How to Automatically Track Workouts on Apple Watch in watchOS 5


watchOS 5 comes with a new workout detection feature. This simple feature tries to predict when you’re working out and helps you record it. While the workout detection happens automatically, there is still a manual step involved. Unlike Fitbit, your Apple Watch won’t start recording a supported workout automatically. What you’ll get instead is a helpful notification asking if you’d like to begin the workout that Apple Watch has just detected.

This is a welcome improvement if you’re the kind of person who always forgets to start tracking a workout. Now, you won’t end up losing out points for your Move goal. Even if you start the workout late, you do get credit for the couple of minutes you missed out on (but only as far back as Apple Watch recorded).

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How Workout Detection in watchOS 5 Works

The feature is turned on by default once you upgrade to watchOS 5. But if for some reason, it’s not enabled, go to Settings -> General -> Workout and turn on the Start Workout Reminder and End Workout Reminder features.

Right now, the automatic workout detection feature only works for a handful of workout types:

  • Running
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Elliptical
  • Rower

Once you start moving, Apple Watch will detect the movement and will try to pair it with one of the above workouts. After a couple of minutes and Apple Watch is sure about the workout, you’ll get a helpful notification asking if you’d like to start a workout.

You’ll also get to see multiple versions of the same workout. For instance, if you’re running, you can either start an Outdoor Run or an Indoor Run right from the notification. Once you tap on it, you’ll be taken straight to the Workouts view.

RelatedThe Easy Way to Disable Apple Watch Notifications in watchOS 5

How to End Workouts Automatically in watchOS 5

Similarly, you’ll get a notification when you’ve stopped workout out but you forgot to turn off the workout tracking. After a couple of minutes of inactivity, Apple Watch will say something like “Finished your workout?”. Tap on the End Workout option. If you want to change the workout, you can do that from the notification as well.

How Do You Use Apple Watch?

Do you use Apple Watch primarily as an activity tracking device or to manage your notifications? Share with us in the comments below.