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iOS Health and AW6 Activity: Steps way out of sync

tugger

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 14, 2005
198
32
iPhone XR (14.0.1) / Apple Watch 6 (7.0.2)

I'm a brand new to AW. My primary physical activity is brisk walking which I do for about an hour per day and have been using the iOS Health app for months to count steps. The Health app is also used by my health insurance app as the data source for step count (for $ rewards). With the AW since last week I've used the Workout app for my walks and the Activity app keeps track of steps. However, the step counts in the Activity app are way out of sync with the iOS Health app. As an example, at the end of yesterday the step count in the Health app was approx 11,500 and in the Activity app it was around 12,300. I made absolutely sure that I was wearing the watch and that the phone was in my pocket for the entire day. So, why the discrepancy and is there a way to get the two apps in closer agreement on the step count?

I've read a bunch of stuff about problems with syncing the phone and watch and have checked all relevant suggested settings. Beyond this it seems that Apple's solution is to un-pair and then back-up and restore both the phone and watch and then pair them again. I'm loathe to do this not only because I've seen a number of reports that this long procedure doesn't fix the problem, but also because I don't want to lose any of the step count data in my Health app because it's the only evidence I have to document physical activity for my health insurance app. If I didn't have to worry about the latter I'd be more than willing to dive into Apple's suggested fix.

As an aside, am I alone in thinking that there are too damn many apps to track activity (Health & Fitness in iOS, Activity, Workout in WatchOS) and a whole bunch of settings for each of them? I guess I'm just a bit confused by the complexity when it might be so much more streamlined and simple and, most importantly, a bit more accurate?

Thanks.
 
Last edited:

michsu

macrumors member
Oct 23, 2019
66
70
Don’t let the phone read the steps. The health app counts both watch and iPhone and other sources. Sometimes different apps count multiple, and your numbers could be multiplied too.
 
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tugger

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 14, 2005
198
32
Update: Found the problem and my phone and AW are now syncing perfectly. I didn't realize that the AW has to be set as the priority data source for individual Activities in the Health app. For anyone else who doesn't yet know how to do it:

This assumes that you've already paired your phone and AW.

1. Open Health app (iPhone)
2. At bottom select "Browse"
3. Select Activity
4. Select Steps (or any other of the individual Activities)
5. Scroll to bottom - select Data Sources and Access
6. Scroll to bottom - make sure your AW is first in the list. If not, select "Edit" at top of screen, then touch and hold the horizontal bars at the right of the AW listing and drag it to the top of the list.

Repeat (steps 4-6) for any other Activities (e.g., Walking & Running Distance) for which you want to set the AW as the data source, i.e. confirm that the AW is at the top of the list

7. At bottom select "Summary." The Step count is on this page.

8. Open the Activity app (AW)
Scroll down to where Steps are displayed.

As you walk keep an eye on the AW and your phone. The counts will stay pretty close to one another as the phone updates to the AW count. Shortly after you terminate the exercise, the number on the phone should sync near identically with the AW count.
 
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