Logging and tracking your physical activity via a daily step count is one of the best features smartwatches have today. Fitbit is well known for this. They make keeping track of your steps simple and easy.
Apple Watch, on the other hand, does not highlight step counting. There’s not even a preset option for tracking your steps in Apple Watch’s face gallery.
I’m one of those people who recently switched to the Apple Watch after using Fitbits for years. And one thing I really miss is seeing my step count right on my watch face.
I’m not sure why Apple does not currently offer a steps complication (or flights climbed and distance traveled) to add to your watch face so you can check your step count with just a glance.
Instead, Apple’s Activity app focuses primarily on movement, exercising, and standing and you have to scroll past those three focuses so you can catch a glimpse of your step count, distance, and flights climbed.
This lack of options can be extremely frustrating, especially when for users like me that switch from Fitbit to Apple Watch.
We miss being able to track a daily step count. So what can Apple Watch users do to track their step count?
Here’s how we do it.
- 1 How to see your step count on Apple Watch
- 2 Final thoughts
- How to count steps or distance with your iPhone when you don’t own an Apple Watch
- Apple watch counting too many flights climbed of steps? Try these tips!
- Why your Apple Watch isn’t tracking or counting your steps or movement: Fix it today
- How do I set device priority for calculating steps and other activity on iPhone and Apple Watch?
- WorkOutDoors: the most customizable and fully functional workout app for Apple Watch
How to see your step count on Apple Watch
All three of these pedometer apps are compatible with the Apple Watch. They are also free on the App Store.
- Open that App Store on your iPhone or Apple Watch. Search for and install the app.
- Once you download and install your preferred pedometer app, you have to turn on tracking for all categories in Apple’s Health app and allow access to your Motion & Fitness Activity data.
After you give these permissions, your pedometer app syncs all the data your Health app gets from your Apple Watch.
You can then easily add these apps as an Apple Watch face complication so your step count (or another activity metric like distance) shows up on your Apple Watch screen.
If you’re worried about these pedometer apps counting both step counts from your Apple Watch and your iPhone, not a problem!
The Pedometer++ app has a setting where you can disable the merging of your Apple Watch and phone step counts.
Additionally, the Health app should not double-count your steps.
Apple aggregates your health and fitness data from Apple Watch, iPhone, and any other sources like apps or other fitness devices in the Health app and should automatically prevent double-counting of data from different sources.
See your step count directly on your Apple Watch face!
If you wish to have your step count show up on your Apple Watch Face, you can do that too!
You can change it from your Apple Watch or on the Watch app on your iPhone.
Add a step count complication to your watch face
First, decide on your Watch Face and then customize it by adding your Step app’s complication.
- Press the Digital Crown to go to your watch face.
- Tap and hold the display and select Edit.
- Swipe left or right to choose Complications.
- Tap on one of the complications to change it.
- If you don’t see any current complications, tap inside one of the open boxes.
- Turn the Digital Crown to see all available complications. Look for your pedometer app and tap it to add it as a watch face complication.
- Press the Digital Crown again to save this complication to your watch face.
Then check out your step count from your preferred pedometer app!
And voila! Your steps shall appear on your Watch Face!
It is important to note that your step count data may not update in real time. While it might not be instantaneous, it’s better than nothing.
Is your step count not updating on your Apple Watch face?
If your step count is not updating at all, make sure you turn on Background App Refresh for that app in your iPhone’s Settings app.
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Scroll all the way down to the section with third-party apps.
- Locate your chosen pedometer app and tap it.
- Toggle on Background App Refresh and make sure that you also toggled on Motion & Fitness.
- Open your iPhone’s Health app and tap on your avatar at the top. Scroll down, and under Privacy, tap Apps.
- Choose your pedometer app.
- Toggle everything on or if everything is already on, toggle it off, wait a few seconds, and toggle it back on.
- Place your watch in the vicinity of your iPhone, so it can sync data back and forth.
Customize your Apple Watch Face with your own photo
If none of the Apple Watch Face presets call out to you, then you can always customize it yourself by using your photos. It’s super easy to do!
- Find the image you want to use for your Watch Face from your Photos app.
- Select the image, and tap the share button.
- Then select Create Watch Face.
From there, you can decide to use the full size of the image or make it into a unique kaleidoscope print.
With the popularity of achieving your daily step count goal, you would think that Apple would offer more ways to track this data.
But to Apple, getting 10,000 steps a day isn’t a priority. Apple chooses to focus on your keeping your body moving instead.
But after following this guide, you can now track your steps and overall movement easily!