the only way to fix the exercise app. I have had to do this several times; it fixes the problem and then it stops working again and you have to do the procedure over again.
    Funny enough it has been a really long time since it stopped working this time around – knock wood.
    REPEAT unpair from phone and then re-pair will fix the problem.

  143. Allison Sheridan - February 2, 2021

    Thanks, Robert for reposting Janice’s advice. Hope that helps more people.

  144. Jay - February 6, 2021

    I have a new watch 6 since Christmas and had watch 3 for well over 3 years prior with no problems. However, this new watch 6 is doing what all these other folks say, and I am shocked this has been going on for almost five years, not registering credit for hard earned exercise. looking back on the history of the activity app my watch 3 used to register accurately enough but not so since I got the watch 6. Now it’s effecting all my good work by registering short changed credits to the activity app. For instance I did a 30k bike ride taking 2hr 9 mins and activity app only gives me 66/60 credit. av bpm 161 av speed 14.2km/h 154m elevation gain with hardly any stops as I was Cycling down the canal. It also says Move 1,281/900kcal yet underneath Total 4,034 kcal which is just ludicrous! To top it all off I was awarded a cycling workout record 779 kilocalories but where the hell has the 4,034 kcal come from???? I mean really this watch is just junk if that’s the kind of readings it’s going to give and the software engineer really need to go back to school and work on his/her algorithms or whatever it is they do because I’m no statistician but given the complaints in this thread it’s beginning to look like my last apple watch and iPhone because I am also have ongoing issues with iTunes and iCloud losing loads of my music but that’s for another thread!

  145. Mari - February 28, 2021

    Thank you! Yesterday, while on a walk, my walk time in the Workout app read 22 minutes. The ring read 18. I completed my walk and the ring still read 18. I’m so glad your post came up high in the search. I followed your directions and today that same walk closed my workout ring at 31 minutes! Terrific post.

  146. Wendy J - June 8, 2021

    HI,
    I have the new SE and have had it since Christmas 2020. It is now June 2021 and it is not closing my activity ring after walking my dog for over a half hour. My goal is 20 minutes. It just started doing this. I am going to try to record it as an indoor walk and see if that works. Any other suggestions on how to fix?

  147. Anonymous - June 8, 2021

    Un-pair and re-pair your watch and phone.

  148. Allison Sheridan - June 8, 2021

    Wendy J – One thing I would look at is your average pace and average heart rate. In my experience, walking less than a 20 minute mile you won’t get full credit, and less than 100 beats per minute you won’t get full credit either.

  149. Art - August 10, 2021

    I switched to “other” and haven’t looked back. The only warning I would offer is, if you do that, don’t eat back your calories ( since you didn’t actually burn that many!). If I walked as fast as my watch demands on an “outdoor walk workout” I’d probably have a heart attack! I aim for at least 30 mins at about 2.5- 3 mph, but apparently that’s not enough to appease the watch gods.

    The other day I was trying out fitness+ and I did a 10 min “workout” that gave me credit for 3 minutes of exercise. Useless! Back to “other” I went. They really do need to work on the “workout” software algorithms. Also – the watch strap has to be pretty tight for it to fully register blood o2 and heartrate. Might be worth checking that, as well as re-pairing if you’re not getting full credit. I switched to a nylon sports loop and that seems to have helped eliminate some O2 errors.

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