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How to Show Steps on Your Apple Watch Face

If you have or are considering getting an Apple Watch, you may be aware of this fact: unlike a Fitbit, you do not see the number of steps immediately on the watch face. Wait, what? 

Steps don’t automatically appear on the watch face. Which can really decrease your motivation when you are trying to track steps. The good news: There IS A WORKAROUND. I learned it, I did it, and so can you! All is right with the world.

Yes, it is true. By default, the Apple Watch does not show the number of steps. I actually did not even know this before programming the Apple Watch I received for my birthday. As I looked at the face, I turned to my husband and asked, “Where’s the steps?”

“You don’t see it on the face of the Watch,” he said matter-of-factly.

And my face went something like our dog’s “are you kidding me” look (prompted often by my seasonal wardrobe choices for her to wear):

Why does this matter? I mean, you can just access your fitness data and amount of steps there, right?

It is a question of motivation. By needing to open an app and scroll down to see the number of steps, this can cause “motivation deflation.” Essentially, it is a phenomenon of “out of sight, out of mind.” If you don’t see your results right away, you are less likely to work to make them happen. In this society of instantaneous information, if steps are important to see, then you need to see them right away, or you won’t stay motivated. 

Should you have an Apple or a Fitbit?

If you are an Apple user, an Apple Watch may be a better choice if you are already in the “Apple Ecosystem” with your iPhone and/or iPad and/or Mac.  If you are struggling with this choice, I highly encourage you to read these articles:

It could be if you are just about the “tracker.” Fitbit is better for you. However, if you want the bigger, more expensive package, then there is a way that you can have your steps show right when you look at your Apple Watch.

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Here is how to see steps on your Apple Watch, without any adjustments:

To see steps on your Apple watch:

  1. Press the home button or “digital crown” to see all apps
  2. Open the Activity app
  3. Scroll down to see steps under “total steps” 
  4. You can see the distance you have traveled on total distance

How to view steps on Apple Watch face directly (this only takes five minutes):

You can only do this by downloading a 3rd party app to add a “complication” to your Apple watch. The video recommends Pedometer++, so that is what I used, but of course there are numerous other options, like Duffy or Steps app

  1. Make sure the apps downloaded to your iPhone are set to appear on your Apple Watch automatically (on your iWatch, go to Settings→App Store→turn on Automatic Downloads)
  2. Download the 3rd party app on your iPhone, in this case Pedometer ++, which you can do so for free. 
  3. Once it is downloaded, open the app on your Apple Watch. 
  4. Go into your Apple Watch and tap on the Watch Face you wanted the app to be displayed on (here is how you switch between watchfaces)
  5. Under Complications, select the location you want the Pedometer ++ app to go.
  6. Scroll down to the Pedometer feature and pick the data that you want to see – Steps and Distance is what the video recommends.

You can also download the Pedometer ++ app directly on your Apple Watch by going to the Digital Crown and selecting it from the App Store on your Apple Watchface.

How to make your steps count more

While Apple and most other fitness trackers typically utilize GPS trackers to measure distance, according to Apple’s website, the Activity App uses arm motion and an accelerometer to track movement. Therefore, the best way to measure this is to make sure you are wearing your watch on your dominant hand and swinging your arm, which is part of a good walking technique incidentally!

In case you needed more persuasion, recall this Seinfeld episode where a new colleague at Elaine’s office is ridiculed for not swinging. Way before Apple watches or people being obsessed with steps, but still really relevant.

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That would have been 2 steps…..

Voila! Now you are ready to go with your steps and distance right on your watchface 

How to see steps on your Apple Watch Face (iPhone life)

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