How to Enable and Disable Automatic Workout Detection in watchOS 5

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Apple's watchOS 5 update includes a new automatic workout detection feature, which is designed to make sure you never miss out on getting credit for one of your workouts.

Automatic workout detection is a setting that's enabled by default once you upgrade to watchOS 5, but if you don't want the feature, it can be turned off using the Apple Watch app on the iPhone or on the Apple Watch itself.

Enabling/Disabling Automatic Workouts on Apple Watch

  1. Open the Settings app on Apple Watch.
  2. Choose General.
  3. Select "Workout."
  4. Scroll down to "Start Workout Reminder" and "End Workout Reminder."
  5. Set the toggles to your personal preferences.

Enabling/Disabling Automatic Workouts on iPhone

  1. Open up the Watch app on the iPhone.
  2. Choose "Workout" to access the settings for the Workout app.
  3. Scroll down to "Start Workout Reminder" and "End Workout Reminder."
  4. Set the toggles to your personal preferences.

Automatic workout detection for starting a workout and ending a workout are two separate settings, so you can control them individually if so desired.

Start Workout Reminder

Automatic workout detection is designed to let the Apple Watch remind you to start a workout if you forget to do so, which it will do through a notification that pops up on the Apple Watch asking if you want to begin a workout.


Automatic detection when your workout starts is compatible with running, walking, swimming, elliptical workouts, or rower workouts.

Even if you initially forget to start a workout in watchOS 5, this new workout detection feature will give you credit for the exercise you've already done.

End Workout Reminder

With automatic detection for when a workout ends, which is labeled as "End Workout Reminder" the Apple Watch will remind you to end a workout if it looks like you've finished up. This too works through a notification that directs you to the workout app.

Unlike automatic workout detection for starting a workout, automatic detection for ending one works with all workouts aside from those in the "Other" category.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch 6, watchOS 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
25 months ago

My guess? Apple is stuck on their "baby steps" implementing model and those were the only workout types the developers cared about. Next year, if the public seems to like these, they'll add another couple of workout types. Or they'll eliminate the feature completely.

FWIW, I turned this off. I found it turning itself on while I was walking to work, which would be OK, but I generally have at least one hand full of stuff and responding to the alert has an annoyance value that exceeds my interest in recording a walking workout.

Maybe a good feature add would be enabling workouts on a single type basis. For example, yes to running, no for walking.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
26 months ago
I’m so disappointed with this feature. It was probably my most anticipated feature in watchOS 5 but it just doesn’t work well enough. It’s baffeling considering Fitbit has been able to do this with ease for years. Come on, Apple
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
29 months ago
What would be great would be a stop workout on pairing with car Bluetooth / CarPlay, so I don't forget and log vehicle miles onto the route of my workout if I'm driving home.

Especially as there's no way to easily trim the start or end of workouts. :(
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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