Apple Watch Not Tracking Activity? (Do THIS Now!)

Is your Apple Watch not tracking activity correctly, or are the rings empty, blank, and not recording your moves?

Professional trainers, athletes, and you depend on the Activity app to keep track of their exercises and progress. So it can be frustrating when your Apple Watch has stopped tracking your activity.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help. In this guide, we’ll show you how to fix it when your Apple Watch is not tracking your activity.

How Does Apple Watch Track Activities?

Your Apple Watch uses its sensors to check your heart rate and movement. If the watch detects an increase, it keeps track of the duration of that movement (or series of movements).

Apple Watch Activity
Apple Watch Activity. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

When you perform a task with a high level of intensity or rapidity, the Apple Watch adds one minute to your exercise ring.

If your heart rate is similar to when you’re resting, the Apple Watch won’t count it as a workout, and the activity ring won’t change.

If the activity ring doesn’t work, you can change your goals and define what counts as a workout and exercise. 

Now that you have an idea of how the Apple Watch measures exercise, it’ll make it easier to pinpoint the problem and troubleshoot it.

1. Check Location Services

1. First, Go to Settings on your iPhone.

2. Choose Privacy.

Privacy in Settings app
Privacy in the Settings app. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Then, tap on Location Services.

Location Services
Location Services. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

4. After that, check whether Location Services is turned on or not.

5. Scroll down and tap on System Services.

System Services
System Services in the Location Services menu. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

6. Now, check whether Motion Calibration & Distance is turned on or not.

Motion Calibration & Distance
Enable Motion Calibration & Distance. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

2. Check Personal Details Settings

1. Open the Watch app. 

2. Choose the My Watch tab. 

My Watch tab
Select My Watch tab. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Then, swipe down and tap Health.

Health in my Watch tab
Go to Health in my Watch tab. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

4. Choose Health Details.

Health Details in Health menu
Choose Health Details in the Health menu. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

5. After that, make sure your Height, Weight, etc., are set and accurate.

Height, Weight in Health Details menu
Set Height, Weight in the Health Details menu. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Reset Fitness Calibration Data

1. Open the Watch app.

2. Next, choose the My Watch tab.

3. Swipe down and tap Privacy.

Privacy in My watch tap
Privacy in My Watch tap. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

4. Then, tap Reset Fitness Calibration Data.

Reset Fitness Calibration Data in Privacy
Select Reset Fitness Calibration Data in Privacy. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

4. Make Sure to Wear Apple Watch Correctly

Sometimes, your Apple Watch is not tracking activity because you’re wearing it incorrectly.

Make sure you wear it on the wrist you set it up for and ensure the band/strap is suited correctly and the watch is not too loose or tight. 

5. Check Apple Watch Workouts Settings

Your Apple Watch can do its best tracking activities when all settings are set correctly and optimized.

Make sure Location Tracking is turned on, and it will get all the information it needs to track your workouts and activities. To do this, follow the steps below:

1. Open Settings.

2. After that, choose Privacy

Privacy in Settings app
Head over to Privacy in the Settings app. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Tap on Location Services.

Location Services
Choose Location Services. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

4. Then, check whether the Location Services toggle is on.

5. Look to see if Apple Watch Workouts is set to While Using. If not, tap it and select While Using the App.

Apple Watch Workouts
Set Apple Watch Workouts to While Using. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

7. Finally, tap on Apple Watch Workouts and make sure Precise Location is on. 

6. Calibrate Your Apple Watch

Calibrating or recalibrating Apple Watch can help it work more accurately. You can calibrate your watch easily if you bought a new Apple Watch or have had it for a while.

Apple Watch Calibration will ensure that your pace, distance, exercise minutes, and calorie counting are entirely accurate. To calibrate your Apple Watch, follow the steps below:

  1. Wear your Apple Watch throughout the activity.
  2. If you have Apple Watch with cellular capabilities, you don’t need your iPhone. 
  3. If not, bring your iPhone with you to complete the calibration process.
  4. Stand on a flat area outdoor and choose a perfect route for walking. 
  5. Open the Workout app on your Apple Watch.
Apple watch Workout app
Go to the Apple watch Workout app. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

6. Select either Outdoor Walk or Outdoor Run

Apple Watch Outdoor Walk or Run
Choose Apple Watch Outdoor Walk or Outdoor Run. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

7. Walk at your normal pace for at least 20 minutes

This process will calibrate your Apple Watch based on your pace, steps, distance, and time of workouts, and it will show you more accurate data when this normal behavior changes. 

7. Update watchOS 

If your Apple Watch needs an update, it will work weirdly because some features stop working in an old version of watchOS. To check for updates, follow the steps below:

1. First, open the Watch app. 

2. Go to General.

Apple Watch General
Head over to the Apple Watch General menu. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Then, tap on Software Update.

Apple Watch Sotfware Update
Select Apple Watch Sotfware Update. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

4. Check if your Apple Watch needs an update or if the watchOS is up to date.

Having trouble checking for updates? Learn what to do when your Apple Watch is unable to check for updates.

8. Check Power Reserve Mode

Apple Watch has a feature called Power Reserve Mode, which is useful when your watch doesn’t have enough power.

This feature disables all features except the current time. Your watch will stop tracking activity when this feature is on.

When your Apple Watch’s battery is below 10%, you will see a red low battery icon next to the time showing the Power Reserve Mode is on. 

Apple Watch Power Reserve Mode
Apple Watch Power Reserve Mode. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

Charge your Apple Watch for at least 30 minutes and then restart it. 

9. Check Wrist Detection

Another reason Apple Watch is not tracking activity is that Wrist Detection may be off. To check this:

1. Go to Settings on your Apple Watch.

Settings Apple Watch
Open the Settings app on Apple Watch. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

2. After that, scroll down and open Passcode

Apple Watch Passcode
Tap on Apple Watch Passcode. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Scroll down and check whether the Wrist Detection is on. If not, enable it.

Apple Watch Wrist detection
Enable Apple Watch Wrist detection. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

10. Restart Your iPhone and Apple Watch

Restarting your devices can sometimes solve the problem. When restarting your Apple Watch or iPhone, turn it off for a minute or two before turning it back on. 

To Restart Apple Watch:

  1. Press and hold the Digital Crown + Side button simultaneously. 
  2. Keep doing it until you see the Apple logo on the screen.
  3. Next, release the buttons. 
  4. Wait for the Apple Watch to boot up completely. 
  5. After that, check if the problem has been solved.
  6. Unpair and Re-pair Your Apple Watch

If the issue of the Apple Watch not tracking activity still exists, you may need to unpair your Apple Watch. Unpairing your Apple Watch and re-pairing it may solve many problems.

Remember to set up your Apple Watch as a new watch after unpairing, and don’t restore it from the backup.

1. Open the Watch app.

2. Then, choose General.

Apple Watch General
Go to the Apple Watch General menu. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

3. Scroll down and tap on Reset.

Apple Watch Reset
Apple Watch Reset option. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

4. Next, choose Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings.

Apple Watch Erase Apple Watch
Select Erase Apple Watch. Screenshot: Farhad Pashaei/Gotechtor

5. Confirm the pop-up message twice.

6. Enter your Apple ID Password and let the process finish.

Next, pair your Apple Watch again, and check if it still won’t track your activity.

If you have syncing problems with your Apple Watch, learn what to do when your Apple Watch is not syncing with your iPhone.

Final Thoughts on Apple Watch Not Tracking Activity

Apple Watch not tracking activity can be very frustrating for those who exercise professionally and use their watch to count every minute they spend and calories they burn.

This could happen for many different reasons. Fortunately, you have many DIY solutions you can try at home to fix the problem.

If none of the above solutions worked, you’ll need to contact Apple for support so the experts can fix the issue for you. 

Did you manage to solve the problem? Did you find other ways to troubleshoot this issue? Share your ideas in the comments below.

For the past 7 years, Farhad has been tinkering with phones, laptops, power banks, etc. When he's not writing, he's devouring info about new products launch.

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