Trouble With Step Counting

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by Jcmoney, Dec 5, 2015.

  1. Jcmoney macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2014
    #1
    I just received my Apple Watch last week as a gift, and naturally I'm wanting to get rid of my Fitbit and use this to track my steps. Unfortunately, I'm finding it extremely difficult to get an accurate, up to date step count. I've gone through the steps to calibrate everything, and that seems to have fixed the issue with the steps being drastically off, but my big concern/annoyance right now, is the fact that I can look at my watch, walk around for a few minutes, look at my watch again, and it acts like I didn't take a single step! My initial thoughts have been that it must not update in real time, and instead it only displays the updated steps after so many minutes or hours. My concern though, is that it just isn't grabbing all my steps, and that it's only picking up steps at random.

    Can anyone shed some light as to how the watch counts and updates steps? I would really love to be able get real time feedback on how many steps I'm taking. Is this an issue for anyone else?
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    I think the AW takes on a more holistic approach to fitness and doesn't rely solely on step counts. I focused too much on my step count moving on from a fitbit to the AW. Now I don't even look at them.

    With that said, I found that the AW's steps were within the same ballpark as the fitbits. I didn't do anything different.

    My advise is not to use the Apple Watch like a bit fitbit
     
  3. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #3
    What kind of FB are you using? I have a FB zip, and the steps on my FB match my AW pretty closely whenever I look. I do think the watch display does lag a little in updating steps, but it is not material-- as in a few minutes. At the end of a day, the two match well enough to have confidence in both.
     
  4. sean000 macrumors 6502a

    sean000

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    Jul 16, 2015
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    #4
    I have a Fitbit One and the step counts on my Apple Watch are always very close. If Fitbit says I walked 10,000 steps, AW will usually say it was slightly less... like 9,750 or so. Stairs climbed numbers are a usually a little lower than Fitibit though. Quite often the Apple Watch will report only about 60-75% of the flights climbed according to Fitbit.

    Did you calibrate your Apple Watch using the Workout app? That improved step count accuracy for me.

    Sean
     
  5. akosnitzky macrumors member

    akosnitzky

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    Oct 6, 2015
    Location:
    Weston, FL.
    #5
    It updates on your AP Watch every few minutes and it is rather accurate. You can also use sync solver (IOS APP) to export those steps to your Fitbit Account.
     
  6. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #6
    Calibration refines the stride length. I do not think it affects step count accuracy.
     
  7. sean000 macrumors 6502a

    sean000

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2015
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    #7
    that makes sense... it would be checking your steps taken (as detected by the motion sensors) vs the distance traveled (according to the iPhone GPS) to measure your average stride. Still, it seemed like there were bigger discrepancies in step count between my Apple Watch and Fitbit in the week before I calibrated. Could have just been a coincidence though.
     
  8. TxWatch macrumors 6502

    TxWatch

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2015
    Location:
    Texas
    #8
    I use Sync Solver to move my Watch steps to the Fitbit website, as well. It works extremely well for importing your Watch steps into the Fitbit eco system.

    This is partially correct. The calibration is "supposed" to improve the stride length calculation, but it does not seem to be working with Watch OS 2.0.1 at this time. As Exxx said, the calibration does not change the step count accuracy. I hope they improve the stride length calculation in the next version of the OS.

    TxWatch
     
  9. nicho macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #9
    how do you measure flights climbed on apple watch? it has no barometer.
     
  10. sean000 macrumors 6502a

    sean000

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    Jul 16, 2015
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    #10
    I think that's why it doesn't report as many stairs climbed as my Fitbit. The Apple Watch relies on my iPhone to count stairs climbed. I don't always have my iPhone with me, so the Fitbit is capturing stairs climbed that the watch is not.

    Sean
     
  11. nicho macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #11
    (The Apple Watch is not counting stairs climbed at all, the phone is)
     
  12. sean000 macrumors 6502a

    sean000

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2015
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    #12
    Right. I forget that stairs climbed only appears in the Health app and not in the Activity app on the watch or iPhone.
     
  13. Newtons Apple macrumors Pentium

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #13
    My AW was off by more than 35% when compared to my FitBit Charge HR. The AW is not a great fitness tracker . . . more suited as a phone notification device.
     
  14. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #14
    Or maybe your FitBit Charge HR is 35% off or maybe they are both 17% off, or maybe....

    Here is an actual test by CNet of several step counters/smart watches and the :apple:Watch was actually measured by a wide margin as the best step counter.

    http://www.cnet.com/news/smartwatch-step-counter-and-distance-tracker-accuracy/
     
  15. Newtons Apple macrumors Pentium

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #15
    Or maybe not. I have and use multiple devices made by different manufacturers and none come close to the AW step count. After this I have little faith in CNET but believe what ever you want.
     
  16. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #16
    That is apples and spaceships.
    1) That was an old review of pre-OS2.
    2) It is walking, not running.
    3) It does not comment on step count accuracy, only distance
    4) The writer does not tell if or how he calibrated the other watches. So, as far as we know, they are all un-calibrated.

    I believe that the 1.x calibration was OK, but not great and 2.x has broken calibration altogether on the AW. I think that actual stepcount on the AW is spot on.

    You are a runner with a Garmin 620, which is pretty freakin' accurate. How do your AW distances (without the iPhone on hand) compare to the Garmin 620 distances?
     
  17. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #17
    It is not a question of what you or I believe. Proper testing is as close to objective science as you can get. Here are a couple of other test too. It could be that your :apple:Watch has a defective accelerometer.

    http://quantifiedself.com/2015/06/comparing-apple-watch-fitbit-one-step-tracking/
    http://victor-r-lee.com/blog/2015/8...e-watch-fitbit-charge-hr-and-ios-withings-app
     
  18. Newtons Apple, Dec 8, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015

    Newtons Apple macrumors Pentium

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #18
    Thanks Julien.

    I have tried most of the fitness devices and basically the performance is most important to me. My AW sits in a drawer now and I no longer consider wearing it. I have tried most of the Garmin products but keep coming back to the FitBit Charge HR for it size and ability to track my HR continuously. The AW was kinda of a disappointment to me after all of Apple's advertising, it just did not live up to the hype. It really comes down to the device that offers the most for tracking fitness with the least amount of trouble.

    I still like my Apple watch but most important for me is the fitness aspects. Everyopne has to make their own choices and the AW is still a nice device.
     
  19. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #19
    Just or kicks I tested the :apple:Watch with my Garmin 620 on a 5 (5.12) miles (killer good run for me) run this morning. The results were much more accurate than I expected (just a coincidence to be so close). My Garmin measured 7000 steps and my :apple:Watch measured 7002 steps.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Just to boast a little.:eek:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. nicho macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #20
    And the distance was within 0.02 miles!

    Did you wear both on the same arm or one on each? If it's the latter, it's either bang on or 4 out because one swing of an arm would mean two steps.

    PS I've just started running and I can't get anywhere near those times :/
     
  21. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #21
    It is dead on. In hundreds of miles of running so far with the AW. I have never seen anything that close. Did you have your phone with you? And, did you use the Workout app?

    If no to both, I wonder if that affects how the AW calculates distance. In other words, I wonder if when you hit Workout Outside Run, that it uses the run calibration factors and if not, it uses some other factor for stride length.
     
  22. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #22
    I wore one on each wrist (always do).

    If just staring out put speed as the last thing to worry about. Make sure you have shoes that wok best for you. Work on getting an steady cadence when running on a flat surface when running distance (175 to 185). Then you can do intervals, sprints and other workouts to get your speed (stride length) up. Also don't forget wight training. Many (or most) runner don't do enough weight training and this can lead to more injuries.

    I used the Workout app and always carry my iPhone. My calibration/distance accuracy can be all over the map too. When I do extreme trail running it 'screws up' and is off for a run or 2. I was on a good stride (1.18M average) [great for me] and constant cadence (177 average) today so that helped.
     

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