Multiple Apple Watches listed

Many times, the Apple “ecosystem” reminds me of Luke, getting guidance to the heart of the Death Star in the X-wing he didn’t know how to fly 10 minutes earlier (one reason I liked the same-vintage first “Alien” much better than the first Star Wars movie. The latter was much closer to real life: when something was REALLY essential, it probably didn’t work because some disgruntled employee was drinking coffee in the bowels of the ship instead of doing scheduled maintenance).

Oh, back to Apple. Atempting to follow Adam’s advice, I cleaned up my own Medical Alert stuff (see my other comment about summoning help for the owner of an iOS who’s just collapsed but speaks a language I don’t read and who’s properly customized his own devices.

I’ve just gone through updating all my own Medical ID information, and discovered in the process that in the iOS Health App, under Summary:Privacy:Devices, there were 3 identically named Apple Watches. I clicked on one of these and was told it was no longer paired to my phone. Then a long list of activity, cardiac, and vital sign fields were listed, followed by the option to "Delete All Data from [my] Apple Watch. I did this, discovering to my disappointment that in fact I’d just deleted all exercise-related data originally recorded on my IN-USE Apple Watch, yet STILL had 3 Apple Watch’s listed. Not one to be deterred, I retraced my steps on the second of the 3 listed, and found that this one was indeed paired to my phone. So, I went through the same routine on the 3rd watch listing in the Health App, then used the web to learn how to change the name of the watch I’m actually wearing (it’s in Apple Watch: Settings: General: About: Name. There, I changed the name to list it as belonging to me AND denoting its generation. HOWEVER, after doing all that, now when I launch the “Watch” app on my iPhone, the very first line on the opening screen still says [generic owner name]'s Watch.

Beneath that is a watch icon matched to my new chosen name, with the watch size listed on a second line.

I THINK (but don’t know) that the first line comes from my Mac admin account long username!
Anyone have suggestions on how to edit that?

Hope you don’t take this as trivial quibbling, but the vagaries of UI are what’s at issue here. Why bother with a clue about a UI element if you need to swipe to a third level screen in order to see the clue?

Conversely, what’s behind a user interface that doesn’t tell the user which of successive versions of the same Apple product (watch, in this case) is connected?

And (now that I’ve wiped out all my activity data by trying to delete references to identically named but no-longer owned watches) can it be that one consequence of my attempting to update the listing of identically named but no longer paired watches has caused my current iPhone 11 Pro to tell me (iOS Workout and Activity Apps) that I last got out of bed in May 2018!

Even my DOG remembers that we take a 3 mile walk every day (and reminds me forcefully if I try to skip a day!)

Because, in fact, you deleted a lot of your history data. For reasons that only Apple knows, when you unpair and then re-pair the same watch to an iPhone, the Health app creates a new record for it. (It may be to make it easier to delete historical data for people who really want to do that?)

One of the best changes that Apple made to the Health app with iOS 13 was to move all of the devices out of the menus that you could access on the bottom toolbar, because it used to be a fairly common problem that people would delete what they thought was a duplicate device in the Health app only to find that they had wiped out all of their past heart rate and activity data; I’ve seen several past posts on Reddit where people lost out on long ring completion streaks and the like because they deleted that data.

So, note to all Apple Watch owners: do not delete any of the devices that you may find in the Health app if you do, in fact, want to track your activity history.


Because, in fact, you deleted a lot of your history data.

My wife knows I have not lain in bed since 2018. If you asked her, she might tell you that I’ve spent all that “up” time tethered to my Apple devices, but that’s another story….

And, just to be clear: I’m pretty certain you’re not endorsing Apple’s handling of this issue as good user interface design?

I guess I should have taken a clue that (not in main user settings, but buried DEEP in the Health app) I had 3 Apple watches listed, but I’ve personally owned only 2. That mismatch might have made me wary of eliminating any listings, even after clicking one of them told me it was no longer paired to my iPhone!

I’ll just say that iOS 13 is better than it was in iOS 12 and earlier.

I can imagine why Apple set it up this way - it was probably a decision that they made when they were originally implementing the watch, had people testing various implementations of hardware and software, and needed a quick way to be able to delete all of the data from one particular device if it was reporting incorrect data - and making a change at this point would take a long, long time and isn’t worth the effort with everything else that they need to work on.

I would love to see a really strong warning message that deleting a device will delete all of your historical activity, heart rate, workout, etc., data that was collected by that device. Really strong warning. The ability to merge two different devices would be great; the ability to realize that a watch with the same serial number is the same device and its data should be collected under an existing device would be ideal.

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May I ask the corollary question at which I’ve been hinting?

Is there some way to link the iOS and WatchOS “Activity” and “Workout” apps so that they share data with each other?

On my watch, when I’ve finished a long walk (that I’ve recorded as a “workout” on the watch) I see that the Activity Ring on the watch has closed for the day. What I DON’T see is the same information displayed on my phone in its “Workout” app. Perhaps that just reflects my discarding all my activity records for the past 2 years unintentionally earlier today. I’m about to find that out (my lab is trying to hand me her leash as I type).

That’s the way it is designed, that’s the way it works for me. It may take a few minutes to sync, but my Activity app on the iPhone (and the Health app) show my workout and ring activity in essence in real time.

That’s what is probably causing this. You may need to unpair and re-pair the watch if your activity and workout data are not syncing properly.

I second your suggestions Doug but I do not see what you are referencing here. I have an iPhone Xr running iOS 13.3.1 and my S4 Apple Watch runs 6.1.3.

I have 3 separate listings for the same iPhone and 2 for the only Apple Watch I have owned - an S4. The only reason I can possibly account for the multiple entries is that I had to Restore my iPhone in an effort to resolve some odd problems I was experiencing.

When I tap any of those listings I do not see anything suggesting any devices are no longer connected to the Health App or an option to disconnect a specific device.

What I did see though was the blue colored button to “Delete All Data from (my iPhone).”

Same for the Apple Watch listings. A button to delete all data from my watch. I couldn’t imagine wanting to do that so I backed out of the Devices section in the Health App before my shaky fingers inadvertently tapped the wrong thing.

Again though, I do not see any option to remove a device from the Devices listing inside the Health App. Should I?

That’s what I mean - I haven’t done it for a while, but there should be a really, really strong warning that this will remove historical data from the Health and Activity app, potentially mess up the Trend data calculations in the Activity app, etc. It’s possible that there is such a warning - I am not going to test it myself. I know that in the past there wasn’t.

I’m having a similar experience. Deleted multiple Apple Watch devices and lost a over a year’s data. I also changed the name of my current Apple Watch to reflect it’s generation, but It appeared as a data source with only “Apple Watch”

  1. How can I get the watch name updated as a data source?

  2. is there a way to get the lost health data from iCloud back up?

Since iOS 11 or iOS 12, the default for Health data is to sync the data with iCloud. (This is better than the old way as you can set a phone up as new and the old Health data will sync back to the phone and you will not lose history. Prior to this there was no way of doing this short of using a tool like Decipher Phone Refresh to restore only the health data from an iTunes backup.) You can check on your iPhone under Settings / iCloud / iCloud and see if Health is checked. If so, I don’t know of any way for a user to restore data. I’d suggest calling AppleCare to see if they have a way to restore data from iCloud to recover the lost devices. My guess is that there is no way, but it won’t hurt to ask. If you are not syncing Health data from iCloud, you could try restoring from an iCloud backup or an encrypted iTunes backup that was taken before you deleted the source data.

I personally do not care what the watch is listed in devices under the Health app - I just want the data there. That may be another good question for Apple support if it is really important to you.

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It won’t help recover already lost data, but you can export all of the health/activity data out of the iOS realm. It’s probably worth doing it before taking any action that you aren’t sure of, and possibly periodically as a less fragile backup than Apple supplies. There are iOS apps that can then reimport the data to Health, though I have no experience with any of them. You’d need to make sure that they can handle the latest data formats.

On iOS 13, open the Health app, tap the profile icon, scroll all the way down, and tap “Export All Health Data”. It can take awhile if you have a lot of data.

The export is a zip file called, unencrypted, that can be handled via the sharing mechanism. I senh it to the app (end to end encrypted) to get it onto my mac. When I open the zip, it contains a folder of ECG data in .csv files, a folder of route data for workouts, and two .xml files. export.xml is enormous and contains most of the data. (In older versions, much more data was available in .csv files that were easy to plot up in a spreadsheet. Now it’s messier to get at it.)

If anyone wants a programming project, writing a Mac app to analyze and display the exported data would be a good one. There are iOS apps, but I’d strongly prefer a Mac app, which I haven’t been able to find–bigger screen, and the data would be much better protected (by Little Snitch etal).