Is your Apple Watch not counting or displaying calories? Several users have found that their Apple Watch works great for the most part.
It shows the activity statistics, heart rate information, and other features such as notifications work well, but when it comes to tracking active calories, for some reason, the Apple Watch simply doesn’t either record it or display the information.
- 1 Are you looking at all calories or just active or resting calories?
- 2 Keep your watch snug and/or move the watch up your arm
- 3 Check the Apple ID your Apple Watch uses
- 4 Check calorie-specific Settings on Apple Watch
- 5 Try a third-party fitness app
- 6 Check that you allow apps to background app refresh
- 7 Recalibrate your Apple Watch’s fitness accuracy
- 8 Unpair and re-pair your Apple Watch from your iPhone
- 9 Check out the Apple Watch community on Apple Discussions
- Guide to understanding and using Heart Rate Variability (HRV) on your Apple Watch
- How to erase health data from Apple Watch and paired iPhone
- Want to use an Apple Watch without an iPhone? Use family setup for Apple Watch
This issue on your Apple Watch could be happening because of several reasons. Let’s explore some of these in detail.
Are you looking at all calories or just active or resting calories?
Apple’s Workout app shows you all the active calories you burned via exercising, while the Activity app (& iPhone Fitness app) shows you both active and resting calories.
- Active calories are what you burn when exercising.
- Resting calories are what your body needs to function (even when you’re inactive.) These calories represent your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and comprise at least 60% of your total calories burned per day (for most people.)
- Total calories are active calories + resting calories.
So double-check both the Workout app and the Activity app (Fitness app) and take a look at those calorie counts.
Change your calorie units to kJ (Kilojules) and then back to kCal (Calories)
Temporarily changing the calorie measurement unit might also help.
Open your paired iPhone’s Health app and go to the Browse tab. Then, scroll down and choose Active Energy or Resting Energy > Unit and select kJ, then wait 30 seconds and go back to kcal.
With iOS 14+ and watchOS 7+, there are additional ways to change your measurement units, see this article for more details: Customize Apple Watch units of measurements using the Watch and Health App (iOS 14+)
Keep your watch snug and/or move the watch up your arm
Your Apple Watch works best when it fits snugly on your wrist, so its heart rate sensor accurately tracks. So if it’s comfortable, make it just a little bit tighter.
Alternatively, move your watch up your arm towards your elbow. Wearing your Apple Watch higher up your arm often produces better results.
Another strategy is to wear the watch on the inside of your wrist or arm. This is especially useful if you have tattoos or have a lot of arm hair (you could also shave your hair but wearing it on the inside is a lot easier!)
Make sure your watch isn’t on power reserve or low power mode
When your battery drops to about 10 percent and the battery get too low, your watch automatically enters Power Reserve mode. If engaged, you see the red low battery icon next to the time.
Turn off power reserve mode on Apple Watch
- Press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo
- Wait for your Apple Watch to restart
- Charge your Apple Watch for at least 1 hour before resuming use
Turn off low power mode on Apple Watch
Apple Watch using watchOS9+ also have the option of Low Power mode. When your Apple Watch is in Low Power Mode, a yellow circle icon appears at the top of the screen.
Low Power Mode turns off these features
- Always On display.
- Heart rate notifications for irregular rhythm, high heart rate, and low heart rate.
- Background heart rate measurements and blood oxygen measurements.
- Workout reminders.
To turn off low power mode on your Apple Watch, follow these steps
- Swipe up Control Center and tap the battery percentage button.
- Turn off Low Power Mode.
- Open Settings > Workout app.
- Toggle off Low Power Mode.
For watches using watchOS 9+ on an Apple Watch SE (2nd generation), Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch Ultra, also turn off the feature for Fewer GPS and Heart Rate Readings.
This feature limits GPS and heart rate readings during workouts like outdoor walking, running, or hiking using the Workout app. It also turns off workout alerts for splits and segments, and metrics such as your current pace aren’t shown.
- Open the Settings app > Workout app.
- Toggle off Fewer GPS and Heart Rate Readings.
Check the Apple ID your Apple Watch uses
The most obvious element to check is around how you have set up your Apple ID for your Apple Watch.
Starting with watchOS 7 and the introduction of Apple Watch SE, users can add other family members, which means that you can set up an Apple Watch for your child (or an older adult parent that resides with you) using your iPhone.
When the Apple Watch is set up for a child aged less than 13 years, it won’t display active calories but only displays Move Minutes.
Check the Apple ID that you are using on your Apple Watch and confirm that it is not your child’s (or another family member’s) Apple ID.
In order to check the Apple ID in use, open the Watch app on your iPhone, tap on My Watch at the bottom left of the screen and choose General > Apple ID from the settings on the watch app. Check if you are using the right Apple ID.
Check calorie-specific Settings on Apple Watch
Active calories on your Apple Watch are typically calculated based on a number of other metrics that are collected. Among the metrics, height, weight, age, sex, and heart rate are five essential items that can help establish an accurate calorie calculation.
If your Apple Watch is not displaying or counting calories, start by checking each of these variables.
- Open the Watch App on your iPhone.
- Tap on My Watch at the bottom of the screen.
- Next, scroll and locate Privacy and tap on it.
- Make sure Heart Rate and Fitness Tracking are enabled on this screen.
- From the main Watch app settings screen, scroll down and tap on Workout
- Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and choose Units of Measure.
- Make sure that you have selected ‘Calories’ here.
- Tap on the Workout View from the main Workout screen.
- If you have selected Multiple Metric, tap on a specific workout below in the list.
- Check to make sure that Active Calories and Total Calories are not in the ‘Do Not Include’ section.
- Lastly, from the Watch app on your iPhone, tap on Health.
- Tap on Health Details (watchOS 7+) or Health Profile.
- Check your Birthdate, Sex, Height, and most importantly, Weight information here.
- Update the health profile information to correct information if necessary by tapping on ‘Edit’ and then updating the info.
The checklist above walks you through all the necessary settings to make sure that your Apple Watch is displaying the correct calorie-related information.
Try a third-party fitness app
The other way to confirm that there are no issues with your Apple Watch when it comes to measuring calories is to try and use a third-party fitness app and see if it records calorie information.
Check that you allow apps to background app refresh
Allowing your workout apps to refresh data in the background is critical to getting accurate and timely information.
So let’s check those settings.
- Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
- Go to General > Background App Refresh.
- Toggle on Background App Refresh for all apps you want data to refresh frequently.
Recalibrate your Apple Watch’s fitness accuracy
Calibration improves the accuracy of your calorie calculations in the Workout app and the calorie, distance, move, and exercise calculations in both your Apple Watch’s Activity app & your iPhone’s Fitness app.
- On your iPhone, open Settings > Privacy > Location Services
- Verify Location Services is on
- Scroll down and tap System Services
- Verify Motion Calibration & Distance is on
- On your iPhone, open the Watch app
- Tap the My Watch tab, then tap Privacy > Reset Fitness Calibration Data
- With your Apple Watch on your wrist, go to an outdoor area with good GPS reception
- If you have Apple Watch Series 1 or earlier, bring your paired iPhone with you to connect to GPS
- Open the Workout app
- Start either an Outdoor Walk or Outdoor Run activity
- Exercise for at least 20 minutes to allow your Apple Watch to calibrate using its accelerometer and learn your stride length at different speeds
Unpair and re-pair your Apple Watch from your iPhone
If you are still having trouble seeing the calorie information on your Apple Watch, we suggest that you first try and unpair your Apple Watch from your iPhone and then re-pair it.
If needed, follow the unpairing directions in this article Unpair Apple Watch with or without your iPhone or Watch.
If in spite of the unpairing and re-pairing process you are still unable to locate Calorie information on your Apple Watch, consider completely resetting the Apple Watch using General > Reset > Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings. And then set up the device from scratch as new.
Check out the Apple Watch community on Apple Discussions
The Apple Watch support community is very helpful. If you have checked all the above settings and followed through the process without success, reach out to Apple Support and see if they can help you with this issue.
Please let us know if you have any questions or comments. We hope that you were able to use the checklist above in trying to fix the missing calories information on your Apple Watch.