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Apple Watch pedometer: show steps on watch face

You want to display your steps with the Apple Watch pedometer? You can see them in real time directly on the watch face.

Apple Watch Pedometer

The Apple Watch pedometer is particularly different from other fitness trackers and smartwatches in one respect: The completed steps cannot be seen directly. That’s a shame, because many people recognize pedometers as a new way to lead a healthier lifestyle. The constant striving for enough steps thus playfully ensures more exercise.

But even though Apple has opted for abstract calories as the central unit of measurement, steps are still recorded. These can be easily displayed – even on the watch face of the Apple Watch. Thus, users of the Apple Watch

do not have to do without this motivating function.

Display Apple Watch step counter

In order to be able to display your steps, we will first take a look at whether and what you have to activate to record steps. Then we’ll look at where you can read the steps you’ve taken on your Apple Watch.

Activate Apple Watch pedometer

To measure your steps with the Apple Watch, you basically don’t need to do anything. These are counted immediately after setting up the Apple Watch for the first time.

This happens in the background and is done by taking into account the motion sensor of the watch. So if a movement pattern is detected that corresponds to walking, the steps are counted. Not only the distance is taken as a basis, but also the typical, rhythmic movement of the wrist when walking.

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Display steps

If you now want to display your steps on the Apple Watch, the fastest and easiest way is via the Activities app. You can recognize them by the three colored circles that symbolize movement (calories), training (movement under a higher pulse) and standing hours.

To display the steps, proceed as follows:

  1. Open the Activities app on your Apple Watch
  2. Scroll down until you can see the “Step Count” item
Open Activities App
Apple Watch pedometer is displayed
Apple Watch Step Count

Now you can see how many steps you have completed today. If you scroll down a bit further, you will also see the item “Weekly overview”. There you get a good overview of the total steps of the current week.

Apple Watch pedometer in the week overview
Show steps for the entire week

By the way: If you open the fitness app on your iPhone, the data from the past is also available. This means you can also view the number of steps taken in previous weeks retrospectively. In addition to the fitness app, the data is also available in the Health app. You can find it under the “Steps” section.

Did you know you can already measure blood pressure with a trick on the Apple Watch today?

Show Apple Watch pedometer as complication on watch face

Since Apple has not integrated an Apple Watch pedometer compared to other manufacturers, but instead displays the movement in the form of the calories consumed, the display on the watch face is not so simple.

The easiest way to get quick access to steps is to put the Activity app on the watch face. If you then want to see your steps, you just have to click on the corresponding icon.

However, if you also want to see the steps themselves, there is no way around a third-party app. We can recommend the app Pedometer+[[PLUS] ] (left display) or StepsApp

(right display). Both apps can be used as a pedometer in a free variant and can be displayed as a complication or widget on the Apple Watch.
Apple Watch pedometer on the watch face
Apple Watch Pedometer Complication.

Apple Watch pedometer possible without iPhone?

This is indeed possible. Both the Apple Watch and the iPhone

can count steps and transmit them. The devices sync with each other, ensuring that your steps are always counted when you have at least one device of both with you.

But what actually happens if you have both devices with you? Are steps counted twice then?

No, you don’t have to worry about that. The steps are recorded according to priority, whereby the Apple Watch has a higher priority by default. So if you have the Apple Watch and the iPhone with you, the watch data is accessed. If you leave the watch at home, the iPhone continues to count. The data is synchronized when the Internet connection is active.

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If you want to change the priority, you can do so in just a few steps via the Health app on the iPhone:

  1. Open the Health app on your iPhone
  2. Select “Steps” from the list
  3. Scroll all the way down and click on the “Data Sources & Access” item
  4. Scroll down again to see all data sources.
  5. If you now click on “Edit” in the upper right corner, you can move the elements among each other. To do this, hold down the three parallel lines on the far right and drag the data source up or down – with the top being the highest priority.
Change pedometer priority
Prioritize iPhone as a pedometer

That’s it. You have changed the priority of the data sources for the Apple Watch pedometer.

Apple Watch Pedometer Accuracy

The Apple Watch can’t measure your exact step length, of course, because the watch sits on your wrist. Nevertheless, in order to be able to correctly reflect the number of steps, a combination of motion sensor, typical movement patterns when walking and distance covered is taken into account. This enables the Apple Watch to display relatively accurate estimates of the actual number of steps.

Nevertheless, there are always typical everyday situations where you push the watch to its limit. This includes, for example, a walk with the dog – at least if you hold the dog leash in your hand, which the Apple Watch is also attached to. After all, the watch cannot register typical arm movements while walking, since the dog holds the leash. The same applies when pushing a stroller or walking hand in hand with a partner.

Steps are not counted when walking the dog

In order to still achieve improved accuracy, the software of the Apple Watch can learn. Apple offers the possibility to show the watch how you typically move: Calibration. In a matching article

, Apple explains how the watch can be calibrated accurately. The most important thing is probably that the data on height and weight are up-to-date and that you regularly record your movement with the training app. Apple writes: “Every time you walk or run outdoors, taking the steps listed above, the Apple Watch optimizes accelerometer calibration by capturing how big your steps are at different paces.”

Turn off Apple Watch pedometer

Don’t want the Apple Watch to count your steps at all? Then you can simply turn off the function. You can find a corresponding function in the privacy settings of your iPhone.

And this is how you can turn off the Apple Watch step counter:

  1. Open the “Settings” app on your iPhone
  2. Scroll down to “Privacy” and click on it
  3. Further down select the item “Exercise & Fitness”
  4. Now deactivate the “Fitness Log” item
Open privacy settings
Open Settings Exercise and Fitness
Enable Fitness Log for Apple Watch Pedometer

Now, all apps displayed underneath are denied access to the motion data. Of course, the sensors remain physically present in the watch, but the evaluation of the data no longer takes place.

Apple Watch pedometer does not work – what you can do

If the pedometer does not work, it is not necessarily a problem with the watch itself. If nothing is measured anymore, wrong settings are often to blame. We show you which settings you should check.

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System services activated?

First, check if all system services are enabled for measuring steps. To do this, proceed like this:

  1. Open the “Settings” app on your iPhone
  2. Now select “Privacy
  3. Click on “Location Services
  4. Scroll down to the bottom and click on “System Services
  5. Check if “Motion Calibration / Distance” is active. If not, then enable the item.

Fitness log activated?

Next, check on the Apple Watch whether a recording of the fitness data is active. These are essential for the Apple Watch pedometer.

  1. Open the app “Watch” on your iPhone
  2. Now click on “Privacy
  3. Enable “Fitness Log” if this item should be disabled.

Restart Apple Watch

For some users, simply restarting the Apple Watch could also help. Just give it a try. Here’s how to restart the watch:

  1. Press and hold the side button
  2. Slide the slider at “Power off” to the right
  3. Wait for the watch to turn off, then press and hold the side button again until you see the Apple logo. Then wait until the watch has started up again.

Apple Watch pedometer test and conclusion

Even though Apple decided against prominently displaying steps on the Apple Watch compared to other fitness trackers, they can still be viewed. With a third-party app, they can also be conveniently displayed on the watch face. So you won’t miss anything if you opt for an Apple Watch.

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However, there’s also a reason why Apple focuses on calories rather than steps. For a healthy Liefestyle, it takes more than just steps. Only the combination with other data, such as pulse and speed, allow statements about the actual fitness. After all, 100 brisk steps are more effective than 100 steps during a leisurely walk.

We can recommend the function overall, are convinced of its accuracy and consider the combination of steps and other more meaningful data to be good and correct. Because one thing is certain: we all move far too little. Avatar

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