You will soon no longer need an Apple Watch just to access the iOS Fitness app

You will soon no longer need an Apple Watch just to access the iOS Fitness app

The Apple Watch is great. It arguably is the best smartwatch in the market (I argue it isn’t), but there’s no denying that this is an incredibly popular product. There’s a good chance that people who have an iPhone also have an Apple Watch, letting them access all of the fitness and workout features. But what about those that don’t have an Apple Watch? Apple has now finally thought of you, as the Fitness app is now available to all iPhone users. Further, Apple is also updating its Workout App to bring in running form detection and more. Plus, there are a whole bunch of other features for WatchOS 9.

Opening up the Fitness app to all iOS users

Screenshot showing Fitness app landing page in iOS 16

Previously, you’d need an iPhone to get access to the Fitness app on iOS. This means that you can’t record and track any of the data without purchasing separate hardware. This changes soon, as iOS 16 will preload the Fitness app to all supported iPhone users, without requiring an Apple Watch purchase. iPhone users can set a daily Move goal and see how their active calories will help close the Move ring. This tracking will take advantage of iPhone motion sensors to track steps, distance, flights climbed, and workouts from third-party apps. While the data may not be as accurate, you can at least get an estimate of the calories you burn, and more. Apple does mention that some tracking features will remain trackable through the Apple Watch only, and that does make sense.

Workout app updates

The Workout app is getting some love with watchOS 9. The app is being updated to provide richer metrics for measuring performance, as well as new training experiences. Users now get access to Workout Views that display important metrics for different training styles, and you can use the Digital Crown to rotate between these views.

WatchOS 9 also introduces Custom Workouts, letting you create a structured workout that can include work and rest intervals, and even add pace, power, heart rate, and cadence alerts throughout the workout.

workout app on the Apple Watch, watch OS 9, custom workout
For triathletes, the Workout app now supports a new Multisport workout type that automatically switches between any sequence of swimming, biking, and running workouts, using motion sensors to recognize movement patterns.

About author

Aamir Siddiqui
Aamir Siddiqui

A journalist at XDA-Developers and the current Editor in Chief, I have been writing for XDA since 2015, despite being a qualified business-litigation lawyer. A low-end smartphone purchase in 2011 brought me to the forums, and it's been a journey filled with custom ROMs ever since. When not fully dipped in smartphone news and tutorials, I love traveling to places just to capture pictures of the sun setting. You can reach out to me at [email protected] or on Twitter (@aamirsidd94).

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