Your iPhone as a Step Counter

Are you a step counter? Do you reach 10,000 steps each day? Are you looking for a way to gain insight on your physical activity?

Your iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6+, iPhone 6S, and iPhone 6S+ is one of your best tools to monitor your fitness? Since iOS 8 and the iPhone 5S, Apple included a sensor that talks with the Health app automatically about the number of steps you have taken, distance traveled, and even stairs climbed? This occurs securely, with the data only stored on the iPhone itself thanks to the chip inside the iPhone collecting and monitoring this information. This capability renders third party apps for step counting rather useless. Follow the steps below to set up your device to use these built in functions.

First, open up the Health app. You can do this by asking Siri to “open Health.” Similarly, Typing in Health in Spotlight will allow you to find where you might have hidden this app.

The first screen you interact with is the Dashboard. Swipe through this to learn what already exists here. Often times, Steps is already listed at the top of the screen, and all you need to do is check back here. If you cannot find Steps here, the next steps will help you place it on your Dashboard.

On the bottom of the screen, there are several tabs, Dashboard, Health Data, Sources, and Medical ID. For purposes of this guide, just tab on Health Data. A link appears at the bottom of this post to learn about Medical ID.

This screen lists all of the categories of health related items you can input or track on your iPhone. Please note that the iPhone is only able to monitor your steps and distances traveled. The rest of the items requires you to input the data manually or connect the iPhone to a third party app and device that is capable of gathering the metrics. For example, your weight would require a scale. Tapping on All on this list will show you the full capabilities of Health. Tapping on Fitness will be the fastest way to find the Steps, though. Which ever one you select, find and tap on Steps.

In the Steps screen, the majority of the upper half of the screen depicts historical data. Just swipe through this screen until you find the on/off toggle for, Show on Dashboard. Alternatively, place your finger roughly in the middle of the screen, and move it downwards, and you might be able to find it quicker.

If the on/off toggle is off, then the information will not be on your Dashboard. Tapping here will either add it to the Dashboard or remove it.

Now go back to the Dashboard by tapping on the Dashboard tab located in the bottom left corner of the screen. Steps should now be displayed on the Dashboard. The first part of this section tells you the number of steps you traveled today, along with an average. Below this is the number of steps you preformed over the last several days. Today’s steps will appear as no data,

I have found this feature to be as accurate as the third party devices one might wear to track this information. The only difference is that you have to carry the iPhone with you. Pairing an Apple Watch with your iPhone will increase the accuracy rate, but this is not a necessity, especially if your aims involves charting trends.

Examining two other fitness measures, flights climbed and distance traveled can also be compiled by your iPhone. Distances traveled is very accurate, since this data comes from cellular towers and GPS data. Differently, Flights climbed is very inaccurate, as I have tested this on numerous staircases ranging from single flights in a house to multiple story buildings with an iPhone 6 and an Apple Watch.

If you are wondering what Medical ID means, click here for a prior post about it.