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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Shortly after the release of iOS 14 and watchOS 7, many users ran into problems with their iPhone and Apple Watch.


Multiple online support threads including our own found GPS data was not being properly recorded during activities. The issue appeared to affect all models of Apple Watches.
In the majority of cases, users record a workout on their watch while leaving their iPhone at home, but when they later look at the Activity app it only shows the workout's starting point on the GPS map, and nothing else.
In addition, some users have been reporting excess battery drain of their Apple Watch, iPhone or both under iOS 14 and watchOS 7. In the support threads, the unofficial fix seemed to be unpairing and restoring your Apple Watch. Jack Taylor from our forums reported resolving both issues with this method:
Both the GPS and severe battery drain issues on watchOS 7 were fixed for me simply by in-pairing and re-pairing my watch. Both issues resolved themselves immediately after as noted in many of the support groups
It appears that Apple has adopted this advice as the official solution to this problem. In a newly published support document titled If you're missing Workout GPS routes or Health data after updating to iOS 14 and watchOS 7, Apple writes that users may see the following issues after upgrading to iOS 14 and watchOS 7:
Possible Symptoms

  • Your workout route maps are missing in the Fitness app on iPhone for previous GPS-enabled workouts from your Apple Watch.
  • The Activity, Heart Rate, or other health-related apps fail to launch or load data on your Apple Watch.
  • The Fitness app or Health app fail to launch or load data on your iPhone.
  • The Health app or Fitness app is reporting an inaccurate amount of data storage on your iPhone.
  • The Activity app is reporting an inaccurate amount of data storage on your Apple Watch.
  • Your environmental sound levels data or headphone audio levels data from Apple Watch is missing in the Health app on iPhone.
  • Increased battery drain on your iPhone or Apple Watch.
If you are experiencing two or more of these symptoms, Apple suggests unpairing your Apple Watch, backing up both your iPhone and Apple Watch, wiping both devices and restoring from backup. Apple provides steps to accomplish these tasks in their support document which was published today.

Article Link: Apple Suggests Restoring iPhone and Apple Watch to Fix Excess Battery Drain or Missing GPS Data


Jan 10, 2012
This is horrible. Most people won't know how to do this or read Macrumors to find out to do this. They'll just notice the excessive battery drain and be unhappy about it. :/ Makes one wonder if an update wouldn't fix this because they put the time into suggesting people unpair/pair.

I've done this several times with my AW3 and AW5 and it does seem to help when I've had problems in the past.


macrumors member
Apr 23, 2015
I did this.

to be clear my issue was missing health data. My watch and activity app and even the rings summary in the health app would say a number of active cals, but the health app active cals would be about 1/3rd. Other data like steps and stuff would show similar patterns. Also heart rate data would not make it to the workout section in the activity app despite being in the watch end if without summation.

It fixed the issue moving forward but I lost all the missing health data between the iOS upgrade and this procedure... 1.5 weeks worth.

additionally, I lost my Apple Watch restore point. It simply wasn’t there despite unpairing properly. This might have been the main contributor to losing the data in between.

and since the watch backup was gone I had to set up the watch as a new one.

And then of course you have to go re-pair all your things and re login to all the apps that aren’t saved as part of the iCloud backup.
You have to set up Apple Pay and Face ID again.

and then you lose the apps that aren’t in the App Store anymore.


not a great user experience on that one. So decide long and hard how important this issue is before going down this path. That’s all.


macrumors member
Apr 23, 2015
I’d probably return my Apple Watch before going through this level of nonsense....

Come on Apple, that support doc is just embarrassing.

this happened on my existing watch. Nothing to return. So I either needed to do this or have inaccurate daily health readings. And since the health app is tied to other apps, it has a big downstream effect.


macrumors 68040
The solution involves having enough iCloud storage for an iPhone backup.

For being eco-friendly, it's a lot of wasted energy sending an entire iPhone backup to an Apple server then re-imaging a phone, when Apple could (you would think) fix a few lines of code.

This is why I am still with FitBit despite shortcomings. You log in anywhere, and it's all just there. I've had nothing but problems with the Apple Health app and have even gone up to the engineering level of support and never gotten answers regarding why I was never able to export my data. It was like a blackhole. Data went in and just stayed stuck there.

Edit: This will be good for Apple's services revenue, though!


macrumors newbie
Feb 13, 2008
Rockhampton, Australia
I was seeing terrible battery life in the single digits on my Apple Watch S4. After a restore the battery life is now as before or on some days even better than WatchOS 6. (Obvs this depends on your use case and settings etc)

Side note: I also disabled both the hand wash and the loud noise detection as I never found either that useful and the prior was also listed as a potential battery drain when looking for battery life fixes.

It also frees up HUGE amounts of space. I had nearly 2gb's of log files on my watch! All health data was maintained when I restored.


Sep 25, 2018
I had battery drain on my watch and did the unpair/re-pair - it was successful but a p.i.t.a. esp having to get Apple Pay setup again. And that's the solution Apple is suggesting now? and wiping the phone as well?? Wow ... that's a major p.i.t.a. and wasted time, guessing that's close to 2hrs ... I feel sorry for all those who are not geeks.


macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2016
The last version of WatchOS 6 ruined battery for me, then WatchOS 7 fixed it. Hearing this makes me realize my fix will only be temporary and there is a whole other world of Apple Watch they have no idea how it fully operates. It’s easy to forget smart watches are “new” technology and need years of refinement.


macrumors newbie
Sep 30, 2020
I actually wouldn’t recommend that, restored my S4 GPS, and it got bricked. Had to take it to the store to get it fixed. It couldn’t sync with my iPhone and it was showing my current face but when I unlocked it prompted me to the link-to-iPhone screen.


macrumors 6502a
Feb 21, 2011
The Activity, Heart Rate, or other health-related apps fail to launch or load data on your Apple Watch.
This happened to me when I updated to watchos 7 (no problem with ios14 beta and watchos 6). I re-paired my watch and everything worked fine. I did not have to set up as new. Also took less than an hour for everything including adding apple pay back.
You know what sucks about re-pairing? It lists the watch as a new watch under your Health data sources... so after years of doing this you'll be left with a huge list of Apple Watch sources without knowing which is which...
Exactly. I think I am up to 5 or 6 now...


macrumors member
Sep 30, 2020
Idiotic solution.

I tried unpairing my Apple Watch 2 and it somehow failed in the process, so it is now unpaired from my iPhone but can be used inside my home's WiFi. Bought a new Apple Watch 6 and realized the Workout app is stil broken, so I'm using Strava. Works as expected and syncs the data (minus the GPS part) to Apple Health.

Subpar QC.
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