How To Fix Apple Watch Not Registering Exercises

I have a friend that has a Series 3 watch, and an iPhone 11. Her exercise ring does not register, but the other two do. Is this just a compatibility issue? Odd that two rings work.


Start a workout on Apple Watch

Suggestion #1: Is she starting a workout? I am assuming yes since that’s obvious, but I also have a series 3 and an iPhone 11 and mine works fine.

The Apple Watch should recognize exercise by her heart rate increasing so maybe she accidentally turned some settings off on her phone?

On her iPhone, make sure that Location Services is turned on. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services.

Also on her iPhone, check that Motion Calibration & Distance is enabled. Settings > Privacy > System Services and turn on Motion Calibration & Distance.

Reset your Apple Watch

Suggestion #2: I had an iPhone 10 and then 12 with a Series 3 watch and never had any issues. Tell her to try rebooting the watch, then if that doesn’t work unpair/re-pair. If all else fails, tell her to contact Apple. She should turn her phone off entirely, then the Apple Watch, let them both sit for a minute or so then turn them both back on. Hopefully that fixes it!

Suggestion #3: I have the same devices and have had the same problem. I have to reset my watch once in a while and fixes the issue.

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  1. I have the Apple Watch SE. I, along with a few other people I know bike ride for activity. I set my activity to cycle and it never recognizes as exercise, even though my heart rate is higher than when I go for a walk. Any ideas as to why? It logs my speed and distance, but does not move my exercise ring, which is frustrating.

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  2. So you watch is not tracking your exercise. It should always automatically track exercise. Or is it tracking very little exercise?

    Here is what you can do:

    1. You can move your arm where the watch is on. Your arm should swing beside you at all times. Every now and then rotate your arm in circles. Go forward 4 counts and then back 4 counts. Also do other arm workouts when your walking and have a fast heart rate and or your sweating.
    Your arm might not be moving much or hard enough.

    Also when on treadmill, bicycle, elliptical, step and any other exercise equipment always allow your arm with the watch to hang freely and swing freely or bend the arm so your elbow is swinging back and forth.

    When pushing a shopping cart or wheelchair or baby carriage your one hand. Allow the hand with watch to swing freely. If you need both hands then…. Take you arm off the watch and move it around every so often. Swing it, rotate it in circles, shake it and do other arm exercises so the watch can detect exercise.

    Also you can go to workouts app on the watch and look for the word other and click on other when your standing and moving around to see if that will help.

    2. Is your motion and fitness on in the watch app on your iPhone?

    On the system services page, make sure that motion calibration & distance is on. Tap back in the upper left corner, and then tap privacy in the upper left corner. When are back on the privacy page, tap motion & fitness at the bottom of the screen and make sure that fitness tracking is enabled.

    1. Motion and distance is turned on
    2. Motion and distance is enabled
    3. Maybe you need to reset the watch.
    Turn it off and back on. If that doesn’t help….
    4. You may have to try this sequence of steps: on your iPhone, in the watch app, go to: my watch > privacy > motion & fitness – turn fitness tracking off. Restart both devices by turning both off together, then restarting your iPhone first. Return to the fitness tracking setting and re-enable it.

    And see if it will track exercise better. I hope this helps you all out. Happy moving, exercising and standing!

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