Why is my Apple Watch not counting my walks or jogs as exercise minutes in the Activity Ring?

Activity rings on Apple Watch

Have you noticed that your Apple Watch is not counting walks as exercise minutes in the Apple Activity app? You’re not alone. 

Many users have noticed that after they took a nice walk outside, that workout did not count toward their daily activity — and that is super frustrating!

Apple even has outdoor walk and indoor walk options for their Apple Workout app on the Apple Watch! So why doesn’t Apple count some walk workouts as exercise minutes?

Keep reading to learn why and how you can ensure your walk workouts count towards your Apple Watch exercise ring. 

Suggested reading:

Why doesn’t Apple count some workouts as exercise minutes? Activity app Apple watch all metrics

Apple may not count some of your walk workouts as exercise minutes because you’re not meeting Apple’s exercise requirement. 

What is Apple’s exercise requirement?

Apple’s requirements for exercise minutes are a little tricky to measure.  

Typically Apple counts anything more than a “brisk walk” as exercise minutes, but what does a brisk walk exactly entail?

To Apple, a brisk walk has two qualities:

  • You must walk at least 3.3 mph for one minute to receive one exercise minute.
  • Your heart rate must be raised to a certain level, typically 75% of your max.

Also, if you slow down or pause during the walk, Apple does not give you credit for those breaks. 

While this can be absolutely infuriating for some users, there are some tricks around this to ensure you get the credit you deserve!

How to make sure you get credit for your exercise minutes

There are many things you can do to guarantee you get all of your activity ring credit! 

Turn on Wrist Detection

Wrist detection for apple watch in iPhone Watch app

Wrist Detection lets your Apple Watch know that you’re wearing the device.

If this setting isn’t turned on, that can be a major reason why you’re not getting credit for your activity ring goals. 

You can enable Wrist Detection directly from your Apple Watch or in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.wrist detection apple watch settings app

Wrist Detection automatically locks your Apple Watch when you’re not wearing it.

  • On your Apple Watch, go to the Settings app and scroll down to Passcode.
  • Scroll down to Wrist Detection and make sure it is on. The button is green if it is on. If it is not, just tap it to toggle the switch.
  • Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and scroll down to Passcode. Wrist Detection is at the bottom of the list. If it’s not on, toggle the switch to turn it on. 

Update your personal information

update your weight in the iPhone health app

Apple uses your personal information, like height and weight, to measure your health data most accurately.

If this information has changed, your best bet is to update it in the Health app. 

Make sure your Apple Watch fits properly

man wearing Apple Watch

If your Apple Watch is too tight or too loose, that can be a reason why you’re not getting your exercise minutes. Make sure your Apple Watch fits comfortably around your wrist!

Swing your arm naturally when walking

Sometimes users notice when they’re walking and pushing a cart or stroller that their Apple Watch doesn’t register that they are walking. 

When taking a walk, you want to ensure your arm can naturally swing and move during your workout. 

Check if your Apple Watch is in Power Reserve mode power reserve mode Apple Watch

Power Reserve is valuable when your Apple Watch battery is running low, but it is not so great when you want to actively use your Apple Watch. 

When in this power-saving mode, your Apple Watch does not record any information. It only shows the time and battery level. 

So if you do a workout while your watch is on Power Reserve, that can be a big reason why you’re not recording any exercise minutes. 

Check settings

location services settings

If you do not have Location Services and Motion Calibration & Distance turned on, that could be why your Apple Watch isn’t tracking your exercise minutes.

  1. On your iPhone, open the Settings app
  2. Tap Privacy and then select Location Services.
  3. Make sure that Location Services is turned on!
  4. Then scroll down to System Services to ensure that Motion Calibration & Distance is also turned on. iPhone system services for motion calibration and distance settings in location services

Use an Apple Watch Workout when walking

If you’re not getting activity ring credit when you take a walk, try using one of the Apple Watch’s workouts to record the exercise data.

Apple has several options for walking workouts like Outdoor Walk, Indoor Walk, and Hiking. 

If you use Apple Workouts while walking and are still not getting any credit towards your exercise goal, try another workout option, like Other.  

Calibrate Apple Watch 

Outdoor Walk on Apple Watch Workout app

Calibrating your Apple Watch is an excellent way for your watch to understand your workout patterns and learn more about your fitness habits. 

  • To do so, open the Workout app on your Apple Watch.
  • Select either outdoor walking or outdoor running workout.
  • Then at your pace, walk or run for 20 minutes. Once you’re done, end the workout. 

If you’ve done this before and your Apple Watch is still not recording any exercise minutes, you can reset the calibration data. 

Reset Apple Watch Calibration

  • To reset your Apple Watch’s calibration data, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  • Scroll down to Privacy and select Reset Fitness Calibration Data
  • Once you do that, try to calibrate your smartwatch again. 

Final thoughts

Not getting credit for your activity rings is super frustrating! It’s happened to me plenty of times too.

For me, what works best is using an Apple Watch workout. I also have my watch announce when I close my exercise ring to know when I reach my goal. 

How do you make sure you close your activity rings? Let us know your tips and tricks!

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!

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