Does IPhone Track Steps On Treadmill Accurately?

Does IPhone Track Steps On Treadmill Accurately?

With the rise of health and fitness apps, many people rely on their smartphones to track their steps and monitor their overall physical activity. The iPhone, known for its advanced features, is often used as a tracking device. However, when it comes to tracking steps on a treadmill, accuracy becomes a concern.

In this article, we will delve into the topic of whether the iPhone can accurately track steps on a treadmill. We will explore the factors that affect accuracy, discuss the features of the iPhone's step-tracking capabilities, and provide useful tips to optimize your step-tracking experience.

Let's dive in and discover the truth behind this common fitness query.

The iPhone's Step-Tracking Technology

The iPhone's step-tracking technology relies on a combination of hardware and software to estimate your steps. The device uses an accelerometer, and a motion sensor, to measure your movements.

The built-in Health app, along with the CoreMotion framework, analyzes the accelerometer data to calculate step counts. This technology is primarily designed for outdoor activities, like walking or running, where the user's movements are more varied and natural.

Does iPhone Accurately Track Steps on a Treadmill?

Despite its advanced technology, the accuracy of the iPhone's step tracking on a treadmill can be a subject of debate.

When you run or walk outdoors, the iPhone's accelerometer can detect the natural variation in your stride length and pace, resulting in reasonably accurate step counts. However, treadmill workouts introduce certain challenges that can impact the accuracy of step tracking.

The Impact of Consistent Movement on a Treadmill

One of the key challenges with treadmill step tracking is the consistent movement pattern.

Unlike outdoor activities, where terrain, incline, and other factors create variations in your gait, treadmill workouts involve repetitive and controlled movements. This consistent motion can lead to the iPhone's accelerometer interpreting multiple steps as a single stride or vice versa, potentially affecting the accuracy of step counts.

The Role of Arm Movement

The accuracy of the iPhone's step tracking can also be influenced by how you hold your phone during the workout. Many users carry their iPhones in their hands or pockets, which might not accurately capture the arm movements associated with walking or running on a treadmill. Consequently, this may result in the underestimation or overestimation of step counts.

Calibrating Your iPhone for Treadmill Workouts

To improve the accuracy of step tracking on a treadmill, you can calibrate your iPhone. Calibration allows the device to learn and adapt to your specific walking or running pattern on the treadmill. Here's how you can calibrate your iPhone for more accurate step counts:

  1. Open the Health app on your iPhone.
  2. Go to the "Browse" tab and select "Walking + Running Distance."
  3. Tap on "Walking + Running Distance" and then choose "Calibrate."


Can I rely on my iPhone's step tracking for treadmill workouts?

While the iPhone's step-tracking feature is convenient, it may not provide pinpoint accuracy during treadmill workouts. Calibration and carrying your phone in a manner that allows for better arm movement can improve its performance, but it's essential to remember that it is not as precise as specialized fitness trackers.

How accurate is the iPhone's step tracking outdoors?

When used outdoors, the iPhone's step tracking tends to be more accurate due to the varied nature of outdoor movements. It can provide reasonably reliable step counts during walking or running exercises.

Are fitness trackers more accurate than the iPhone for indoor workouts?

Fitness trackers designed explicitly for fitness monitoring often provide more precise step-tracking results for treadmill workouts. These devices are optimized for indoor exercises and may yield more reliable data.

Can I manually adjust step counts on my iPhone?

Yes, the Health app on your iPhone allows you to manually adjust step counts. If you believe that the recorded step count is significantly off, you can edit it to reflect a more accurate figure.

How frequently should I calibrate my iPhone for treadmill workouts?

It is a good practice to recalibrate your iPhone periodically, especially if you change your walking or running pattern on the treadmill. Doing so can help maintain better accuracy.

Is there a significant difference between step counts on different iPhone models?

While the core step-tracking technology is consistent across iPhone models, variations in hardware and sensor sensitivity might result in slightly different step counts between different models. However, the difference is generally negligible.


The iPhone's step-tracking feature can be a convenient way to estimate your steps during treadmill workouts. However, due to the inherent challenges of consistent movements and limited arm movement detection, its accuracy might not match that of specialized fitness trackers.

For casual users and those seeking a rough estimate of their activity levels, the iPhone's step tracking is more than adequate. However, if precise step counts are crucial to your fitness journey, investing in a dedicated fitness tracker might be a wise choice.

Remember, while technology can aid us in monitoring our fitness progress, staying consistent with your workout routine is key to achieving your health and fitness goals.