How to disable auto-workout detection on your Apple Watch

Hero image: auto-workout detection on Apple Watch with watchOS 5 or newer

Your Apple Watch can remind you to start the correct workout or end the session, if you forget.

Your Apple Watch utilizes the built-in accelerometer and heart rate sensors to identify motion and increased heart rate, both tell-tale signs that you might actually be working out.

It’s especially cool that auto-workout detection supports retroactive tracking to the beginning of your activity so that you will be credited for the exercises you’ve already finished if you get distracted when cooling down and forget to manually end your session.

Auto-workout detection supports any Apple Watch model with watchOS 5 or newer.

Detecting your workouts, automagically

You can elect to receive a notification on your wrist reminding you to start the correct workout or get nudged to end your current workout session. The watchOS 5 software provides this handy feature for the most popular workout types, like running, cycling and swimming.

You can toggle your start and end workout reminders on or off individually.

Auto-workout start and end reminders shown on Apple Watch

Start reminders are supported for the following workout types:

  • Running
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Elliptical
  • Rower

End reminders apply to all workouts except Other.

Should you use auto-workout detection?

If you’re a forgetful person, auto-workout detection will ensure your progress is tracked even if you’ve forgotten to manually start a session in the Workout app.

However, fitness buffs and folks who use Apple Watch to track their workouts on a regular basis probably won’t have much use for these handy workout tracking alerts.

Auto-workout detection also supports GymKit

If you don’t need to be reminded to start or end your workout session, disabling this new feature in watchOS 5 can help prolong the battery life on your Apple Watch a little bit.

Here’s how to disable auto-workout detection.

How to disable auto-workout detection

Auto-workout detection is on by default.

To disable auto-workout detection in watchOS 5 or newer, use the companion Watch app on your paired iPhone or the Settings app on the watch itself.

Apple Watch

To disable auto-workout reminders from your wrist, do the following.

1) Open the Settings app on your watch.

2) Tap General in the list.

3) Tap Workout.

4) Toggle off the buttons Start Workout Reminder and End Workout Reminder.

Disabling auto-workout reminders in the Settings app on Apple Watch

Going forward, your Apple Watch will no longer alert you to start the correct workout based on detected motion and increased heart rate. Likewise, you will no longer be pinged to end the workout session following a period of inactivity.


Do the following on your paired iPhone:

1) Open the companion Watch app on your iPhone with iOS 12 or later.

2) Tap the My Watch tab at the bottom.

3) Tap General on the list.

4) Tap Workout.

5) Toggle off the buttons Start Workout Reminder and End Workout Reminder.

Disabling auto-workout reminders in the companion Watch app on iPhone

You can, of course, turn off your start reminder whilst leaving the other option on. Doing so will stop those start reminders, but you’ll still get alerted if you forget to end the session.

Your thoughts

Are you glad that watchOS 5 features auto-workout detection to start and stop workouts? Are you a forgetful person who will be making sure to use this feature on a regular basis?

Have you ever forgotten to start or end a workout session on your Apple Watch? Let us know your thoughts on auto-workout detection in watchOS 5 by leaving your comment below.

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