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Your Apple Watch and cardio machines inside gyms can talk to each other. Using your Apple Watch with gym equipment like treadmills, ellipticals and indoor bikes gives you a better, more complete set of metrics such as heart rate, distance, speed, elevation and so forth. iDB lays out ways to use Apple Watch with gym equipment, including how to pair your Apple Watch with cardio machines and how to start and end a workout on the gym equipment.

What is GymKit?

GymKit is Apple’s technology platform that lets you connect Apple Watch workouts with cardio equipment such as treadmills, ellipticals (crosstrainers), stair steppers and indoor bikes. Spinning bikes, resistance machines and other equipment are currently unsupported.

Syncing Apple Watch data with GymKit-enabled machines gives you the most accurate distance, cadence, pace, energy burn and other metrics possible. Your heart rate continue to be measured by the heart rate sensor built into the watch, but gets displayed on the machine’s screen. Apple explains that only a software update along with a small upgrade of the contactless NFC sensor is required in order to add GymKit compatibility to these machines.

With GymKit, important stats like your heart rate, distance, speed, floors climbed, incline, pace and calories is always in sync between the watch and your favorite cardio equipment.

In isolation gym equipment and the Apple Watch used for indoors can be a little incomplete. The watch is good for heart rate, but distance, accuracy and elevation on a treadmill is impossible. Likewise, no-one actually calibrates their treadmill in the gym so even if you do use a chest strap, calorie burn is normally way off.

A GymKit stair climber, for example, is able to calculate floors you’ve climbed more accurately by polling its own sensors rather than rely on the Apple Watch sensors which can only track actual flights of stairs as you change altitude.

GymKit requirements

To use GymKit, you need the following:

GymKit has seen limited adoption so far.

GymKit availability

The feature is currently supported by a handful of large gym chains. Apple says it’s wrangled up support for GymKit from the biggest gym equipment manufacturers that ship eighty percent of the cardio machines used in gyms around the world.

GymKit is available in the following gym chains:

Core Health and Fitness (Cybex, SCIFIT, StairMaster, Star Trac, Schwinn and Nautilus)


Life Fitness

Matrix Fitness

Octane Fitness


TRUE Fitness

Virgin Active



GymKit officially debuted with launch support for Life Fitness, Core Health and Fitness, Matrix Fitness and Technogym as part of the watchOS 4.1 software update which released to the public on September 19, 2023. watchOS 6.1, released on October 31, 2023, extended compatibility to Octane Fitness, TRUE Fitness and Woodway.

Follow along with iDB’s step-by-step tutorial to learn how to connect Apple Watch to compatible gym equipment and experience two-way synchronization of data with just a tap.

How to use Apple Watch with gym equipment

Follow the steps below to learn how to use Apple Watch with gym equipment, from pairing the wearable device with compatible machines to starting and ending workouts.

How to pair Apple Watch with gym equipment

With NFC technology in Apple Watch, you can effortlessly connect the wearable device with compatible pieces of gym equipment, and here’s how:

1) Start by enabling the ability for your Apple Watch to detect gym machines. Navigate to Settings → Workout on the watch (or to My Watch → Workout in the Watch app on your iPhone), then slide the toggle Detect Gym Equipment to the ON position.

2) Verify that your favorite gym machine is compatible with HomeKit by looking for the sticker “Connects with Apple Watch” or “Connect with Apple Watch” on the equipment.

3) To quickly connect, hold the watch within a few centimeters of the contactless NFC reader on the gym machine, with the display facing the reader as if you were using Apple Pay.

This will automatically launch the Workout app. You will feel a gentle tap on your wrist and hear a beep as a confirmation that the watch is paired.

Forgot to switch on the Detect Gym Equipment option in Settings?

Not to worry, you can also start a workout by launching the Workout app, then hold the watch near a gym machine — again, with the display facing the machine’s contactless reader. The amount of rich data from the gym machine that’s displayed on the watch depends on the type of the selected workout, as explained by Wearable:

From a run you’re able to see calories, distance, time, average pace, elevation gain, average heart rate and recovery heart rate. And from a treadmill run, that’s actually a staggering amount of data. You’d be hard pressed to find that level of detail anywhere else from an indoor workout.

Cyclists will also be pleased. In addition to that same data you’ll get power wattage and RPM from the bike, which is data that even outdoor cyclists struggle to capture. And if you’re into the stepper, you’ll get floors climbed too, which would previously have been impossible to measure from just the Apple Watch.

Forgot to pair the watch with the gym machine before your workout?

No problem, simply tap the watch to your gym equipment while in a workout session and watchOS will automatically sync up the data. But wait, that’s not all — you will even get full credit for the workout session both on the watch itself and within the Workout app.

How to start and end workouts

Upon connecting the watch to a piece of gym equipment, you can start and end a workout using its onboard controls rather than the Workout app, and here’s how:

Start your workout: Press Start on the gym equipment to begin the workout.

End your workout: Press Stop on the gym equipment to end the workout.

Like before, you can also start and end your session in the Workout app like you normally would. “When you end your workout, data from the equipment appears in the workout summary in the Activity app on your Apple Watch and iPhone,” Apple explains.

GymKit and your privacy

GymKit was designed to protect your privacy.

You can choose what you share with your gym equipment at any time. After pairing your watch to a GymKit-compatible machine, the devices exchange data as soon as you start and stop workouts on the watch. With your workout ended, the gym machine saves data to the watch.

According to Apple’s privacy policy regulating GymKit data sharing, the gym equipment is required to discard the data as soon as it has been transferred to the watch. However, as the privacy policy spells out, the equipment manufacturer may collect and retain data about your workout that is synced to the equipment from your Apple Watch.

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What The Apple Watch Ecg App Does (And How To Use It)

The Apple Watch’s electrocardiogram feature (ECG) can provide far more accurate heart rate readings than typical optical sensors and could even identify potential arrhythmias. But just how accurate is the ECG on the Apple Watch? How do you access it? And what do you do with that information? Read on, and we’ll explore the answers.

Read more: What is ECG, and why does it matter?

What does the Apple Watch ECG app do?

An electrocardiogram measures electrical signals from the heart. Since your heart is a muscle, it requires an electrical impulse to trigger contractions. As a result, it is possible for an electrocardiogram to measure the timing and strength of your heart rate. The result is a far more accurate reading than would be possible with an optical monitor. The ECG app compatible with the Apple Watch Series 4, Series 5, Series 6, and Series 7 provides users with on the spot ECG readings.

Using your Apple Watch ECG app, you can determine the following:

Irregular heart beat rhythms indicative of atrial fibrillation, or AFib

You exact heart rate at any given time

Heart attacks

Blood clots or a stroke

Other heart-related conditions such as congestive heart failure, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other forms of arrhythmia

The Apple Watch ECG app is not intended to replace medical care or professional assessment. If you experience chest pain, tightness or pressure, or symptoms you think make be a heart attack, contact emergency services immediately.

In short, the Apple Watch ECG app allows you to take on-demand readings and record the results in Apple’s robust Health app. This allows users to keep tabs on their heart health and can cue individuals to seek medical assistance. Possible results in the ECG app include the following:

Sinus rhythm: This is a healthy pattern between 50 and 100BPM considered normal.

Atrial fibrillation: This is an irregular and possibly high pattern.

Low or high heart rate: This is a heart rate under 50BPM or over 120BPM.

Inconclusive: This means the recording can’t be classified.

Poor recording: Unique to ECG version 2, this means the quality of the recording was not adequate to provide a classification.

Of course, the reading to look out for is “atrial fibrillation.” If this is your result, assess how you are feeling, and consider booking a visit to your physician. Keep in mind that many things can affect your heart rate, such as exercise, emotional stress, or alcohol consumption. For example, if you have just completed a workout, your heart rate may likely be high. The best time to take a reading is when you are otherwise calm.

Identify atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that can cause an irregular and possibly rapid heart rate. You may find that your resting heart rate is above 100 beats per minute. This can cause other symptoms such as dizziness, breathlessness, and tiredness. Using the Apple Watch ECG app, users can test their heart rate if they start to feel unwell. There are also different types of atrial fibrillation:

Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation: Episodes that come and go

Persistent atrial fibrillation: Lasting for seven days or more

Long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation: Lasting for a year or longer

Permanent atrial fibrillation

Seeing as atrial fibrillation can come and go, a doctor might fail to pick up symptoms during a visit. This is where having a device that can potentially flag symptoms becomes useful. The Apple Watch might also be able to identify other forms of tachycardia, such as atrial flutter. Atrial flutter is similar to atrial fibrillation but has a more organized/less chaotic waveform.

View and share information

Once you have completed an ECG reading, you can review your results in the Health app on your paired smartphone. The ECG waveform and its associated classifications will automatically save as well as any noted symptoms. From the Health app, you can even save a PDF of your results to share with your doctor. This makes the Apple Watch ECG especially useful in helping individuals share important data with their medical team.

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Take cues to see your doctor

Thanks to the electrical heart rate monitor located on the back of the device and in the Digital Crown, the Apple Watch can provide an ECG “similar to a single-lead” ECG. This is not the same as the 12-lead ECG that doctors offer. The latter records signals from different angles across the heart to provide 12 separate waveforms.

It is important not to mistake the Apple Watch for a medical device. The Apple Watch ECG app should not be used to diagnose any condition as mentioned above. Despite Apple’s warnings, there is always potential for users to place too much stock in their readings.

The best way to think of the Apple Watch ECG app is as a cue to go and see a doctor.

How to set up the ECG Apple Watch app

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

To start using the ECG app on your Apple Watch, you first need to set it up in the Health app. This process will install the app on your device and provide it with the necessary permissions.

Open Apple’s Health app and scroll down on the Summary screen until you see the ECG widget under Get More From Health. Tap Set Up.

Follow the on-screen prompts which will include submitting your age. Unfortunately, the Apple Watch ECG app is not intended for those under the age of 22.

Related: Fitbit vs Apple Watch: Which is the best ecosystem for you?

How to take an ECG reading on Apple Watch

Launch the ECG app on your Apple Watch.

Rest the arm wearing the watch on a table or your own leg. Try to move as little as possible.

Place a finger from your opposite hand against the Digital Crown and wait until the app signals the process is finished. This should take 30 seconds.

See also: The best fitness trackers you can buy

Apple Watch ECG app FAQs

The ECG app makes it easy to share your readings with your doctor. You should share your results if you have any concerns about your heart health, receive concerning readings, or experience any concerning symptoms. Additionally, you can speak to your doctor about the usefulness of at-home readings in regards to your personal medical history. Like all tools, the Apple Watch ECG app can provide inaccurate results. It is important to trust your medical care to professionals.

Yes, an electrocardiogram can be called an ECG or an EKG.

While we have not conducted a side by side study for comparing ECG accuracy, a number of Apple alternatives also feature ECG sensors that have been approved by the FDA. This certification is an important distinction to look for when choosing a device based on its ECG capabilities.

If your Apple Watch ECG app is not working there are a number of solutions to try. First, make sure that your Digital Crown is clean and free of debris. If you still receive inconclusive results, check to see if you have the latest update on your device, or try restarting your iPhone and Apple Watch. Finally, you may need to uninstall and reinstall the ECG app.

The Apple Watch ECG app is a potentially useful tool, as long as it is used appropriately and with an understanding of precisely what it is and isn’t capable of providing. Additionally, the Apple Watch isn’t the only smartwatch with ECG capabilities. Check out the follow reviews to read more about alternative devices.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review

Fitbit Sense review

Withings ScanWatch review

How To Charge Your Apple Watch

There are several ways to charge your Apple Watch, but the easiest way is to use the included cable that comes with your Apple Watch (Amazon, Best Buy). 

Table of Contents

How To Charge Your Apple Watch

The basic white charger provided with the watch has two sides: a flat one, and one that bows inward. The side with the depression is the one you want to attach to the backside of your watch. Once aligned, magnets will snap the two of them into place. As long as the charger is plugged into your computer or power brick, the watch will begin to charge your Apple Watch right away. 

You’ll know the watch has started to charge because it will make a chime. If it’s in silent mode, you will see a lightning bolt appear on the front of your watch. This will be either red or green, depending on how badly the watch needs power. In some cases, the lightning bolt might not appear at all for several minutes until the watch has enough charge—in this case, you’re likely to see an Apple logo.

Once you see this lightning bolt symbol, all you have to do is wait. The watch is charging. 

Charge Time Requirements

There are several ways to know how much charging time is left. On average, the Apple Watch takes two hours to fully charge. If you’re in a hurry, 1.5 hours will bring it to 80% charge. 

To check how much time is left, first look for the charging icon in the top-left corner of the screen. It resembles a progress bar and gives you a rough look at how far along the charge is. On the other hand, you can add a battery icon to the face of the watch itself that will give you an actual percentage amount rather than a numberless bar. 

Charge Your Apple Watch Without The Charger

You can charge your Apple Watch without using the standard charger. There are several third-party “stations” on the market that allow you to charge your iPhone, Apple Watch, and Airpods all in one place.

Although these devices are different, they follow the same basic idea. Each one will have a designated area for their device. Read the instructions provided and place your Watch on the proper charging pad. 

If you don’t have the instructions, don’t worry. In most cases, the difference in size between the three devices these stations can charge makes it obvious which one goes where. These stations are great for organizing all of your devices in one place, but be wary when purchasing. Make sure the station you buy allows the correct power throughput for each device. 

The Best Apple Charging Stations

If you’re interested in picking up a charging station for your iPhone and Apple Watch, these are some of the best options on the market. 

Belkin’s two-in-one charger has a clean and modern look and lets users charge all modern iPhones and Apple Watches at the same time. The charger has a built-in magnetic charging pad for Apple Watches and a Lightning Connector for iPhones. 

The most interesting feature of this charging stand is the adjustable Lightning Cable that lets users extend or retract the cable length to fit most cases. 

The Mophie 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad presents a stylish, simple look and allows you to charge your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods all at the same time. The Mophie charger is designed to tackle cases up to 3 millimeters thick and has fast-charging capabilities that will bring your devices up to full in no time at all. 

It has a suede top that protects your devices while they charge, but all this class comes with a high price tag –  $112.

If you’re looking for a two-in-one charger on a budget, the Mercase Aluminum Universal Desktop Stand is a great option. At just $16, the case is far cheaper than competitors but still has a solid construction. 

Your Apple Watch charges at the top of the case, while your phone sits sideways with only a small lip holding it in place. This makes this case the perfect option for watching movies or YouTube on your phone while it charges. 

A lot of two-in-one chargers take up a lot of space, but the Twelve South HiRise Duet takes a different approach that makes it stand out from the crowd.

Rather than placing the iPhone at a slanted angle, the HiRise Duet sees it standing straight up above your Apple Watch. The Watch charges at the base of the stand, with the iPhone mounted on a wide stand above it. The charging station goes for $60 on Amazon.

The Beacoo 3-in-1 Wireless Charger is another affordable option for a charging station. At $27, it’s compatible with all Qi-enabled devices (including Samsung phones, so it isn’t limited strictly to Apple products.) 

It has a 10W fast charger, adjustable charging board, and solid structure that ensures your Apple Watch remains in place exactly where it needs to be. Your AirPods fit in a pocket underneath the Watch. 

The Best Portable Apple Watch Power Banks To Use While Traveling

The Apple Watch has pretty reliable all-day battery life most of the time. In certain use cases, however, you might need to give it another boost – such as if you’re traveling or doing a lengthy LTE workout. Read on as we roundup our favorite Apple Watch power bank accessories.

Why use an Apple Watch power bank?

Personally, I find the best reason to own an Apple Watch power bank is for traveling. The Apple Watch’s magnetic charging puck can be a a bit of a pain to use while on the road, especially if you’re only traveling for a few days and don’t need to bring your full array of cables and charging blocks.

Of course, you can always charge your Apple Watch using a normal portable battery, but those solutions require you to supply your own Apple Watch charging cable. Apple Watch power banks generally integrate an Apple Watch charging – including all of the ones mentioned below.

Choice #1 – Ugreen

My personal pick for an Apple Watch power packs comes from Ugreen. Its Portable Travel Power Bank packs a 2,200mAh rechargeable battery that comes with an integrated Apple Watch charging puck. The Ugreen Portable Travel is MFi certified and includes a USB-A port that allows you to quickly charge your iPhone and other devices.

The 2,200mAh battery is enough to get you 3-4 full Apple Watch charges, which is perfect for weekend travel. It packs a nice combination of power and form factor, coming in at just 16mm thick and 5.29 ounces heavy. The one downside is that you have to recharge the Ugreen with a microUSB cable, though one is included in the box and that’s a common annoyance with all of these chargers. Read our full review of the Ugreen here.

The Ugreen Portable Travel Power Bank is available for $53.95 on Amazon. At one point, Ugreen sold a more powerful charging solution with an integrated Lightning cable, but that is seemingly no longer available. We’ll update if it returns.

Choice #2 – Griffin

If your goal is ultimately portability, the Griffin Travel Power Bank Key Chain for Apple Watch is an excellent choice. It quite literally attaches to your key like any other key would, and gives you 1,050mAh of battery life. This means it’s not the post powerful battery pack out there, but what it lacks in power, it makes up for in portability.

You’ll still get around 2 full Apple Watch charges with this battery pack. The battery pack itself recharges via microUSB, unfortunately, but again, one is included with purchase. It also includes a nifty built-in stand to raise your Apple Watch and make Nightstand mode easy to see.

The Griffin Travel Power Bank Key Chain for Apple Watch is available for $31.

Choice #3 – MIPOW

On the other side of the coin, if you’re looking for something with the most power possible, MIPOW sells its MFi-certified Apple Watch Power Bank with 6,000mAh of juice. This will get you roughly 10 full Apple Watch charges while on the go.

The MIPOW also has an integrated Lightning cable, however, which makes it easy to charge both your iPhone and your Apple Watch at the same time while traveling. If ultimate power is your goal, and you’re willing to compromise some portability for that power, the MIPOW is a great choice. It’s available for $99.99.

Other Apple Watch power banks:

If none of these options strike your fancy, a few other ones are available. Maxon’s sells a keychain Apple Watch charger for $18.99, while Smatree sells an intriguing charging case for Apple Watch at $28.99, but it doesn’t include an Apple Watch puck. Belkin also just recently introduced its pricey, but powerful Boost Up Charge Power Bank for Apple Watch, but we haven’t been able to try that one out yet.

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How To Pair And Unpair Apple Watch With New Iphone (All Working Methods)

So you bought a brand new Apple Watch and you’re excited to pair it with your iPhone? Or maybe you bought a new iPhone and are wondering how to unpair your Apple Watch and then pair it with a new iPhone.

How to Unpair Apple Watch

If you bought a new iPhone and want to pair your Apple Watch with it, you will first have to unpair it from your old iPhone. There are a couple of ways you can do this. You can do it using your iPhone, or straight from the Apple Watch if you want.

We have a detailed article on how to unpair and reset an Apple Watch that you can check out for step-by-step instructions on this.

How to Pair Apple Watch Pre-Setup Preparations

Note: This is only needed if you’re unpairing your Apple Watch from an old iPhone and pairing it with a new one.

Back up your old iPhone. This backs up your Apple Watch data as well so you can set it up easily on the new iPhone.

When setting up your new iPhone, restore your iCloud or iTunes backup.

Method 1: Automatic Pairing and Setup

The first method we’ll discuss is the one that Apple recommends, and the one that works almost all the time. This is the easiest and most straightforward way of setting up an Apple Watch. Here’s what you need to do.

Bring your new (or unpaired) Apple Watch close to your iPhone. You should see a prompt like the one in the image below. Tap on ‘Continue‘.

Your watch will now show an animation. Scan it with your iPhone. Tap on ‘Restore from Backup‘ if you’re pairing an old Apple Watch with a new iPhone. Otherwise tap on ‘Set Up as New Apple Watch’.

Method 2: Manual Pairing with the ⓘ Icon

Sometimes the automatic pairing method doesn’t work and in that case, you can use the manual pairing method to start setting up your Apple Watch. Most of the steps still remain the same, but the beginning of the process is different. Here’s what you need to do.

Tap on the ⓘ icon that shows up on your Apple Watch in order to see a name for your Apple Watch. This will show up both on the watch, and on your iPhone, inside the Watch app.

Tap on the name, and then enter the six digit code that shows up on your Apple Watch to confirm that you’re pairing with the correct watch.

You can now select whether you want to restore a backup, or set up your watch as completely new. The rest of the process remains the same; all you have to do is follow the on-screen instructions and your watch will be set up in no time.

Pair Apple Watch with New iPhone Using These Methods

Now that you know all the methods you can use to both unpair and pair your Apple Watch with an iPhone, you should be all set to set up your watch with your brand new iPhone. Chances are that the automatic pairing method will work out perfectly for you, but just in case it doesn’t, there’s always the manual method to set up your watch. Also, if you are encountering any problems with the set up, you should check out our article on Apple Watch not pairing with iPhone.

How To See Your Steps On Apple Watch

Your Apple Watch tracks your steps as you move. You can check your Apple Watch to view your daily step counts. Doing so will help you reach your daily activity goals. Whenever you put on your watch, your steps will be automatically tracked.

Physical activity is important for a healthy life. According to research studies, 10,000 steps/day is a reasonable target to focus on for healthy adults. The good news is that your mobile device, including your iPhone and Watch, can keep tabs on the steps you take. On your Apple Watch, you can use the Activity app to view your daily activity.

We’ll first tell you how to see your steps via the Activity app, then how to add an Activity app complication to your Apple Watch face. Furthermore, we’ll give you a suggestion for a third-party app that can show your steps directly on your watch face.

How to view your steps on your Apple Watch

While on the Home screen (press the Digital Crown to open the sea of app bubbles or list of apps), open the Activity app on your watch. The Activity app is the one with three colored (red, green, and blue) circles on it.

Scroll down to the bottom. You can also turn the Digital Crown down to go to the bottom. You will see the Total Steps, including Total Distance and Flights Climbed. As you can see, my steps for today are zero because I have not worn my watch yet.

If you scroll down a little further, you will see a button called Weekly Summary. Tap that.

Now you can see your weekly progress, including weekly Total Steps, Distance and Flights Climbed.

How to add your step count to your Apple Watch face

Your watch face is your lock screen. This will offer a convenient way to view your steps. If you frequently find yourself checking your steps, this is the way to go.

There is no built-in way to view your steps as a complication on your Apple Watch face. So, you have a couple of choices:

You can add an Activity app complication to your watch face. Then, when you tap on the Activity complication, you can view your steps.

You can use a third-party app to view your steps directly on your watch face.

1. Add an Activity app complication to your watch face

You can add the Activity app icon on your watch face. Here is how:

Go to your watch face (press the Digital Crown if you are on the Home screen).

Touch and hold the face until the Edit button appears.

Tap Edit.

Keep swiping left until you see the Complications.

Tap a Complication and then tap Activity.

Press the Digital Crown twice to exit. Now a shortcut to the Activity app will be placed on your Watch Face. You can easily tap that to open it and see your steps quickly.

2. See steps on your Apple Watch face with a third-party app

There are a variety of third-party pedometer apps for Apple Watch. One that we like is StepsApp. After you grab the app from the App Store on your iPhone, make sure it is installed on your Apple Watch:

Open the Watch app on your iPhone.

Scroll down and look in the Installed on Apple Watch section. If StepsApp isn’t there, scroll down and find it in the Available Apps section and hit Install.

After you have it installed on your Apple Watch, you’ll need to give it permissions so it can integrate with the Health app and use your Apple Watch’s pedometer – look for the permission prompts to pop up. Add complications from StepsApp to your favorite watch face (see above). You can also add complications using the Watch app on your iPhone.

There are a variety of complications available to add to your watch face. You can choose to show steps, distance, floors or calories, and there are different complications for each so that you can find one that will fit on your watch face.

You can open and set up things in the StepsApp on your iPhone, or you can just use the complications on your Apple Watch without ever opening the iPhone app.

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