I’ve had at least five instances when my Apple Watch Series 6 tracked steps, monitored my heart rate, but failed to calculate calories burned. The outcome was obviously inaccurate for each instance. So if you have a problem with Apple Watch not counting calories, I can understand your frustration.
But why does this happen and how do you fix it?
Your Apple Watch isn’t tracking calories because you haven’t worn it correctly, you’re using the wrong Apple ID, power reserve mode is active, or there’s a system glitch. Also, you might have restricted workouts from refreshing in the background or toggled off fitness tracking.
Fortunately, these problems are easy to fix.
In this guide, I’ll look at each issue in-depth, and tell you exactly what to do to get your Apple Watch to start counting calories again.
Let’s get started.
Why is My Apple Watch Not Counting Calories?
I’ll go deeper into why your Apple Watch is not counting calories burned later in this guide. For now, let’s look at a summary of what causes the issue, as well as an overview of the possible solutions:
|Probable Cause||Possible Solution|
|1.||The watch has a system glitch.||Restart the watch to fix the problem.|
|2.||You haven’t worn the watch properly.||Tighten the Apple Watch band to a snug fit.|
|3.||Workout refresh is not active in the background.||Allow the Apple Watch’s workout app to run in the background.|
|4.||You’re using the wrong Apple ID.||Ensure the Apple ID you’re currently using belongs to you.|
|5.||The low power mode is active and running.||Deactivate the low power mode to enable Apple Watch to count calories.|
|6.||You might have toggled fitness tracking off.||Turn fitness tracking back on to enable the watch to count calories.|
How to Fix an Apple Watch That Won’t Count Calories Accurately
As someone who has had their Apple Watch Series 6 fail to count calorie accurately, I can only recommend the fixes that have worked for me.
I hope these work for you as well.
1. Restart Your Apple Watch
The first thing I like to do whenever I have a problem with a smartwatch is to restart the device. So, I strongly recommend that you do the same to your Apple Watch.
Smartwatches tend to develop system glitches from time to time, and the Apple Watch, regardless of a higher level of performance optimization, isn’t an exception.
In my experience, system glitches come about from apps conflicting in the background, outdated watchOS version, excessive cache in the temporary storage, and using the Apple Watch for an extended period.
A simple restart fixes all these problems. More often than not, restarting the watch maybe the only thing you have to do to get it to start tracking calories again.
To restart the Apple Watch:
- Press and hold the side button until you see the sliders.
- Tap the power icon and drag it to the right to turn off the watch.
- Hold down the side button again until you see the Apple logo.
And that’s it.
2. Allow Workout to Refresh in the Background
For your Apple Watch to count calories and give you accurate results, you need to allow the workout app the permission to run in the background.
To do this:
- Press the Digital Crown to wake the screen.
- Swipe your Apple Watch up to open the app menu.
- Choose Settings.
- Tap the General and then the Background App Refresh option.
- Toggle on Workout to enable background refresh.
Now that you’ve enabled background refresh for workout, your Apple Watch should count calories in real time.
3. Wear Your Apple Watch Properly
Two things have to happen for your Apple Watch to count calories accurately:
- First, the green lights on the Apple Watch must be active to detect blood flow in your body right from your wrist.
- Second, the watch must be in constant contact with your skin for these optical sensors to take your heart rate reading.
Apple Watch then uses this heart rate reading, combines it with your profile information, and then determines how much calories you burn.
If you notice that the calorie count is not accurate, it’s likely that you haven’t worn the Apple Watch properly.
While I understand that there are different ways to wear the Apple watch, I strongly suggest having it on your non-dominant wrist.
Position it at an inch below the wrist bone. Also, ensure it’s not too tight or too loose, just snug enough to take your heart rate reading without hurting your wrist.
If the watch hangs loose on your wrist because the band is broken, you should get some bands for replacement.
I suggest you check my guide to making Apple Watch classy for alternative band options that you can use for replacement.
4. Deactivate the Low Power Mode if Active
Here’s something I need you to understand:
Apple Watch Series 4, Series 5, Series 6, Series 7, SE, and Ultra run on the watchOS 9.
This operating system features a Low Power mode function. If it’s active, you’ll see a tiny yellow circle at the top of the Apple Watch display.
Now, here’s what’s interesting:
The Low Power mode limits GPS and heart rate tracking, meaning the function will restrict workouts like walking, running, and hiking and affect calorie counting.
So if your smartwatch is not counting calories right now, check to ensure this mode is inactive – and deactivate if it’s currently active.
To turn off the Low Power mode:
- Press the Digital Crown to wake up the screen.
- Swipe the screen up from the bottom to open the Control Center.
- Tap the battery percentage option.
- Toggle the Low Power mode off.
Now the GPS and the optical heart rate sensors should work optimally and your Apple Watch should begin counting calories more correctly.
5. Use the Correct Apple ID
It’s unlikely that your Apple Watch won’t calories because of the Apple ID. But it’s still a possibility nonetheless.
Let me explain:
If you’ve recently shared your Apple Watch with someone in your household, they may have updated the smartwatch by switching your Apple ID with theirs.
In this case, the personal profile information, including age, gender, height, and weight, linked to the watch are from a different iPhone.
So if you have your Apple Watch back but you notice that it’s not counting calories accurately, check the attached Apple ID and update it accordingly.
To do this:
- Launch the Watch app on your iPhone.
- Tap My Watch and then General.
- Scroll the screen up until you see the Apple ID option and tap it.
- Check if the Apple ID you’re currently using belongs to you.
If you learn that the Apple ID is not yours, you’ll need to sign out of that account and log back in with yours.
First, you need to sign out of the current Apple ID.
- Go to Settings on your iPhone and tap Apple ID.
- Scroll to the bottom and tap on the Apple Watch to see the details.
- Tap Sing Out to exit from the current Apple ID.
Second, you need to set up your actual Apple ID on your iPhone and the Apple Watch.
- Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Tap Sign in to your iPhone.
- Enter your details and then tap Sign in.
Now allow the setup to synchronize with the cloud, after which you will be ready to start using your Apple Watch and iPhone again.
6. Enable Fitness Tracking on Apple Watch
Apple Watch uses activities like walking, running, cycling, and swimming to determine how much calories you burn.
So if the smartwatch is not detecting or reporting the total calorie count on the screen, the Fitness Tracking feature is more than likely off.
You need to enable activity tracking to fix this.
- Open the Settings on your Apple Watch.
- Look for the Privacy option and tap it.
- Tap Motion and Fitness.
- Then, tap the Fitness Tracking to turn it back on (if it’s off).
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why are My Apple Watch Calories So Low?
Your Apple Watch calories are so low because the “Workout Power Saver” mode is active.
Like the low power saver mode, Workout Power Saver limits workouts to conserve power. In addition, it automatically the heart rate sensor, cellular capability (if any), and GPS, thus you get the low calorie count.