iPad not finding your Apple Watch for Apple Fitness+ and the Fitness app?

iPad looking for apple watch in Apple Fitness+

Want to watch Apple Fitness+ videos on your iPad’s larger screen, but it’s not able to find your Apple Watch?

When your iPad cannot connect to your Apple Watch when starting a Fitness+ workout, you see a button asking if you want to Work Out Without Watch.

And may see a message or the spinning circle that the iPad is Looking for Apple Watch.

Unfortunately, a lot of iPads have difficulty connecting with and recognizing Apple Watches for Fitness+

Related reading

Tips to help your iPad find and connect to your Apple Watch for Apple Fitness+

  1. Make sure you use the same Apple ID on your iPad as your paired iPhone (and Apple Watch.)
  2. Toggle on Keychain in iCloud settings on both iPhone and iPad.turn on iCloud Keychain for iPad and iPhone
  3. Add the Home app to both iPad and iPhone and open the home app on both devices. Then, toggle on the Home app in your iCloud settings for both devices.Home app in iCloud settings
  4. Restart both your iPad and your Apple Watch.
  5. On your iPad, turn off Bluetooth and WiFi, wait 20 seconds, then turn Bluetooth back on, followed by WiFi.
  6. If your iPhone is nearby, try toggling off Bluetooth temporarily so that your Apple Watch connects to your iPad instead of your iPhone.
  7. Turning on Detect Gym Equipment in the watch setting in Workout by open your Watch’s Settings app > Workout > toggle on Detect Gym Equipment.detect gym equipment on apple watch settings
  8. Turn off Power Saving Mode for the Workout App on your Apple Watch via Settings app > Workout > toggle off Power Saving Mode.turn off power savings mode workout app on apple watch

Is your iPad still not seeing your Apple Watch for Fitness+?

As our reader, Marc noticed, open Fitness+ on your iPad and immediately check if the image associated with your Apple ID shows up in the top corner of the Fitness+ app launch screen. Apple Fitness+ Apple ID

If you don’t see your image, there is likely a problem with Apple connecting Fitness+ to your Apple ID. This often happens when you use multiple Apple IDs–like a different one for the App Store vs. the one for iCloud Photos.

  1. Delete the Fitness app from your iPad.remove the fitness app from iPad
    1. Restart your iPad.
    2. Then reinstall the app.
    3. Check if your iPad now sees your watch.
  2. If that didn’t work, delete the Fitness app again, then log out of your Apple ID for Media & Purchases.Log out of App Store on iPad in Appel ID settings
    1. Once signed out, wait 30 seconds.
    2. Log back into Media & Purchases with your Apple ID.
      1.  Double-check that Media & Purchase is now associated with the correct Apple ID.
    3. Reinstall the Fitness app.
    4. Always make sure you use the same Apple ID that you use with your watch’s paired iPhone.

And if none of these tips worked for you, try logging completely out of your iPad’s Apple ID, then signing back in. Although lengthy, it almost always works!

Check your iPad compatibility

Not all iPads work with your Apple Watch and Apple Fitness+ or the Fitness app for iPad.

  • iPad Pro all models
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad mini 4 
  • iPad Air (3rd generation) 
  • iPad Air 2 

Additionally, your iPad must use iPadOS 14.3 and higher.

The Fitness app for iPad is not included in the iPadOS update, so open the App Store on your iPad and search for the Fitness app there.

Check your Apple Watch compatibility.

Fitness+ only works with Apple Watch Series 3 or later. 

Sorry folks with older models!

Wrap up

We hope this short article got your iPad up and running so you can enjoy all that Fitness+ offers on the bigger screen of your iPad.

Be sure to check out the Burn Bar, one of the most awesome features in Fitness+! 

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A. Beth Whittenberger
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. Additionally, I was a writer, content producer, and editor on the popular tech blog AppleToolBox. 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! Connect with me on LinkedIn!


  1. Thank you! I talked to 4 different people at Apple and none of them could help me figure out why any classes I watched on my iPad would not sync with my Apple Watch – this worked!

  2. I did all steps check iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch! I deleted the app on iPad! I disconnected 20 times the Bluetooth on both devices! Everything! My iPad keeps on looking for Apple Watch!
    Since update I’m having a nightmare working out!

    • Hi Almudena,

      Sorry to hear that your iPad isn’t recognizing your Apple Watch. A couple of questions:

      1) Did you also update the watchOS on your Apple Watch

      2) Does your iPad have the Home app installed

  3. Why does my watch Apple ID need to match the other stuff?

    We have like 20 apple IDs in the house – why can only one person use the iPad which has a family Apple ID that no person uses for any individual devices?

    My wife uses her own Apple ID ok her watch but the family ID on the iPad used by everyone.

    • Hi Kevin,

      Yes, we also find this a problem when using Apple Fitness+ with our family members.

      What we are hoping is that Apple allows a family’s multiple Apple IDs to be used with Fitness+ similar to the current way Apple IDs work on Apple TVs via the Home App.

      By setting up the Home app and inviting other family members, you can now add multiple users at the same time for a single Apple TV and customize it for each family member.

      If Apple adds this type of functionality to Fitness+, it would allow two or more users with different Apple IDs that are part of an Apple Family Sharing plan to use Apple Fitness+ on the same device.

      Let’s hope this feature comes out soon, perhaps with the new iOS/iPadOS later this year.

      Consider also sending your Fitness+ feedback to Apple directly via this site Apple Fitness+ user feedback

  4. Having followed the steps about logging out of Media and Purchases and then signing out of the ipad together, the fitness app now refuses to load my profile properly which it was doing before.

    Repeating the steps results in the same status.

    My account picture which was showing correctly when I first had the issue now shows as the default person icon, and when clicking has the correct account but cannot see any account details.

    Any idea on how to fix this now?

    • Hi Kit,

      Sorry to hear that your iPad isn’t recognizing your Apple Watch or showing your account details in the Fitness app. What a pain!

      First, close the Fitness app on your iPad by swiping up from the bottom of your screen until you see the app switcher and then swiping the Fitness app up to the top of the screen to close it.

      If you haven’t restarted your iPad and your Watch, do that in this order–restart your Watch, then once it’s restarted, restart your iPad.

      Before you restart your iPad, make sure that you are signed in with the same Apple ID used on your Watch on your iPad–paying particular attention to the Apple ID used in the App Store and for Media & Purchases.

      Once everything restarts, check if your Apple ID shows up in the Fitness app.

      If not, we recommend deleting the Fitness app on your iPad and reinstalling it via the App Store–this often gets things to work again!

  5. Tried everything listed and nothing is working, we are going to try these next but a few things to check and try is:

    Make sure the watch is up to date, sometimes it does not automatically install, next is to try uninstalling the watch from phone and re-add it and see if this works.

    I didn’t have an issue but gf is and the only thing different is that I had to re-add the watch when I got a new phone.

    Hope this helps

  6. Thank You! I followed the steps down to the end and that finally did the trick! A tip for others and perhaps to update the article, if you have an image associated with your Apple ID and that does NOT show up in the Fitness+ app, it is a good indicator that everything is not sync’d and sharing correctly. Also, I had to re-enable “Media & Purchase” after signing out and then back into my iCloud account on my iPad Pro. The prompt to do that was when I was unable to sign into my iCloud account from within the Apple Fitness+ app on my iPad. Thanks Again!


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