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Why is the Apple Watch so inaccurate at measuring the distance of my runs?

I’m a runner who legs it with my cellular-enabled Apple Watch. The main reason I paid for the cellular model is that my wise wife wants me to be able to get help if I fall, have a heart attack, etc. 

The ability to dial 911 and/or call others for help, as well as fall detection are some of the great features of the smartwatch. However, I’ve found it to be unreliable in tracking the distance I run.

What I run — and what the Apple Watch thinks I run

I walk about a half-mile to warm up, run about 7 miles, then walk a half mile to cool down. Those distances are based on years of running experience and the odometer measurements on multiple cars with which I’ve measured my routes.

I tally about 8 miles total most days. However, my Apple Watch gives me “credit” for less than 7.5 miles. On any given day, the smartwatch Fitness app informs me that I’ve run 6.84 miles to 7.42 miles — and that’s on the same course! 

I realize that a distance measurement can vary based on my running speed (which is much slower when the weather gets cold). But still: shorting me anywhere between a half-mile and a mile? 

Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy my Apple Watch and upgrade almost every year. But I can’t depend on it to help me track my fitness/workout goals.

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the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.

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