Problems calibrating Apple Watch workout app

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by Macwick, May 3, 2015.

  1. Macwick macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2008
    I run on a treadmill a lot, and I would like to be able to run with just my Apple Watch and bluetooth headphones.

    Before I got my Apple Watch, I ran with my iPhone 6 (on an armband or just in my hand) and it's accelerometer was able to track my distance with great accuracy (maybe off ~0.1 miles or so).

    I ran on the treadmill with my Apple Watch on day 1:

    Treadmill distance: 3.16 miles
    Apple Watch distance: 3.62 miles

    Then I read that it was best to 'calibrate' the watch by completing a dedicated 20 minute walk or run outdoors with the help of the iPhone's GPS. I did this today - walking 20 minutes outside. Then I ran on the treadmill again:

    Treadmill distance: 3.10 miles
    Apple Watch distance: 3.70 miles

    No better - in fact, a little worse! Has anyone else had this issue, and if so did you have any luck with calibration?

    BTW - I used two different treadmills, so I don't think the treadmills are the issue.

    Thanks in advance......
  2. Older bird macrumors regular

    Older bird

    Apr 26, 2015
    If the watch is accurate outside, I would lean toward that being the more correct of the two. My logic being that it measured your stride, cadence and distance with gps. I have no idea how treadmills are calibrated but I am pretty sure they wouldn't take into account different stride lengths and speeds
  3. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Did you say you walked outside, and ran on the treadmill? That won't help. You need to run outside so the watch can learn your pace while running. Also, it might take a few outside runs before you see any noticeable improvement.
  4. Macwick thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2008
    Since my initial post, I've performed several brisk 20 minute outside walks (Apple does say walks will help with overall calibration). More importantly, yesterday I completed a 2 mile, 20 minute outdoor run.

    I ran on the treadmill again today, and my usual run (3.16 miles) was recorded as 3.44 miles by my Apple Watch. This is an improvement from my first indoor run (which registered as 3.7 miles) but is still ~10% off.

    I will run a couple more times outside. I will say that my outside run was rather hilly, which may impact things.

    Here's what I don't understand - my Nike app allows me to adjust recorded runs in order to help it calibrate. I'm surprised the Activity app doesn't allow this? For example, I could tell it that the 3.44 mile run was actually 3.16 miles, and it would use that to adjust its measurement of my stride length.

    Anybody else have any tips on this?
  5. lchlch macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2015
    Did you use the workout app when your walking outside? It won't use gps unless you do that.
  6. Macwick thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2008
    Yes, in all these cases I used the workout app to track them as dedicated workouts.
  7. CamiMR macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2012
    I think you haven't mentioned it, but did you have Motion Calibration & Distance ON ( iPhone Settings, Privacy, Location Services, System Services) while calibrating? I've read somewhere it helps...
  8. Macwick thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2008
    Yep, that is set :(

    Anyone having better luck than I am with Apple Watch indoor runs?
  9. The Tuck macrumors 6502

    The Tuck

    Jun 8, 2003
    I've been getting distance and pace discrepancies with the Workout app and the Fitbit workout tracking feature for some reason. Theoretically, both are pulling from the iPhone's GPS (I run with my iPhone) and the Fitbit will hit a mile marker before the Apple Watch does. Wonder why that would be the case?



    Apple recommends a minimum of 20 min of outdoor fitness tracking with the iPhone paired to get your stride and pace calibrated on the Watch from GPS. You might want to try a few more outside walks, even if you've already gotten the minimum recommended 20 minutes.

  10. J.gerbes macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2012

    I noticed the accuracy to improve immensely after a few outdoor runs.
  11. Gooberton macrumors 65816

    Jun 20, 2010
    What is Tuck and why do you put it at the end of every post
  12. The Tuck macrumors 6502

    The Tuck

    Jun 8, 2003
    Lol, it's my name.

  13. sdallnct2 macrumors regular

    May 3, 2015
    Have you tried a couple different treadmills? They can be off as well.

    I do my shorter 3-4 mile runs on a treadmill and long run outdoors. But only last summer started running longer and outside.

    Anyway, at my gym, I know which tradmills seem a bit off. One almost always matches my Nike+ app every time. Even if I vary my pace, speed up at the end or whatever. Others can give me different results (usually minor).

    Treadmills need calibration as well.

Share This Page