Really confused by calorie count with exercise app compared to no exercise app.

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by Arthur Driessen, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. Arthur Driessen macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2015
    #1
    So every morning I do this workout. I set my watch to other in the exercise app, and it says I burn 320 Cal. Today I forgot to set it up in the app, and my calorie counter says I only burned 120!
    I don't understand how there can be such a big gap.
    Can someone tell me how the calorie counter is accurate outside of the exercise app? Shouldn't the calorie counter be sensing my heartbeat and activity level no matter what to give me an accurate reading?
    Also, why is there no way for me to go and correct this? I can't go in and enter the extra 200 cal that it didn't count? So to now reach my goal, I have to do another workout?
    It just seems like if apple wanted to make a real impact in the fitness world, it would be giving a more accurate product.
     
  2. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #2
    HR is only read while running the Workout app. If the App is not running then you don't get continuous HR readings. If the HR sensor was on all the time the battery would only last about 6 hours.
     
  3. Arthur Driessen, Jun 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015

    Arthur Driessen thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 2, 2015
    #3

    Ok. That makes sense. It (in my opinion) takes out all validity for it to be an accurate fitness tracker then for a passive user. How is it sensing your calories if it's not using a heart beat sensor? Also, If it is sensing that you are doing exercise (by filling up your exercise goal ring), why is it not turning the heart beat sensor on?
     
  4. dangson macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2010
    #4
    It's not true that heart rate is measured only while the Workout app is running. According to Apple's support page, HR is measured every 10 minutes. That's one of the ways in which it estimates your calories.

    When you're running the Workout app it just measures it more frequently (every few seconds I think).

    Apple is probably trying to be conservative with battery usage so they don't want to increase the frequency every time it looks like you're exercising. Perhaps in future versions that will happen so the calorie estimate is more accurate.
     
  5. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

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    #5
    1.0.1 changed all of this. That is why there are a lot of unhappy users, including myself. The product has changed in functionality without the consumer being made aware until after the fact.

    Calories outside the workout app are solely based on movement. While in the workout it's based on movement and heart rate. It use to be the latter for both workout and no workout.

    Only when you are completely motionless which is absolutely pointless. I don't care about my heart rate when I'm resting. I want to know when I am active throughout the day and to get an accurate calorie count. Now it's worthless unless I'm in the workout app.
     
  6. Mascots macrumors 65816

    Mascots

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    Sep 5, 2009
    #6
    I'd say give it some time. This change was implemented recently, according to Apple, to help the accuracy of HR readings (though, while prior I would see some outliers in readings, the majority of the reports were in line so they're statistically insignificant imo). It's bound to change because people are going hours without reports which, as you said, reduces it's usefulness (I think worthless is a little extreme) as a passive fitness tracker.

    So, give it time for them to get it more aligned - we're bound to see some good things next week and you can continue watching your specific exercises as needed until that point happens.
     
  7. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

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    #7
    How is it at all still useful as a passive fitness tracker? It tracks 1/3 of my active calories as before the update. It's completely inaccurate unless I'm in an "other" workout from when I wake up and when I go to sleep at night. Before I would get exercise minutes and extremely accurate calorie readings without having to be in a workout mode.

    I worked a 6 hour shift at my restaurant in "other" and was credited for 610 calories. Worked the same shift the next day, just as busy, without a workout mode and was credited for 241 calories. Clearly there is a problem.
     
  8. millerrh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2005
    #8
    I am also very frustrated by this behavior. I don't really want to have to open the workout app. I would just like to wear the thing and have my rings fill up as I work out. I don't trust the data it gives at all right now. It is very dependent on how many dedicated workouts you do. So this really isn't a passive activity tracker at all like they advertise.
     
  9. pooleman Suspended

    pooleman

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    Jan 11, 2012
    Location:
    Eastern CT
    #9
    Does the watch automatically update or will have a choice about whether or not to update the OS?

    My watch was delivered this morning and it sounds like I shouldn't update if I want accurate activity tracking.
     
  10. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

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    #10
    You have to manually update but I would be shocked if you aren't on 1.0.1 out of the box.
     
  11. pooleman Suspended

    pooleman

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    #11
    I am in so 1.0. The alert came up saying that a new software update was available but I passed. I'll stay on 1.0 for now.
     
  12. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

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    #12
    You are very lucky. If I could go back I would.
     
  13. anez macrumors 6502

    anez

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    Ireland
    #13
    I went for a walk today and forgot to enable my Workout until the halfway point. (I'm hugely forgetful, and this is my first activity tracker, so I often forget to do this.) By that point, my Exercise ring had nearly filled, and my Move ring had filled up quite a bit, too.

    There is definitely a disparity in how it measures exercise and calrories depending on whether or not Workout is enabled (and which Workout-- I've started a thread about that here), but it will recognize activity even without you expressly telling it you're working out. It's just not as accurate as we might hope for.
     
  14. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

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    #14
    Based on numerous small tests, and the 2 large tests I've conducted, it is about 1/3 as accurate without workout enabled. Which to me is completely unacceptable.

    Today, I walked 1 mile without workout and burnt 34 calories. I walked 1 more mile with "outdoor walk" workout mode and burnt 91 calories. Walked the same path twice, no change in my pace.
     
  15. millerrh macrumors 6502

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    Sep 14, 2005
    #15
    I think the problem with this is Apple sold this as a passive activity tracker. If it truly was, readings with and without workout app should be more consistent. I don't know if this is due to heart rate no longer being taken or if it's always been this inconsistent. I would love to not have to worry about starting and stopping workouts and know my calories are being calculated consistently and accurately. That's what I thought I was buying when I purchased this.
     
  16. Raggamuffin macrumors newbie

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    Apr 12, 2015
    #16
    no worries. They'll fix it in the next update.
     
  17. mistertomlinson macrumors 6502

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    Dec 22, 2007
    #17
    I'm not 100% certain, but the way I would expect the watch to work is: if you're walking without using the workout app, you're going to be relying on the periodic heart rate monitoring which used to occur every 10 minutes before 1.0.1. I'm assuming it follows a similar schedule post-update AS LONG AS you're not moving your arms too much. So, best case scenario: your watch only measured your heart rate a couple of times during your walk; worst case scenario: your arm was moving too much and NO heart rate data was used. Only accelerometer data would have been used to determine calories burned.

    Let's assume it takes 19 minutes to walk 1 mile. If the watch takes a reading every 10 minutes, only two readings would have been taken during your walk and one of them may have been taken before your heart rate had risen much. Then that reading is AVERAGED with the readings before and after it.

    Le's say your heart rate is 70bpm when the watch takes a reading a few minutes before you start your walk (without using the workout app). A few minutes into your walk, it takes another reading at 110bpm and 10 minutes later at 120bpm. The next reading is taken after your walk and your heart rate is around 90. If you're not using the workout app, it seems the space between readings would be averaged out, so even if your heart rate was at 120 for the majority of your walk, without constant heart rate monitoring, you're not getting credit for it as data is being averaged to smooth out the differences between each reading. And if the watch only took one reading during your walk, the average would be even lower.

    ... that's how I would think it works. So, I can't really say it's fair to fault Apple for this. The heart rate monitor doesn't run all the time because it would kill the battery. So, they HAD to design it this way. During non-workout activity, your heart rate changes in smaller increments so averaging the data throughout the day is the most efficient way to measure it. But if you're going to be working out where your heart rate will be sharply outside it's usual zone and stay there for an extended period, you HAVE to be sure to open the workout app.
     
  18. millerrh macrumors 6502

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    Sep 14, 2005
    #18
    My heart rate will go hours at a time without measuring anything. I thought this was how it worked as well and why I'm upset they removed the every 10 minute spec with this update. I don't feel it is able to track activity with any sort of reliability unless you use the workout app.
     
  19. aschaeferusn macrumors member

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    Apr 26, 2015
    #19
    I, too, am frustrated by the Watch's lack of usefulness as an activity tracker. Sticking with my Fitbit Charge HR on my other arm until Apple figures out a way to make the fitness tracking features of the Watch more useful. Sorry, taking my heart rate every 10 minutes when I'm sitting still is not going to cut it. Also, the Activity app could really use some work when compared to its competitor in the Fitbit app.

    For now, it doesn't really bother me too much to wear both devices, other than to have to answer "why are you wearing a fitbit and an apple watch?"
     
  20. daydayvol macrumors regular

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    Sep 16, 2012
    #20
    I just got my watch yesterday. I went ahead and updated. The new way of reading doesn't really bother me. I am very active in my day and I know that I burn a ton of cals so it isn't going to be a huge deal for me if the app doesn't reflect every little cal burned. Went and played ball this am and used the workout app. It did really well. I liked being able to see my heart rate but I won't always set the workout app because the battery took a huge hit.
     
  21. daydayvol macrumors regular

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    Sep 16, 2012
    #21
    I don't have the charge but I did use a Fitbit. I guess getting a device that will now measure my heart rate is a bonus for me. I don't really care about my heart rate being measured every 10 minutes ATM but maybe in the future I will.
     
  22. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

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    Ventura County
    #22
    Unfortunately this is where the problem gets even worse. If the watch detects any movement whatsoever, even looking at the watch using "raise wrist to activate" it starts the 10 minute wait over to check your heart rate. I have tested this at least 2 dozen times. In order for it to get a passive readout you have to be completely motionless for 10 minutes. Pretty much sleeping. It will not give you a readout if you move your arm once in that 10 minutes.
     

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