How to Use the Pedometer on Apple Watch to Count Steps & Distance
The Apple Watch has numerous health and fitness related features including a heart rate monitor and built-in step counter, also known as a pedometer. While many users assume the pedometer feature must be accessed from the accompanying iPhone, which can also track steps and mileage on it’s own, there’s actually a separate pedometer feature bundled into the Apple Watch Activity app that is largely overlooked by users, accessible directly from your wrist any time.
If you want to see how many steps you’ve taken and the distance traveled while wearing an Apple Watch, you can quickly look at the step counter on the device without having to use the paired iPhone.
Accessing the Step Counter & Pedometer on Apple Watch
The Apple Watch pedometer feature that tracks total steps as well as total distance and calories used in that activity, here’s how to access it directly on the Watch:
- Open the Activity app on the Apple Watch (it’s the concentric multi-color circle icon)
- At the primary Activity screen, scroll down with the digital crown (the rotating dial on the side of the Apple Watch) to reveal the pedometer feature, you’ll see your step count under “Total Steps”
The Apple Watch pedometer will update the step count even if the paired iPhone is not in reach or unavailable, and the data will sync to the related iOS Health app when the iPhone is in range again.
In the screen shot examples below, the Apple Watch is deliberately disconnected from the paired iPhone but was worn taking a few steps, and you can see the Total Steps and Total Distance measurements increase as expected:
(not exactly a record breaking day of activity, but it was early morning!)
It’d be nice if the Apple Watch had a glance view or complication (the customized settings on the clock faces, complication is their name and not a problem) for the pedometer feature, but for now you can quickly access it from the Activity app.
For users who don’t have an Apple Watch, you can still track steps and mileage on the iPhone as well using the devices accelerometer, as long as the iPhone is with you while you’re walking around. Like the Apple Watch, the step counter is enabled by default on the iPhone but if you turned it off you can turn it back on again to track motion and fitness with the phone.
Apple Watch is a great accessory for active people and also for those looking to increase their activity, with hourly Stand Up reminders to help minimize sitting, various fitness and health tracking features, a heart rate monitor, calories burned estimator, and much more.