How to change the Apple Watch Workout app on-screen stats and metrics

workout views on Apple Watch with the Workout app

One of the things I love most about my Apple Watch is tracking my workouts using the Workouts app! I love glancing at my watch to see all those real-time metrics, like my active and total calories, current heart rate, distance, elevation, intensity, total workout duration, and more!

Many people don’t realize that they can customize the Workout app’s on-screen metrics for each type of workout and choose the most important ones! So you see different real-time metrics (up to 5 different metrics) on your watch’s screen for different exercises–focusing on what matters to you.

And watchOS 9+ takes things even further, with a bunch of new metrics like heart rate zones that you can add using editable workout views on the watch itself. You can even create different workout views for the same exercise with other goals. Pretty awesome.

So let’s dig in!

Related reading

How to change the on-screen workout stats for an activity using the Apple Watch Workout app heart rate zones in Apple Watch Workout app

First, you never start with a blank slate. Each of the Workout app’s exercises comes with its default settings for what metrics appear on the screen in the Workout app when you raise your wrist during exercise.

These defaults usually include duration, heart rate, and distance or calories up to a maximum of 5 different metrics. Some activities offer just a few stats while others, like Outdoor Running, offer a lot, including power, stride length, vertical oscillation, ground contact time, and other critical running stats

Now, you may like these preset on-screen metrics; if so, you don’t have to do anything. But if you’re like me and want to show other metrics, you need to change the workout view.

Since Apple limits ANY workout view to show no more than five metrics on the watch’s screen, you might need to hide or swap/remove a metric first before you can add a different one.

How we change the workout view depends on what watchOS version the Apple Watch runs.

  • For watchOS 8 and below, you open the Watch app on the paired iPhone. 
  • For watchOS 9 and above, you open the Workout app directly on your Apple Watch. You can no longer adjust workout views in the Watch app.

How to change the Workout app’s on-screen metrics using watchOS 9+

If you’re used to the old way of changing your Workout app’s on-screen stats, you may wonder if you can’t change them anymore after updating to watchOS 9+.

That’s because Apple changed HOW and WHERE you make these updates. Instead of using your iPhone and the Watch app, you now make these changes directly inside the Workout app on your watch.

It’s a welcome change for many. However, it can be a lot more difficult for some folks to make these changes on the much smaller Apple Watch screen.

And as I discovered, you make many more mistakes since you have to go back and forth between watch screens to make changes.

  1. Open the Workout app on your Apple Watch. Apple watch Workout app
  2. Choose a workout type. Choose a workout type on Apple Watch
  3. Tap the three-dot More settings button to the right of the workout name. 
  4. Decide on a goal for your workout, such as the default Open goal.
    1. To see goal options, tap Suggested and select All. Show all available goals for an Apple Watch workout
    2. Each workout type has a different set of available goals.
  5. Tap the Edit button (small pencil icon) inside the goal. Edit a goal in the Workout app Apple Watch
  6. Select Workout Views. Apple Watch Workout app change workout views
  7. Choose Edit Views. Workout app Edit Views for workout views
  8. Scroll down in Workout Views to Metrics and tap the pencil icon to edit the chosen stats.
    1. Metrics is the default first screen of stats you see on your watch when working out. Apple Watch Workouts app edit the Workout viewon-screen stats
    2. To see all your current stats scroll down or use the Digital Crown and tap the pencil icon. Apple Watch Workout app workout view current list of stats in Metrics
  9. Tap on a metric you want to change. Select a metric you want to change in the Apple Watch Workout app workout view
  10. Scroll down or use the Digital Crown to see all available metrics. The list of available metrics varies by workout type. The current stat is outlined in green. Workout app list of available metrics for workout view on Apple Watch
    1. Tap on a different metric to change it.  
    2. You can also select Off to remove that metric from the list and not replace it with another stat.
  11. Repeat from step 9 for any other metrics you wish to change.
  12. If you want to reorder the metrics, tap each item and change it to how you want the list to show on your watch.
    1. There is no reorder button–you must create the order of appearance by selecting each metric in the order you wish it to show.
  13. Tap Done at the top to save your changes. on-screen metrics for Workout app on Apple Watch
  14. Back in Workout Views, scroll down past Metrics to see all the options for the additional screens. Include or don't include additional workout metric screens for Apple Watch workout app workout views
    1. Additional screens depend on exercise type and include Heart Rate Zones, Activity Rings, Elevation, Metrics 2, and applicable others. 
    2. Toggle on Include if you want to add that metric as an additional screen or toggle off Include if you don’t want to see that metric as another screen.
    3. Only Metrics 2 is editable by tapping the pencil icon and choosing your options just like you did for Metrics. All others (heart rate zone, activity rings, elevation, etc.) are not editable–you can either include them or not. Apple Watch Workout app Metrics 2 workout view
    4. To reorder how these screens appear in the Workout app, scroll all the way down in Workout Views and tap Reorder. Workout views on Apple Watch Workout app reorder workout views
      1. Tap the metric’s reorder button (three lines icon.) Apple Watch Workout app drag and drop to reorder workout views
      2. Drag and drop each metric into the list order you want.
        1. In this example, heart rate zones appear first before any other metrics screen, so when I open Outdoor walk, I’ll see my Heart Rate Zones screen first when I raise my wrist during exercise and will need to scroll down to see Metrics, Activity Rings, Elevation, and so forth.
      3. Tap the Done button at the top to save the new order.

Now, this isn’t a universal setting change. It just updates that workout type and goal. You will need to repeat these steps for other workout types and goals.

The example above made changes to my Outdoor Walk with the open goal.

If I wanted to see the same stat screens for Outdoor Run with an open goal, I would need to repeat these steps and choose Outdoor Run as my workout type and Open as my goal. Then tap the three-dot more button and repeat all the customizations!Outdoor Run workout type on Apple Watch Workout app

Yes, it’s a lot of work!

How to change the Workout app’s on-screen stats using watchOS 8 and below

  1. Open the Watch app on your paired iPhone.
  2. Choose the My Watch tab and select the Workout app
  3. Scroll down through the settings and tap Workout View.
    1. Choose Multiple Metric. Apple Watch Workout View on Watch app for multiple metrics
  4. Choose the workout type you want to customize. Watch app change Workout View stats for each workout on Apple Watch
  5. Tap Edit at the top. Edit on screen workout view using iPhone Watch app
  6. To change the metrics you want to show, add or remove them from the lists.
    1. To remove a metric, tap the minus button next to it, then tap Remove.
    2. To add a metric, tap the plus sign next to it. Change workout view metrics using the Watch app on iPhone
    3. To change their order, drag the Change Order button (three lines icon.) 
    4. Tap Done at the top to save your updates.
  7. Repeat for any other workout types where you want to customize the stats that show on your watch’s screen.

Final thoughts

I love seeing my workout data in real-time with a glance at my screen! And being able to choose what stats show up and their order of appearance is one of the most useful options of the Apple Watch Workout app.

Learning how to customize your workout views helps personalize your Apple Watch even more. Although choosing which statistics show up was a lot easier in watchOS 8 and below via the Watch app, watchOS 9+ offers a ton of more options to get the most important data to you. 

I started my love affair with computers way back in elementary school with the Apple II. Since then, I've worked with technology in my career as a media educator and videomaker. I have an MFA in media making from Temple University, where I also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member. So I know a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides! After a cancer diagnosis, I turned to mobile technology like my Apple Watch to help me monitor my health throughout my chemotherapy treatment and later, to regain my wellness once in remission. I love sharing how to understand and use mobile tech, like smartwatches and phones, as a tool for empowerment to live our best and healthiest lives!

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