How to Use Your iPhone as a Pedometer

You don't need a fitness tracker to count your steps

Your iPhone has a built-in step tracker to help you stay in shape and make sure you get your 10,000 daily steps in. You don't have to turn this feature on; your iPhone is already tracking your steps by default. This article shows you how to view and customize the data it generates.

How Does the iPhone Function as a Pedometer?

Your iPhone uses an accelerometer and air pressure sensor to track steps and flights of stairs climbed. Your iPhone can even sense whether you're walking on an incline or decline and tracks that as stair climbing. As long as you have your iPhone somewhere on your person or stowed in a bag you're carrying, it tracks how much you run and walk, as well as your overall movement in miles.

How to See Your Activity Data

Your iPhone can show you data on today's activities as well as trends across time. Here's how to see it.

  1. Tap the Health app icon on the iPhone Home screen.

  2. Tap the Summary tab at the bottom of the Health screen.

  3. Scroll down to the Highlights section, where you can see snapshots of your activities, such as Steps and Walking + Running Distance.

    iPhone Health app showing the Steps section

Adding Pedometer Data to Your Health App Favorites

To see your steps and distance data on the Favorites screen that first appears in the Health app:

  1. Open Settings and tap Notifications.

  2. Select Health.

  3. Select Health Notification Settings.

    Health notification settings
  4. On the Summary screen next to Favorites, select Edit.

  5. Select the star next to each activity you want to see in your Favorites.

  6. Tap Done.

    Edit Favorites screen in iPhone Health app

These functions running in the background have little to no impact on your battery’s performance and longevity.

How Do I Fix Issues With the Health App Caused by iOS 12 and 13 Updates?

Occasionally, your app might stop counting steps for no apparent reason. This can happen because your iPhone had an iOS 12 or 13 update that caused an issue. Fortunately, one of these quick fixes can get your iPhone tracking steps again in no time.

Make Sure the Health App Is Turned On

iOS updates occasionally alter your privacy settings, which in turn can affect how certain apps, like Health, function. To confirm that you have Health turned on:

  1. Open Settings > Privacy.

  2. Tap Motion & Fitness.

  3. Enable Health by moving the slider next to it to the On position. This ensures that your fitness data is displayed in the Health app dashboard.

    Health turned on in iPhone Motion & Fitness settings

How to Fix Steps Not Showing Up in the Health Dashboard

Your iPhone step tracker might be collecting data that is not showing up in the Health app dashboard because of update errors. To get your data working correctly again:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

  2. Select Privacy and then tap Motion & Fitness.

  3. Make sure that Fitness Tracking is toggled on.

    Turning on Fitness Tracking on iPhone