How to Enable (or Disable) Motion & Fitness Tracking with iPhone
Newer iPhones have the ability to track fitness activity and motion and displaying that data in Health app and other applications. Fitness tracking is done by using a low-power motion coprocessor that determines steps, altitude gain and lost, and distance traveled, and many users like this feature as it represents an easy way to keep an eye on their activity levels, and perhaps work towards that goal of an active 10,000+ steps per day.
Fitness tracking is turned on by default in iOS, which can enable the iPhone to serve as a pedometer of sorts, but if for some reason you want to turn the motion detection feature off on your iPhone, you can do that too.
How to Toggle Fitness & Activity Tracking On or Off with iPhone
If you like the fitness and motion activity tracking feature on the iPhone, you should have this setting left on. Turning this off will empty the Health app dashboard of tracked fitness data as well.
- Open the “Settings” app on iPhone and head to “Privacy”
- Scroll down and choose “Motion & Fitness”
- Toggle the switch next to “Fitness Tracking” to the OFF or ON position as desired
- Exit out of Settings, the change will take effect immediately
If you had this off and turned it on, you’ll still need to enable the appropriate options within Health Dashboard to actually see and monitor your activity data on a meaningful graph.
Keep in mind this disables the tracking feature entirely for all apps on iPhone, not just within Health app. If you turn this off, the pedometer feature and all related fitness activity monitoring functions on iPhone will cease, whether you read that data in Health or a third party app.
Disabling fitness tracking leads to an empty Health app dashboard, but not for erroneous reasons that can be quickly resolved, since the tracking is actually turned off. To reverse that, you’d obviously need to turn the feature back on again, but all fitness data and activity prior to turning tracking back on will not be available.
Personally, I recommend keeping this feature turned on and referring to it. This can serves as an easy reminder to move around more, which is particularly important in our modern era of predominately sedentary desk environments for work. Since undoubtedly many are curious about their activity levels, a sports medicine study published on NIH provides the following step counts and the activity level they represent, based on pedometer data:
- Under 5000 steps per day – “sedentary lifestyle”
- 5000-7499 steps per day – “low active”
- 7500-9999 steps per day – “somewhat active”
- 10,000-12499 steps per day – “active”
- Over 12500 steps per day – “highly active”
Discovering your own fitness activity levels based on data from your iPhone can be somewhat shocking – either pleasantly or not – and it’s fairly common for many people who don’t think of themselves as sedentary to discover they barely move around throughout the day. If that’s something you want to change, and you probably should, PBS provides some advice on how to slowly increase your activity levels to get there. That an iPhone (or Apple Watch, or both) can help you in that endeavor is a nice bonus.