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Apple Watch heart rate not working? Here's how to fix it.

Keep Apple's ticker focused on your ticker.
By

Published onMarch 6, 2024

The Apple Watch is among the most accurate heart rate monitors you can strap to your arm, but even it can face a few issues. If your Apple Watch heart rate is not working, there are several steps you can take to fix the problem. Read on for more.

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Problematic heart rate data on the Apple Watch could be due to several potential issues, including the fit of the device on your wrist, settings that may be active, and more.


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How to fix an Apple Watch that’s not measuring your heart rate

Apple Watch heart rate monitoring issues are usually temporary. Some models are more accurate than others, but most issues can be fixed by following the steps below.

Ensure heart rate tracking is on

Double-check if your watch can track your heart rate throughout the day.

  1. Open the Settings app on the Apple Watch.
  2. Select Privacy & Security.
  3. Tap Health.
  4. Tap Heart Rate.
  5. Toggle on Heart Rate if it’s not on already.

Properly fasten your Apple Watch to your wrist

Apple Watch Ultra with Wayfinder watchface on wrist close up
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

The Apple Watch won’t get a reliable heart rate reading if it’s too loose, tight, low down, or far up on your wrist. Ensure you use a comfortable Apple Watch strap for workouts, and fasten it a finger’s width above your prominent wrist bone. Properly securing your watch to your wrist is also important for accurate sleep tracking.

Clean your Apple Watch

If you exercise with your Apple Watch, the device could pick up sweat, debris, and grime from your body, negatively affecting its sensors’ accuracy. Ensure that the sensor housing at the rear of the watch is clean. You can clean an Apple Watch using a soft cloth or cotton bud. Any obstructions will skew heart rate data.

Switch off Low Power mode

An Apple Watch SE 2 on its side, displays the Low Power Mode screen.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Low Power mode disables several Apple Watch features to maximize efficiency and improve battery life, but it can also affect health tracking data.

To switch off Low Power mode:

  1. Open the Settings app on the Apple Watch.
  2. Select Battery.
  3. Toggle off Low Power Mode if it’s activated.

Restart your Apple Watch

We usually recommend this step first, but it’s worth considering more practical fixes first.

  1. Press and hold the side button of your Apple Watch until sliders appear.
  2. Tap the power icon and drag it to the right of the screen to initiate a shutdown.
  3. Switch on your watch by holding down the side button until the Apple logo appears.

Check for updates

Apple Watch Software Updates
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Updating to a new package should fix any heart rate monitoring issues introduced by a previous software package.

  1. Open the Settings app on the Apple Watch.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Software Update.
  4. Your device will automatically scan for available updates.
  5. If a software update is available, select Install.

Reset the Apple Watch

Finally, reset your Apple Watch and start again fresh if all else fails.

  1. Open the Settings app on the Apple Watch.
  2. Select Reset.
  3. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
  4. Tap Erase All to confirm.

Why is my Apple Watch not measuring heart rate during a workout?

If your Apple Watch is explicitly not measuring your heart rate during workouts, it could be down to an often-forgotten setting that affects the rate at which the heart rate sensor takes readings.

It was introduced with watchOS 9.1, but ensure it’s toggled off to get the most accurate information from your sensors during a workout.

  1. Open the Settings app on the Apple Watch.
  2. Tap Workout.
  3. Toggle off Fewer GPS and Heart Rate Readings.

Did this guide not solve your issue? Our overarching Apple Watch problems and solutions piece has more information on several of the wearable’s issues.


FAQs

If your Apple Watch heart rate tracking is working, but the data doesn’t seem reliable, consider repositioning the watch on your arm. Usually, these issues are due to the watch sitting incorrectly on your wrist.

The Apple Watch’s Fewer GPS and Heart Rate Readings feature could be toggled on. Be sure to toggle it off before starting a run.