How to set up and use the Walking Steadiness Score feature and notifications on your iPhone

walking steadiness score low to okay

According to World Health Organization, more than 37 million people each year require medical attention due to a fall, leading to more serious health conditions and a loss of independence for the affected individual.

To tackle this issue, Apple has expanded its Mobility Metrics section in its Health app in iOS 15+ and launched a feature called “Walking Steadiness score” and a related notification.

You don’t need an Apple Watch to activate the Walking Steadiness (walking asymmetry) feature. It uses your iPhone’s motion sensors and Apple’s custom algorithms to assess your balance, stability, and coordination.

Apple offers this feature on iPhone 8 or later updated to iOS 15 and above. Whenever you walk with your iPhone, your phone tracks your mobility metrics, including your walking speed, step length, double support time, and walking asymmetry.

Apple then uses all of these walking and mobility metrics to determine your walking steadiness and then classify it.

Related reading:

About Apple’s Walking Steadiness feature

The Walking Steadiness feature on the iPhone is an industry first, providing insight into fall risk by capturing important mobility data as users walk with their iPhones.  

Since iOS 15 also introduced the concept of Health sharing, a feature that you can use to monitor the health of your loved ones, one could use it to monitor the walking steadiness score of an older adult in the family to mitigate risks associated with falling. 

The new Walking Steadiness feature is helpful to the user and especially insightful for primary caregivers of folks prone to accidental falling due to health reasons.

You only get a notification if your walking steadiness level is low and the algorithm determines you are at risk for a fall within the next year.

Which iPhones support the Walking steadiness score?

This mobility metric is only available on the newer iPhones. Apple states that the feature is available on iPhone 8 or later and running iOS15 and higher.

How to set up walking steadiness score and notification feature in iOS 15+

Setting up and using this feature is fairly easy with the iOS 15+ Health app.

  1. Start by launching the Health App on your iPhone running at least iOS 15Set up Walking Steadiness score in iOS 15
  2. Go to the Summary tab and scroll to the Walking Steadiness Notifications prompt, then tap Set Up.
    Set up Walking Steadiness feature on iPhone

    1. You also find these settings in Browse > Mobility > scroll down and click Walking Steadiness Notifications.
    2. If you still don’t see Walking Steadiness, choose the Summary or Browse tab at the bottom and tap your profile icon or picture at the top and choose Health Checklist. Scroll down and tap Walking Steadiness Notifications.
  3. The Setup process is easy and starts with confirming your basic health data such as sex, age, weight, and height. ( Required for estimating a person’s walking steadiness score)Confirm health details in IOS 15
  4. The next setup screen helps you turn on the notifications for walking steadiness.Enable Notifications for Walking Steadiness score
  5. By Turning On the notifications, your iPhone alerts you when your walking steadiness score is low or very low.
  6. You can add the Notifications /score to your favorites so that it shows up on the main screenComplete set up of walking steadiness

Can’t find Walking Steadiness in your iPhone’s Apple Health app?

There are several places to look for turning on notifications for walking steadiness. 

  1. Check Browse > Mobility > scroll down and select Walking Steadiness Notifications. iPhone and Apple Health app set up walking steadiness notifications in mobility section
  2. Or choose the Summary or Browse tab at the bottom and tap your profile icon or picture at the top and choose Health Checklist. Scroll down and tap Walking Steadiness Notifications. Walking Steadiness in Apple's Health app Health Checklist

How to review your Walking Steadiness history review walking steadiness and mobility metrics history in the Apple Health app

  1. Open the Health app and tap Browse.
  2. Tap Mobility and choose Walking Steadiness or another mobility metric.
  3. Scroll down to see your history and tap on any item to see more details. Last month walking steadiness score in Apple Health app
  4. You can also add Walking Steadiness to your Health app’s Favorites section, so you see it immediately when you open the Health app in the Summary tab. add walking steadiness to your Apple Health apps favorites section
    1. If you don’t see your walking steadiness score under your Favorites, tap Edit and add it!

Interpreting Walking Steadiness level scores in Apple Health Health app walking steadiness details Apple iPhone

Apple provides three labels for this metric. These are:

    • OK, meaning you do not have a risk of falling in the next 12 months
    • Low, meaning you are at an increased risk of falling in the next 12 months and
    • Very Low, suggesting that your walking is precarious and you have a high risk of falling within the next 12 months.

During the Walking Steadiness setup process, you can turn on notifications to alert you when this score becomes low or very low.

It is important to remember that these notifications mean that you’re more likely to fall overall, not that you’re about to fall in that moment.

Walking Steadiness measurements are taken over the course of seven days.

This is an important detail. If your score is low and you start performing some of the suggested exercises, you can monitor changes to your walking steadiness score every week.

Walking Steadiness Score low or very low? Walking Steadiness low notification in Apple Health app on iPhone

As per Apple, the low or very low walking steadiness score notifications mean that you’re more likely to fall overall, not that you’re about to fall in that moment.

That being said, Apple provides the following resources that a user can leverage to improve their score.

  • Tap on ‘Browse‘ at the bottom of the Health screen.
  • Next, tap on Mobility and scroll down until you locate ‘Exercises That May Improve Walking Steadiness.’
  • Tap on it and scroll down, and you find a series of exercises that help improve this score.walking Steadiness improvement exercises
  • Improving this requires the following exercises as outlined by Apple in this section.
    • Sit-Stand exercise and Calf Raises to increase strength
    • Hip Abduction and Heel-Toe Walking for improving Balance
    • Walking exercises

Users can also download a PDF and print more details about these exercises from this screen. Please spend some time reading through the exercise guidelines and the safety precautions before trying out these exercises.

The main takeaway is that if your walking steadiness score is low or very low, you can use these exercises to improve your score and discuss it with a healthcare professional or your primary caregiver so that they are equally aware of the fall risk.

You can learn more about the new Health features Apple unveiled with iOS 15+ by clicking on Apple’s announcement.

Share your walking steadiness information with others, including family or caregivers share apple health walking steadiness with another person

Using your iPhone’s Health app’s health sharing feature, you can automatically share your walking steadiness information and notifications with friends or family.

To use this feature, you first need to set up Health Sharing with each person you wish to share your data with. Tap the Sharing tab at the bottom to set up and start sharing with family, friends, and caregivers.Sharing tab in the Apple Health app on iPhone

Learn how to set up health sharing in our step-by-step article How to share your iPhone’s Health app health data with family and caregivers.

You must invite each person to share your health information with them, and they must accept your invitation.

  • To share with someone, you must list them in your Contacts app.
  • That person must use an iPhone with iOS 15 or later. You cannot share with Android folks at this time.

You only need to set this up once. From then on, your family and others get all your walking steadiness notifications and other data.

Walking steadiness grayed out or shows no data source?

If you don’t see any data on walking steadiness, make sure you use a supported iPhone mode (iPhone 8 and above) and update that phone to iOS 15 or above.

Then, walk with your iPhone over a series of days keeping your iPhone near your waist, like in a pocket, purse, bag, or waist pack.

After walking with your iPhone, check and see if your Apple Health app now shows data. Remember, you only receive a notification if Apple determines your walking steadiness score is low and that you are at a risk of falling over the coming year.

I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products and have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. In my day job, I advise fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health&fitness-tech evolution and keep a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch or Fossil Gen 5 LTE and keep a close eye on my HRV and other recovery metrics.

5 COMMENTS

  1. On my health app walking steadiness does not show an option. I have an iPhone 11 Pro which will support but does not give me option for any notification

    • Hi Christy,

      Sorry to hear about that. First, make sure that the Health app has all your correct details about your age, weight, and so forth. To view and edit this information, open the Health app on your iPhone and tap the Summary tab at the bottom. Them tap your profile icon or picture at the top and choose Health Details. Review that information and If you need to make changes, tap Edit at the top. Once updated, press Done at the top to save your changes.

      Go back to the Health app and choose the Browse tab at the bottom. Choose Body Measurements and make any updates for your weight and height and any other metrics you have information for.

      Once you did all that, power off your iPhone and wait 30 seconds before you power it back on.

      After restarting, check for any iOS updates in Settings > General > Software Update. IF you see an update available, update your phone.

      If you don’t need an update or finished updating, open the Health app again and choose the Summary tab from the bottom. Scroll down until you see Walking Steadiness Notifications and tap Set Up. Follow the onscreen prompts to confirm your Health Details and turn on notifications.

      If you don’t see Walking Steadiness there, tap your profile icon or picture at the top and choose Health Checklist. Scroll down and see if you find Walking Steadiness. If so, tap it and you should be able to turn notifications on or off.

      To see your Walking Steadiness information, open the Browse tab at the bottom and choose Mobility from the list. Scroll down and locate Walking Steadiness and tap on it to review your data.

  2. Thanks for the notes. I just received aow score, checked my phone and found out the measurements are taken from my phone and not my watch.

    Half of the time my phone is in my purse, getting tossed about.

    I’m guessing until.they change the measurements from something other than the phone, I better stop using/sharing this

  3. I have an Apple Watch and don’t carry my phone much, never in my pocket, sometimes in my purse.

    Does it capture just my phone data and nothing from watch?

    • Hi Sarah,

      The Walking Steadniness score is captured from your iPhone only, it does not take your Apple Watch’s data into account.

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