What To Know
- If you are in a location with steep hills or mountains, the elevation readings may be less accurate than if you are in a relatively flat area.
- If you are at a higher altitude, the elevation readings may be less accurate than if you are at a lower altitude.
Are you a hiker, runner, or cyclist who loves using your Apple Watch to track your progress? If so, you may have noticed that the elevation data provided by your watch is not always accurate. Elevation data can be affected by a variety of factors, including GPS signal, atmospheric pressure, and weather. In this blog post, we will explore some of the reasons why your Apple Watch elevation data may not be accurate and offer some tips on how to improve its accuracy.
Apple Watch Elevation Not Accurate
Since the Apple Watch Series 2 debuted in September 2016, hikers and trail runners have relied on the altimeter feature to track their elevation gains and losses during workouts. Apple is aware of this, but the company claims it doesn’t consider it to be a significant problem.
Why? Because altimeters don’t work perfectly.
“The altimeter on Apple Watch is designed to measure relative changes in elevation,” Apple says in documentation. “Like other elevation measuring instruments, it is not always accurate.”
And in fact, many users have reported discrepancies between the watch’s altimeter and other devices.
“I find that the altimeter on the Apple Watch Series 2 is generally accurate for casual hiking,” one user wrote on Reddit. “But it’s not as accurate as a dedicated GPS unit, and there can be large discrepancies between it and other devices.”
Another user on Reddit said, “I found the Apple Watch altimeter to be pretty accurate for hiking, but not for trail running. It consistently overestimated elevation gain by about 10-20%.”
And yet another user on Reddit said, “I ran with my watch on Friday, and it definitely over-reported my elevation gain by about 10%. That can make a big difference if you’re trying to track your training.”
So why does this happen? The Apple Watch uses a combination of GPS and barometric pressure readings to measure elevation. However, GPS can be affected by a variety of factors, including tall buildings, trees, and weather conditions.
In addition, barometric pressure can vary based on weather conditions and altitude. So it’s not surprising to see discrepancies between the watch’s altimeter and other devices.
It’s worth noting that the Apple Watch is not the only device to have issues with altimeters. Many GPS watches and fitness trackers also have problems with elevation tracking.
So if you’re a serious hiker or trail runner, you may want to consider using a dedicated GPS unit, such as the Garmin Fenix series, instead. These devices use a combination of GPS and barometric pressure readings to measure elevation, and they tend to be more accurate than the Apple Watch.
Why Is My Apple Watch Not Accurate With Elevation Gain?
- 1. Apple Watch uses barometric altimeter to measure elevation gain, which can be affected by external factors such as weather, temperature, and atmospheric pressure.
- 2. The GPS signal can be affected by tall buildings, trees, or other sources of interference, leading to inaccurate elevation gain readings.
- 3. The watch needs to be calibrated regularly to improve its accuracy.
- 4. The watch may need to be reset to its factory settings to improve its accuracy.
- 5. The watch may need to be updated to the latest version of the software to improve its accuracy.
What Are Some Factors That Can Affect The Accuracy Of My Apple Watch’s Elevation Readings?
Several factors can affect the accuracy of your Apple Watch’s elevation readings. These include:
1. Location: The accuracy of elevation readings can vary depending on where you are. If you are in a location with steep hills or mountains, the elevation readings may be less accurate than if you are in a relatively flat area.
2. Weather: Weather conditions can also affect the accuracy of elevation readings. For example, if there is a lot of wind, the elevation readings may be less accurate.
3. Altitude: The altitude of the location you are at can also affect the accuracy of elevation readings. If you are at a higher altitude, the elevation readings may be less accurate than if you are at a lower altitude.
4. GPS signal strength: The accuracy of elevation readings can be affected by the strength of the GPS signal. If the GPS signal is weak, the elevation readings may be less accurate.
5. Device settings: The accuracy of elevation readings can also be affected by settings on your device. For example, if you have set the elevation measurement to “metric” or “imperial,” the readings may be less accurate than if you have set it to “standard.”
Overall, the accuracy of elevation readings on your Apple Watch can vary depending on a number of factors. It is important to be aware of these factors and to take steps to ensure that your Apple Watch’s elevation readings are as accurate as possible.
How Can I Calibrate My Apple Watch To Improve Its Elevation Accuracy?
Calibrating your Apple Watch to improve its elevation accuracy is easy. First, go to an outdoor location with a known elevation, such as a trailhead or mountain. Then, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and select “My Watch” > “Privacy” > “Location Services” and make sure that “Location Services” is turned on. Next, open the Workout app on your Apple Watch and select “Outdoor Walk” or “Outdoor Run.” As you start the workout, walk or run for about 20 minutes at a pace where you can still hold a conversation.
After you’ve finished your workout, open the Workout app on your iPhone and select “Show More” to see your workout summary. Then, scroll to the bottom of the summary and tap “Export Workout.” This will export your workout data to your iPhone’s Health app. Open the Health app on your iPhone and select “Metrics” > “Elevation.” This will show you a graph of your elevation during the workout.
Next, open Google Maps on your iPhone and navigate to the location where you performed your workout. Zoom in on the map so that you can see the details of the terrain. Then, tap the “Measure” button in Google Maps and draw a line along the elevation profile that you generated in the Health app. Google Maps will show you the elevation profile for that section of terrain.
What Are Some Alternative Methods For Tracking Elevation Gain And Loss?
Tracking elevation gain and loss is important for hikers, trail runners, and outdoor enthusiasts. While traditional GPS devices with elevation tracking capabilities are a good option, they may not be suitable for everyone. Some alternative methods for tracking elevation gain and loss include:
1. Smartphone Apps: Many smartphone apps now offer elevation tracking capabilities. These apps use the phone’s GPS and accelerometer to track elevation changes. Some popular apps include Strava, MapMyRun, and Runkeeper.
2. Heart Rate Monitors: Heart rate monitors with built-in GPS can also track elevation gain and loss. These devices use your heart rate data to estimate elevation changes.
3. Barometric Altimeter Watches: Barometric altimeter watches use changes in air pressure to measure elevation changes. These devices are more accurate than smartphone apps and heart rate monitors, but they are also more expensive.
4. Paper Maps: Paper maps can be used to track elevation gain and loss, but they require manual input and are not as accurate as electronic devices.
5. Online Mapping Tools: Online mapping tools like Google Earth and OpenStreetMap can be used to track elevation gain and loss.
How Can I Troubleshoot My Apple Watch’s Elevation Accuracy Issues?
If your Apple Watch is displaying elevation inaccuracies, there may be a few reasons why. These issues can be caused by a number of factors, including poor GPS reception, low battery, or software glitches. Here are some tips to troubleshoot your Apple Watch’s elevation accuracy issues:
1. Check GPS reception: Make sure that your Apple Watch has a strong GPS signal. You can do this by going outside and checking the strength of the GPS signal in the Watch app on your iPhone. If the signal is weak, try moving to a different location or waiting for a stronger signal.
2. Restart your Apple Watch: Sometimes, a simple restart can resolve minor software glitches that may be causing elevation inaccuracies. To do this, hold down the side button on your Apple Watch until the Power Off slider appears. Slide it to the right to turn off your watch, then hold down the side button again until the Apple logo appears.
3. Update your Apple Watch: Make sure that your Apple Watch is running the latest version of watchOS. To do this, open the Watch app on your iPhone, then tap General > Software Update.
4. Calibrate your elevation: If your Apple Watch has been calibrated incorrectly, it may result in elevation inaccuracies.
The Bottom Line
If you’re an avid hiker or outdoor enthusiast, you’ve probably noticed that your Apple Watch’s elevation gain isn’t accurate.
While it can give you a general idea of how much elevation you’ve gained or lost, it’s not as accurate as a GPS device.
There are a few reasons why this might be the case.
First, the Apple Watch relies on its own sensors and algorithms to estimate elevation.
It’s possible that these sensors aren’t as accurate as the ones used in dedicated GPS devices.
Second, the Apple Watch’s GPS may not be as accurate as other GPS devices.
The GPS signal can be affected by tall buildings, trees, and other obstacles, which can affect the watch’s ability to accurately calculate elevation.
Finally, the Apple Watch’s elevation data may not be up-to-date.
The watch relies on data from satellites to estimate elevation, and the data from these satellites may not be current.