Apple Watch not capturing or tracking workout routes in Maps? Let’s fix it

mapped route from apple watch workout app

Going for a run, walk, bike ride, or swim using your Apple Watch and the Workouts app, only to later discover that your paired iPhone doesn’t show a map of your activity? If so, you aren’t alone. And we’ve got some tips to get your workouts showing your routes again!

Just remember that you see the route map on your paired iPhone in the Fitness app (iOS14+) or Activity app (iOS13 and below), not on your Apple Watch!

After saving your workout, once your iPhone and Apple Watch sync data, you should see a thumbnail of your route’s map in the summary of your workout using the Fitness or Activity app on your iPhone. Tap on that thumbnail to see a full-size version of your route!

Quick checklist

myhealthyapple quick checklist icon

Check the following items and make sure you set up everything correctly

  1. Verify that you have the Apple Maps app installed on your paired iPhone. The Workouts app only tracks routes using Apple’s native Maps app. It does not integrate with third-party mapping apps like Google Maps
  2. Update your watchOS version and iOS version to the latest available for your device–but make sure you backup first!
  3. After completing your workout, let you Apple Watch sync to your iPhone
  4. Make sure that you wear your watch snugly, rather than loosely
  5. Verify that you have wrist detection on for your Apple Watch. Go to Watch app > Passcode > Wrist Detection and toggle it on
  6. If you use a passcode on your watch, unlock your watch by entering its passcode
  7. On your paired iPhone, go to Settings > Privacy > Motion & Fitness. Toggle on both Fitness Tracking and Health
  8. In the Watch app on your paired iPhone, go to your Watch’s Name > Privacy. Toggle on both Fitness Tracking and Heart Rate 
  9. On the paired iPhone, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and verify that you toggled on Location Services
    1. Then, tap Location Services > Apple Watch Workout and choose While Using the App under Allow Location Access
    2. Repeat the above step for Maps so it’s also set to While Using the App
    3. For iOS 14+, toggle on Precise Location
      1. If not turned on, the Workout app cannot adequately determine your route
  10. It never hurts to shutdown both your Apple Watch and your iPhone just to see if the problem is temporary

Are you missing GPS data after updating your Apple Watch, iPhone, or both to the latest watchOS and iOS?

If this behavior started after updating watchOS or iOS (or both), the current remedy is to turn on iCloud (Settings > Apple ID > iCloud) and make sure that you toggle on the Health app. Then backup up your iPhone to iCloud using iCloud Backup > Backup Now. iPhone iCloud Backup Now

Once your iPhone backs up, unpair your watch using the Watch app (this process automatically creates a new watch backup.) Then, erase your iPhone via Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Erase all content and settings on iPhone

After erasing your iPhone, restore your iPhone backup and then re-pair your watch and restore the most recent watch backup. restore Apple Watch from backup after re-pairing it to iPhone

Related reading

How to see and store your Apple Watch routes

To a route, you must turn on route tracking for your Apple Watch. When you originally set up your Apple Watch, a prompt offers you the option to turn on route tracking.

You should also be able to set this up later; however, it often does not work.

On your paired iPhone, try going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. Tap Apple Watch Workout, then choose While Using the App. allow location access for apple watch workout app

Route tracking only works with While Using the App–if allow location access is set to Never or Ask Next Time, your watch cannot track your route.

Check your workout summary to see if the information is there

  1. On your iPhone, open the Fitness (iOS 14+) or Activity app (iOS 13 and below)
  2. Choose the Summary tab (iOS 14+) or Workouts tab (iOS 13 and below) fitness app and activity app workouts summary
  3. Tap a workout you want to see the route for
    1. If you don’t see the workout, tap the Show More button
  4. Scroll down and check if a map was recorded. If so, you see a thumbnail image under the heading Map Apple Watch workout app map route thumbnail in Fitness or Activity app iPhone
  5. Tap the thumbnail to expand your route’s map full-screen full screen map of apple workout app route map

How to fix when your Apple Watch and the Workouts app is not recording your route

Let your Apple Watch and paired iPhone set your time zone automatically

GPS relies on information from your device’s date and time settings including time zone.

So it’s important to make sure that you’ve set the date, time, and time zone correctly.

  • On your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Date & Time > toggle on Set Automatically

    set date and time automatically on iPhone
    If Set Automatically is already on, try toggling it off and back on with a pause in between

Toggle off Workout Power Saving Mode

Although it shouldn’t impact mapping your route, some users let us know that by toggling off power savings mode, their Apple Watches then correctly showed their workout app routes.

Turn off power savings on your Watch

  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch
  2. Go to Workout
  3. Turn off Power Saving Mode turn power saving mode off

Turn off power savings on your paired iPhone

  1. Go to the Watch app on your paired iPhone
  2. Tap My Watch
  3. Scroll the list of apps and tap Workout
  4. Toggle off Power Savings Mode iPhone watch app workout power savings mode

Check your System Services settings

Your iPhone’s Location Services also includes options for overall iOS System Services that connect to Apple’s native apps and services (like Find My and Emergency Calls and SOS).

This access includes information from cellular, Wi-Fi, Global Positioning System (GPS) networks, and Bluetooth that all help to determine your location. iPhone system services under privacy and location services

Since both the Workout and Maps apps use this data to track your exercise route, let’s check out these System Services settings to ensure you don’t have anything accidentally turned off.

Check System Services on your Watch or your paired iPhone

  1. On your iPhone or Apple Watch, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and scroll down to System Services system services on Apple Watch
    1. Your Watch shows a limited list, while your iPhone shows the full set of options
    2. If your Watch options are grayed out, then go to your paired iPhone to make changes
  2. Verify that you toggled on all of these settings:
    1. Compass Calibration
    2. Motion Calibration & Distance
    3. Networking & Wireless
    4. Setting Time Zonelist of system services in location services for privacy on iPhone

Reset your Apple Watch’s calibration data

  1. On your paired iPhone, open the Watch app
  2. Tap My Watch
  3. Go to Privacy and tap Reset Fitness Calibration Data reset fitness calibration data on Apple Watch

Apple Watch Workout app’s location service options not showing While Using the App or stuck on Ask Next Time?

If you are unable to see the option While Using the App for the Workouts app or it’s grayed out and/or stuck on Ask Next Time, unpairing and re-pairing your watch from your iPhone often does the trick.

location access stuck on ask next time apple watch

When you unpair your Apple Watch from your iPhone, iOS automatically creates a new backup of your Apple Watch. Use this backup (or any available older backup) to restore your Apple Watch.

Try first to unpair and re-pair and restore from a backup

  1. Place your Apple Watch and iPhone next to each other, ideally both on their chargers (or make sure they each have 50%+ battery available)
  2. Open the Watch app on your paired iPhone
  3. Go to the My Watch tab and tap the name of your watch
  4. Tap the “i” info button apple watch info i button
  5. Choose Unpair Apple Watch apple watch unpair from iPhone
  6. For GPS + Cellular models, choose to keep or remove your cellular plan.
    1. To pair your Apple Watch and iPhone again, keep your plan.
  7. Tap again to confirm you want to unpair and if prompted, enter your Apple ID password to disable Activation Lock
  8. Follow these steps to set up your Apple Watch again from your recent backup
  9. When prompted to enable shared settings including location services (required for route tracking), tap OK Pairing Apple Watch to iPhone shared settings prompt
  10. Depending on how you set-up your iPhone, you may also get to enable other settings, like Route Tracking Pair apple watch with route tracking enabled or disabled

If problems persist, unpair and re-pair again, but this time set the watch up as new. 

  • When you set your Apple Watch as new, you do lose all your historical data including any information about your past workouts and any routes you took

Problem with Apple Watch not tracking your trends?

If you use iOS 13+ and watchOS 6+, Apple’s Fitness or Activity app shows you some nice data about your progress over time!

Trends shows you a quick snapshot of how you’re doing on your Move, Exercise, and Stand goals. Plus, it showcases some other key metrics and compares that data to your past performance(s.)

If this feature gives you trouble or isn’t showing up, check out this issue specific article Apple Watch Trends missing after updating watchOS? Try this!

It takes 180 days of activity to start seeing your trends–so if you are new to the Apple ecosystem, don’t worry if it doesn’t show up.  Just keep wearing your watch and closing those rings. Once you accumulate sufficient data, look for a notification that your trends are ready!

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