An iPhone’s step counter uses accelerometer data to record up and down movements when walking, and it’s easy to access this data later.
The iPhone has a built-in pedometer that keeps track of how far its owner has walked, but Apple has somewhat buried the feature. While counting steps is associated with planned exercise, a person on and off walks throughout the day. Since an iPhone is often in a pocket or in the hand, it can record a very accurate measurement of how much walking takes place over time.
Apple began putting a focus on health and fitness in 2014 when it launched its Health app. This was a precursor to the announcement of the Apple Watch in 2015. If an Apple Watch is paired with an iPhone, all of its advanced sensor data is transferred to the iPhone and appears in the Health app. This is so the Health app can deliver a full accounting of a person’s fitness metrics with activity, heart rate, cycle tracking, sleep tracking, and much more.
The iPhone’s Health app doesn’t require an Apple Watch in order to be useful. A step counting ability is built right into an iPhone, making use of the accelerometer sensors to identify and record when a step is taken, and even if the app isn’t open. To find this information, the user can go to the iPhone’s Home screen then swipe down to open the search bar and type “Health” to find and open the app. Apple places some health and fitness metrics on the Summary page but if steps aren’t seen, they can be found by tapping the Browse tab and navigating to the Steps subcategory. Steps can also be added to favorites to ensure it appears on the Summary tab when the app is opened. Tapping Steps on the Summary or Browse tab will open a page full of information, including a graph of steps over time.
How The iPhone Pedometer Works
The iPhone uses its accelerometer sensor to know when a step is taken. It’s relatively easy for an iPhone to record this information over time and build the bar charts and statistics shown on the Steps page. The iPhone also makes use of the pedometer along with other data, such as GPS and altimeter readings, to calculate interesting information like Walking Steadiness, Step Length, Flights Climbed, and more.
As to be expected, there are third-party fitness apps, and even applications devoted to step counting, that might meet specialized purposes better. However, Apple’s built-in pedometer that’s tucked away inside the Health app is free and should meet most users’ needs well. Of course, the iPhone needs to be in the hand or pocket in order to record steps, so it’s worth always carrying the phone (if not wearing an Apple Watch) to make sure each step is counted.
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