Watch/Phone Activity Sync


I have a Watch 5 and iPhone 7 running the latest software on each. I hadn’t really been paying attention until recently, so this may have been going on during the entire year since I received my Watch.

As I understand it, the Watch records various data points and synchs them to the iPhone. The Watch doesn’t keep long term data which the iPhone is supposed to record. Recently I’ve enrolled in several health monitoring programs that give credit for achieving certain goals, and I’ve been noticing that the numbers recorded in the Activity app on the Watch are not always reflected in the Health app on the iPhone. For example, right now on the Watch Activity > Total Steps says 1332 while on the iPhone Health > Steps says 1162 and quite frequently, for instance while out walking, Total Steps does not have the same data on both devices with the iPhone recording sometimes 1000’s fewer steps than what’s displayed on the Watch.

On the other hand, at the moment the three Activity Ring data points are the same on both devices. And, the Fitness app on the iPhone does appear to have the same data as the Watch. Unfortunately, the health monitoring programs are tied to the Health app not the Fitness app.

Does anyone here have any idea what’s going on and how to fix it so the iPhone accurately records what’s on the Watch?


Steps are an interesting problem because both the iPhone (since the iPhone 6) and the Apple Watch record steps themselves. There are times, I am sure, that you are walking without your iPhone with you, and perhaps there are times when you are walking with your iPhone on you while your watch is charging. The Health app does a pretty good job de-duplicating this data. Generally the Health app is set to give priority to the Apple Watch when there are steps recorded at the same time by both sources, but you can check that by opening the Health app, tap Browse, tap Activity, tap Steps, and scroll to the bottom and tap Data Sources & Access to make sure that your watch and iPhone are both listed, and your watch(es) are listed at the top of that list.

My suspicion is that, because Apple does not prioritize step count as a fitness goal as they do the move, exercise, and stand rings, that steps are given lower priority for syncing that the fitness and heart rate data are. That said, I just looked myself, and my Health app is showing 6982 steps while my watch shows 6941 in the Activity app, so I think that my Health app is up-to-date.