Samsung Galaxy Watch not counting steps and activity or is inaccurate? Let’s fix it!

no or zero activity and steps on Samsung Watch

Is your Samsung Galaxy Watch not detecting your steps, floors, or activity or shows a count that you know isn’t accurate? It’s really frustrating to put your all into a workout only to see a count of 0 at the end of your workout!

While all Samsung Watches use the Samsung Health app, owners of the latest models like the Galaxy Watch 4 Series that run on Wear OS3 can also use Google Fit to track activity, including steps, distance, floors, and more.

Before troubleshooting your Galaxy watch, check the following:

  1. Update your watch’s software and Samsung Health app (or preferred app) so that they are up-to-date.
  2. Restart both your watch and your phone. For your watch, press and hold the Home/Power and Back buttons simultaneously for 7 seconds until you see “Rebooting…” on the watch screen.
  3. Clean your watch, particularly the back of your watch to make sure there isn’t any dirt, debris, or grease impacting your watch’s sensors.
  4. Turn water lock on and off to remove any trapped water that might block the atmospheric pressure sensor’s vent.
  5. Make sure you move your arms and hands when working out, particularly the arm with the watch.
    1. Some watches do not detect steps when you don’t move your hands while working out. For example, if you walk while pushing a stroller, the watch may not accurately calculate your steps and activity.
    2. Similarly, your watch might not count flights when carrying something in your arms because your hands are not moving. 
  6. Limit looking at your watch when working out. The accelerometer may not properly measure your activity if you frequently raise your wrist to look at your watch.
  7. Verify you added your height and weight to Samsung Health or your preferred app.

Check your permissions

To accurately count your activity, Samsung Health or your preferred app needs access to your watch’s sensors. So make sure that you’ve provided that permission.

  1. On your watch, go to the Settings app and choose Apps.
  2. Scroll down to Permissions. permissions for apps on Samsung Galaxy Watch in Settings app
  3. Choose Samsung Health or your preferred app. Samsung Health app permissions on watch
  4. Allow the app access to the Sensors. Samsung Health app allow access to sensors on Samsung Watch
  5. Go back and look for Physical activity and give it access.
    1. Not all Samsung watches have this option. allow physical activity access on Samsung watch
  6. Return to the Apps > Permissions and choose Health Services.
    1. Not all Samsung watch models have this option. allow Health Services access to Samsung Watch sensors and activity
  7. Allow Health Services access to Physical activity and Sensors. Samsung galaxy watch allow health services access to sensors and physical activity

For Wear OS3 watches like the Galaxy Watch 4, also check the permission settings for sharing data with devices and services

  1. Open Samsung Health and choose Settings at the bottom. Samsung Health app Settings on Galaxy Watch
  2. Scroll down and tap Share data with devices and services. share data and services from Samsung Health watch app
  3. Select Health Platform. Health Platform in Samsung Health app Connected services
  4. For Data permissions, turn on Allow all or scroll down and choose which data you allow Samsung Health to receive and send. Data permissions for Samsung Health app settings
  5. Scroll all the way down and tap Done.

For Google Fit on Samsung watches

  • If you use Google Fit, open the Activity Goal, Breathe, or Heart Rate Fit apps, scroll to the bottom, and tap Settings. Settings for Google Fit app
  • Scroll down and tap Track physical activity and Use body sensors. Settings for Google fit on watch
  • Toggle both are on. track physical activity and body sensors in Google Fit app for watches

Continuously measure your heart rate Measure heart rate on Samsung Health app on Samsung Galaxy Watch

To get the most accurate activity data, make sure Samsung Health’s app measures your heart rate continuously rather than every 10 minutes.

  • For Wear OS 3 watches like the Galaxy Watch4, open Samsung Health on your watch. Scroll down and tap Settings. Tap Heart rate and choose Measure continuously.
  • For Tizen watches like the Galaxy Watch 3, open Samsung Health and choose Settings at the bottom. Tap HR and stress measurement. Choose Measure continuously.
  • For Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Fit2, use the Galaxy Wearable app and tap Health settings > Auto heart rate settings.
  • For Gear Fit2 and Fit2 Pro, press the power button and swipe to and tap Auto HR.

Disable Samsung Health’s automatic workout detection

Although the workout detection feature should help track your steps and other activity, some people tell us that turning it off actually helped their watch count their steps and activity.

For most watches, you change this in the app’s Settings, although. You change this via the Galaxy Wearable app for some models, like the Galaxy Fit.

  • On the watch, open Samsung Health. Scroll down and tap Settings. Scroll down to Auto-detect workouts or Workout detection.
    • Turn off or tap Activities to detect (for some watch models.)
    • You can turn off all activities on the Galaxy Watch 4 series or toggle off individual exercises. Samsung Galaxy watch turn off auto detect for workouts and activities
    • Turn off the activities you don’t want to auto-detect on older models. People recommend toggling off Elliptical trainer and Rowing. Samsung Health app on Samsung Galaxy Watch running Tizen turn off auto detect activities
  • For the Wearable app, tap Watch Settings > Samsung Health and toggle off Activities to detect. For the Galaxy Fit, tap Health settings and then tap Workout detection.

Set a step count target in the Samsung Health app

  1. Open Samsung Health on your watch or phone, and choose Steps. Samsung Health app steps show zero
  2. On the phone, tap the More button (three vertical dots.) On the watch, scroll down to the bottom. Samsung watch set step target
  3. Choose Set target and choose a number you’d like to establish as your daily count. Tap Done on the watch to save your target. Samsung Health app on Samsung Galaxy Watch step count target number

On Tizen watches, like the Galaxy Watch 3, repeat for Floors and set a floor target. You cannot set a floor target on Wear OS3 watches.

Set targets on Google Fit

  • To customize your goal, use Google Fit on your paired phone. Using your watch. Open Google Fit on your watch. Scroll down and choose Settings > Activity goals > and tap the Steps count to change it. Select an available option. activity goals on Google Fit watch app
  • Using your phone. Open Google Fit on your phone. Tap the Profile icon at the bottom and change your Activity goals. Google Fit customize activity goals using phone app

Clear Samsung Health app’s (or your preferred app’s) cache 

Your cache holds temporary files, which can cause many problems with the Samsung Health app accurately registering your steps and activity.

To clear Samsung Health’s cache on your paired phone, go to Settings > Apps > Samsung Health > Storage & cache > Clear cache. Android clear cache for Samsung Health app

Repeat for the Galaxy Wearable app and clear its cache too. 

Once cleared, put on your watch and go for a short walk, preferably with your arms freely swinging (some Samsung watches only count steps when your hand moves.)

Check your watch face or the Samsung Health app (Google Fit or whatever app you use) to see if it updates your steps.

Is your watch face not showing your step or activity count, or isn’t a correct count? Change your watch face change watch face in Samsung Wearable app

If the problem is that your watch face count does not match the count in Samsung Health (or your preferred app,) try changing your watch face to a default Samsung watch face.

Make sure you allow that new watch face access to body sensors and other requested data from your watch and see if that correctly shows your steps or other activity metrics. allow Samsung watch face access to watch sensors and data

If so, the problem is the watch face, not the watch. Try uninstalling the watch face you want to use and reinstall it.

For folks using third-party apps on a Wear OS3 watch like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, many of these watch faces pull your step, floor, and activity counts from Google fit. 

So, make sure Google fit is installed on your watch and phone and check that you give Fit permission to your watch’s Physical activity and Sensors.

  1. On your watch, go to the Settings app and choose Apps.
  2. Scroll down to Permissions. Samsung watch Google Fit permissions
  3. Choose Fit.
  4. Allow access to Physical activity and Sensors. We also recommend allowing access to Location and Receive complication data. 

Is Samsung Health not showing your step count on your phone?

If your watch shows your step and activity information, but it’s not showing up in the Samsung Health app on your phone, you likely set the app to show only steps you made with your phone and not your watch.

Verify Samsung Health counts your watch’s activity

  1. Open Samsung Health on your phone and tap Steps.
  2. Select the More button (three verticle dots) at the top of your screen.
  3. Choose Select step data to show. Samsung Health app select data to show for step count
  4. Make sure you choose All steps, not mobile phone. Show all steps in Samsung Health app

Test your watch, reset, and if necessary, get support

If you still have step or activity tracking issues, run a walking test.

Walk at least 50 continuous steps on a straight path. Walk naturally without looking at your watch or raising your shoulders, elbow, or wrist.

After 50 steps, stop and check if your watch recognized those steps correctly. Samsung Galaxy watch walking test

If not, try resetting your watch back to its factory defaults. You can do this on the watch or using the Wearable app.

Use your watch to reset your watch

  1. Go to Settings > General > Reset.
    1. Optional: choose Back up data and follow the steps on your phone.
  2. Tap Reset. Samsung Galaxy Watch reset
  3. Wait for your watch to complete the Reset process, then connect to a backup, if desired.

Use the Galaxy Wearable app to reset your watch

  1. Open the Wearable app and choose Watch Settings. You skip this step on some watch models.
  2. Go to General > Reset and confirm. Samsung Galaxy Wearable app reset watch
  3. Wait for your watch to complete the Reset process, then connect to a backup, if desired.
If it does not recognize those steps, contact Samsung customer support. You can visit a Samsung walk-in customer service center, or you can schedule a review and repair online.
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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