Odd - Apple Watch counts driving as movement for Activity log

sbuntin

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 2, 2011
158
56
Portland OR
Today, I drove to Blaine WA and back - about 560 miles or so total, 10-11 hours on the road. Really, the only exercise I got was stretching at the roadside rest stops.

Apple Watch correctly counted exercise as 0 minutes. However, it did count 'movement' while driving, to the tune of 999 calories by the time I returned. Here's a screenshot from mid-afternoon, at the halfway point.

I did have the phone with me, so I'm not sure which one was picking up on the movement in the car. I think the algorithm needs to discard any movement detected at freeway speeds.

IMG_6157.jpg
 

Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
13,074
5,173
Could it be picking up the movement of your hands on the steering wheel?

I don't drive, and when I'm a passenger in a car, the watch never credits me with any movement.
 

drewfus

macrumors 6502
Jul 3, 2006
272
59
Evanston, IL
I just had a similar experience. I actually took my watch off and it was sitting on my passenger seat during my drive from Bloomington, IL to Chicago, and it credited me with 34 minutes of activity. My phone was docked on my dashboard. Very weird...hopefully that gets fixed.
 

gsmornot

macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2014
3,249
2,802
I'm not sure anything could be done with the exception of looking at the GPS and seeing how fast your moving. If your wheel shakes or vibrates (normal) and you hold the wheel with your watch hand it will move enough to register movement. Mine has not, so far, been an issue but I have had it on my mind since others have mentioned it before.
 

WilliamG

macrumors G3
Mar 29, 2008
9,100
2,557
Seattle
This is, unfortunately, a normal side-effect of the technology. My FitBit One also counts driving as walking, and it's ESPECIALLY bad in Seattle in counting steps since the roads are crap here. The Apple Watch isn't as bad as the FitBit, but it still registers a lot of steps when I've just been in my car. Nothing so annoying as being told I've met my movement calories for the day when I'm just driving along...
 

Craiger

macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2007
839
216
I'm not sure anything could be done with the exception of looking at the GPS and seeing how fast your moving. If your wheel shakes or vibrates (normal) and you hold the wheel with your watch hand it will move enough to register movement. Mine has not, so far, been an issue but I have had it on my mind since others have mentioned it before.
This really shouldn't be much to ask from Apple though. The whole idea of the M7 is that it is always taking measurements in the background. It seems this issue points to the fact that Apple did not do a good job combining data from the attached phone. When you put the phone and watch data together, it is very obvious to see that he is driving with almost no impact to battery life.
 
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gsmornot

macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2014
3,249
2,802
This really shouldn't be much to ask from Apple though. The whole idea of the M7 is that it is always taking measurements in the background. It seems this issue points to the fact that Apple did not do a good job combining data from the attached phone. When you put the phone and watch data together, it is very obvious to see that he is driving with almost no impact to battery life.
Agree. One other thing my phone does (off topic a little) is count steps as I ride my bike. I will get home and have "climbed" 25-50 flights of stairs. All I did in reality is ride up and down hills. The phone counts elevation change as flights of stairs in 10ft increments. It should know by how fast I'm moving that I'm not walking and certainly not climbing steps at 20+ MPH. I was hoping this would stop once I tracked workouts with the watch but it continues. My watch knows I'm doing a cycling workout but the step count has a mind of its own. On top of that it wont give me credit for standing in the same time period it thought I was climbing. Ha. It's imperfect but I still wouldn't trade it.
 

wlossw

macrumors 65816
May 9, 2012
1,061
953
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Today, I drove to Blaine WA and back - about 560 miles or so total, 10-11 hours on the road. Really, the only exercise I got was stretching at the roadside rest stops.

Apple Watch correctly counted exercise as 0 minutes. However, it did count 'movement' while driving, to the tune of 999 calories by the time I returned. Here's a screenshot from mid-afternoon, at the halfway point.

I did have the phone with me, so I'm not sure which one was picking up on the movement in the car. I think the algorithm needs to discard any movement detected at freeway speeds.

View attachment 557374
I've had a similar problem with my Fitbit one... I sometimes drive an f350 equipped with a snowplow in the winter, and during 8hrs siting on my butt, the Fitbit will count upwards of 10,000 steps... I think it's just a weakness of pedometer tech in general... and my Fitbit isn't on my arm...
 

iwayne

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2011
301
76
Santa Clara, California
My apple watch did the same nonsense. I drove 15hrs from the Bay Area to Vancouver only stopping for gas and somehow I met my "active calories goal" This watch is really getting annoying with its fake fitness monitoring
 
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forfelix

macrumors newbie
Sep 12, 2008
8
0
I have a similar but slightly different issue. I'm currently traveling via tour bus at night, and while my watch is charging it records the movement of the bus as movement activity. Shouldn't the watch NOT be tracking movement when charging or not being worn? Thought I could bypass this by turning it off the charge, but this also cannot be done. Any ideas? Or just hope for a software update?
 

oftheheavens

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2008
1,986
498
cherry point
same thing happened to me when i was wheeling in the mountains of PA. I thought my truck did all the work and rock climbing but the watch says it was me. If the watch is right I wonder how rednecks get so fat if you burn that many calories off roading.
 

sbuntin

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 2, 2011
158
56
Portland OR
It's perfectly logical for it to be counting vibrations and steering wheel movement as movement, except that when the phone is also present, it has access to GPS info. The software that massages the sensor data into exercise/movement results should be able to use the GPS data to determine something along the lines of "Hey, this person probably isn't exercising at 70mph. Let's not count this".

Alternatively, an option to retroactively mark activities as non-exercise (which exists in some apps that use the exact same sensor data) would be quite useful.
 
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GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
8,717
12,424
Could it be picking up the movement of your hands on the steering wheel?

I don't drive, and when I'm a passenger in a car, the watch never credits me with any movement.
I only drive the kids around, otherwise I'm usually a passenger, too. I get credited for movement as a passenger. I even get credited as a bus passenger.
 
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