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Is Apple Watch activity not syncing with iPhone? Let’s fix it

Activity rings on Apple Watch

Apple Watch’s activity tracker is one of the device’s most popular features, especially for active users. Recently, some users have noticed that their Apple Watch activity is not syncing with their iPhones.

While it can be just a delay in syncing or Apple Watch not registering their information, this is not always the case. Some users have noticed that their activity data has stopped updating altogether.

Whether your Apple Watch activity data is taking a long time to sync or not syncing at all, we have some tips on resolving this bug.

Suggested reading:

Toggle your Apple Watch’s Bluetooth and WiFi off and on

Check if you see that your watch is not connecting to your paired iPhone via Control Center.

To access the control center on your Apple Watch, go to your watch face and swipe up. Or, if you’re using an app, touch and hold the bottom of the screen until you see a gray bar at the bottom, then swipe up. Access control center on Apple Watch when using an app

When your watch disconnects from its paired iPhone, you see a red x icon at the top of your watch face or a red iPhone icon when you open Control Center. If connected, you see a green phone icon.Apple Watch disconnected and connected to paired iPhone

To reconnect your watch and phone

  • Bring your Apple Watch and paired iPhone close together, and then try pinging your watch via the Ping feature in Control Center. Apple Watch ping iPhone
  • Verify that Airplane Mode is off on both your watch and phone.
  • Toggle off WiFi on your watch using Control Center (or the Settings app > WiFi), wait a few moments, and then toggle it back on. Apple Watch turn WiFi off and back on with Control Center
  • Toggle off Bluetooth on your watch via the Settings app > Bluetooth. Scroll down, toggle Bluetooth off, wait a few moments, and toggle it back on. Apple Watch toggle Bluetooth off and on
  • Restart both your watch and your phone. Start with the phone, then restart your watch.

When your Apple Watch successfully connects to your phone, you see a green phone icon at the top of your home screen and when you open Control Center. 

Edit your move goal

Increase Apple watch move calories

Some users noticed that when they edited their move goal on their Apple Watch, their data would sync to their iPhone again. While this isn’t a permanent fix to the bug, it is a great workaround.

  1. To edit your move goal, open the Activity app on your Apple Watch and scroll down to the bottom.
  2. Click on Change Goals.
  3. From there, you can edit your Move, Exercise, and Stand goals. Adjust the numbers to your preference and tap Next until you get to Finish.

Toggle Airplane Mode

apple watch airplane mode

Whenever any of your devices have issues with their service or Bluetooth connections, toggling Airplane Mode can help. Since Airplane Mode halts the transmission of the devices, it can help restart the service.

So if your Apple Watch activity is having an issue syncing with your iPhone, toggling Airplane Mode on both devices can help the connection.

  • To turn on Airplane Mode on your Apple Watch, swipe up to get the Apple Watch Control Panel. Scroll down to the airplane icon.
  • Tap it once to turn it on. It lights up orange once it is on. Then after a second or two, tap the airplane icon again to turn it off.

You can also turn on Airplane Mode from the Settings app on the Apple Watch. Go to Settings and scroll down to Airplane Mode. Then toggle the switch.

Turning on Airplane Mode on your iPhone is very similar. You can turn it on from the Control Panel or the Settings app.

  • To bring up your iPhone’s Control Panel, swipe down on the right side of the device and tap on the airplane icon.
  • In the settings app, just open it, and Airplane Mode is the first setting option to appear on the list.

Force quit activity app

apple watch force quit

Force quitting the app is the best thing to do whenever you experience issues with any apps on any device. Most of the time, when we exit apps on our devices, they are still running in the background.

When you force quit an app, the app fully closes, and your device exits it. And this gives you the chance to restart it.

  • To force quit an app on your Apple Watch, press down on the side button. This brings up every app currently running on your Apple Watch.
  • Swipe the app to the left, and a giant red X appears. Tap the X, and the app force quits. apple watch force close activity app

Once you force quit the app, relaunch it, and it should refresh your activity data.

Restart Apple Watch and iPhone

Sometimes restarting your devices can do the trick whenever you are experiencing any technical glitch or issue.

To restart your Apple Watch hold down the side button and slide the power off button. Restart by powering off Apple Watch or shut Apple Watch down

Hold down the power and volume buttons until the slide to power off appears on the screen of your iPhone. slide to power off your iPhone

When restarting your Apple Watch or iPhone, you should turn your device off for a minute or two and then turn it back on. After restarting your devices, try updating them again.

If a normal restart didn’t work, try force restarting your watch.

Check for software update

iPhone watch app software update

Glitches can happen when your devices are not up to date. So check and see if your devices installed the latest software update. 

  • To check on your Apple Watch, tap on the Settings app. Then scroll down to General and tap it. Then select Software Update. If an update is available, go ahead and do that. software update for Apple Watch
  • You can also update your Apple Watch from your iPhone. Open your Watch app and click on General, then select Software Update. If an update is available, go ahead and proceed. 

To update your iPhone, go to the Settings App. Sometimes, a banner appears at the top that says Software Update Available. You can click on that, and it automatically takes you to update your phone.

If it does not appear, you can still check by scrolling down to General and tapping on Software Update.

If there’s an available update, click on Download and Install, then follow the onscreen instructions to complete the update.

Reset sync data

apple watch reset sync data

If your Apple Watch and iPhone still are not syncing at all, then it may be time to reset your Apple Watch’s sync data.

You can do this by going to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and selecting General. Scroll down to Reset and tap it. Then you’re going to watch to click on Reset Sync Data.

It is important to note that by doing this, the Contacts and Calendar data on your Apple Watch is deleted. But it should come back once you re-sync your device.

Unpair and re-pair Apple Watch

unpair apple watch iPhone

If you’re still having issues, you should try unpairing your Apple Watch from your iPhone and then pair it again.

Go to the Watch app and select All Watches to unpair your Apple Watch. Tap on the information icon next to your watch. Then you click on Unpair Apple Watch.

After that, you’re going to want to pair it with your iPhone again. While this trick does work., it is also just a temporary fix. Sometimes the issue can reoccur.

Backup iPhone and reset iPhone iCloud Backup Now

If none of these other tips worked, then as a last resort, you may need to back up your iPhone and reset it. You can back up your iPhone via iCloud or your computer.

To back up your device with iCloud, go to the Settings app and tap on your Apple ID information. Then click on iCloud, and scroll down to iCloud Backup. Select it and choose Back Up Now or turn it on if it is not already. 

To back up from your computer, plug in your iPhone. If you have an iMac or MacBook, you can back up your iPhone directly from Finder.

If you have a different kind of computer or run an older version of macOS or OS X on your Mac, you need iTunes to back your iPhone up from there.

Once a backup is complete and saved, go to the Settings app. Select General and scroll down to Transfer or Reset iPhone. transfer or reset iPhone in Settings app

Tap that, then click on Erase All Content and Settings. Once you do that, your iPhone restarts as a brand-new device. erase all content and settings on iPhone in transfer and reset option settings

Then you are going to need to set up your iPhone and your Apple Watch again. This can be a hassle, which is why we recommend this as a last resort.

Final Thoughts iOS 14+ Fitness app widget on home screen

From what it sounds like, many Apple Watch users are experiencing this issue consistently. So until Apple resolves this issue, you may have to perform these troubleshooting techniques often.

If you experience this issue often, here’s a pro tip you can follow. You can add a fitness widget on your iPhone to keep a closer eye on the issue. That way, you won’t lose more of your health data!

  • If you want to make a widget, all you have to do is press down on your iPhone screen, and a plus sign appears in the top left-hand corner.
  • Press the plus sign, and the widget menu appears.
  • Then add the Fitness widget to your home screen. Scroll left and right to choose your size options for the Fitness widget.Add the fitness app widget to your iPhone

Have you experienced this issue? Let us know what worked for you!

I'm a content writer with a passion for all things lifestyle having earned my Bachelor of Science in journalism from St. John's University. I was born and raised in Southern California. My Apple Watch never leaves my wrist, but I also adore Fitbit. I love all things health tech, including fitness and self-care apps. When I'm not writing, I enjoy traveling, reading, and drinking iced coffee!

4 COMMENTS

  1. I noticed my activity on my phone wasn’t showing my progress at all for at least half the day.

    There was also the red phone icon lit up at the top of the watch face and greyed out phone icon on the menu of my watch, so I couldn’t ping my phone on my watch.

    Nothing was working, as far as turning both units on and off, or toggling airplane mode on both.

    The reset sync data didn’t seem to be working on my phone either.

    Finally, what worked was I went to my watch’s settings, toggled Bluetooth and wifi on and off did the same on my phone.

    The red phone icon disappeared at the top of my watch face and sure enough, my phone synced up immediately on my activity app.

    I was able to now ping my iPhone 7 with my apple watch.

    I also went ahead and hit the water lock as well just to be sure. Everything seems to be fine now. I was mainly concerned with keeping track of both units of my activity.

    • Hi Pic,

      To access the control center on your Apple Watch, go to your watch face and swipe up. When inside an app, touch and hold the bottom of the screen until you see a gray bar at the bottom, then swipe up.

      You can’t access Control Center directly from the Home Screen, so press the watch’s Digital Crown to go to your watch face or open an app and then open Control Center following the above directions.

  2. I just updated to the pro max 14. I just realized all my health/fitness data from April and May 2022 is gone.. With further investigation I found that everything from November 2021 back to June2020 is gone.

    Now… saying that I am sure those out there say yeah right she didn’t really have all completed Activity Rings for all of that time period. Amazingly I still have every badge. Every perfect month. So part of the software is picking up. But where is the rest of my data?

    I spent one hour today on a phone call with Apple support. The lady was very kind but told me sorry nothing could be done. Said for me to pay closer attention to my updates and backups. I am crazy diligent.. AND part of the info is there or it would not give me completed badges for every month fromJune 2020 until the present time, not missing one.

    I worked thru the above scenario and it didn’t help. Would love some input

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