Certain exercises produce inaccurate heart rate readings on the Apple Watch

Certain exercises produce inaccurate heart rate readings on the Apple Watch
Some Apple Watch users are complaining that their timepiece is not providing them with correct heart rate readings during certain exercises. Some in the middle of a heavy-duty P90X workout, are seeing heart rate readings that are too low. One Apple Watch user says that his timepiece constantly shows him with a heart rate of 60-80 beats per minute (bpm) during exercises that should have his ticker pumping away at a rate of 140bpm or higher. 

One P90X user had a Polar heart rate strap on, with the Polar watch on one wrist, and the Apple Watch on the other. The Polar device showed a heart rate above 160 during the exercise, while the Apple Watch showed a rate of 70-80bpm. Apple has sent replacement watches to users with this issue, but that has not cleared up the heart rate inaccuracies.
 
The Apple Watch uses a method called photoplethysmography that measures blood flow in the wrist, to determine a user's heart rate. Apple's own website lists certain activities that could produce inconsistent results with this process. Activities like tennis and boxing will produce inconsistent and inaccurate heart rate readings on the Apple Watch, because those feature movements that are "irregular." Not surprisingly, exercises that have a certain rhythm, like cycling, or running, will work better with the watch. Still, some users who are doing exercises like running and walking outdoors, both of which are recommended by Apple's workout app, are having the same issues with their Apple Watch.


No word yet from Apple about this. Since they have supposedly sent out replacement watches to some, they are obviously aware of the problem. In addition, you might recall that earlier this year, it was discovered that Apple Watch users with a tattoo on their wrist could not get a heart rate reading from the watch since the ink blocks the sensors on the device. Some claim that moving the watch up toward the elbow will produce a more accurate reading, but Apple does not recommend doing this since it built the watch specifically to be used on the wrist.

source: Apple, Reddit via AppleInsider

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23 Comments

1. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Wow. Apple needs to fix asap. Not good to hear inaccuracies on a fitness regieme that's popular today.

2. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

Fitnessgate 6 months after launch! Apple is doomed never to recover!

3. javy108

Posts: 1004; Member since: Jul 27, 2014

Id never use a smartwatch and I go to the gym, there's no need of this gick for fitness, maybe in 5 years it will be cool and accurate, from now Technology's just going to fast.

4. bur60

Posts: 981; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

You are exercising wrong.

5. DRS1977

Posts: 679; Member since: May 27, 2015

Nobody makes fitness on Apple.™

7. Macready

Posts: 1824; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

I noticed this when I went running with my girlfriend's Watch the other day where it gave me readings up to 50% too high at times, based on my normal range. The other thing I noticed was a lot of lag when switching between apps and screens, something the first Samsung smartwatches were rightfully slammed for.... Inexcusable in 2015 and at this pricepoint though.

8. tedkord

Posts: 17415; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Apple today announced that only 9 people were affected by this.

9. cezarmed2

Posts: 71; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

How could they possibly now that exactly? The government of my country told my people in '90 that 4 people died in the Mineriada Riot but in reality thousands died. Don't belive everything they say.

14. TheWeasel

Posts: 403; Member since: Dec 26, 2014

That was most likely a joke about how Apple claimed that only 9 people claimed to have accidentally bent their iPhones in their pockets, when there were obviously more than that many people affected.

13. 99nights

Posts: 1152; Member since: Mar 10, 2015

They do tend to under exaggerate the numbers, mostly every time.

10. darkkjedii

Posts: 31324; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Just send an update...that works.

11. Michael.Parker

Posts: 273; Member since: Aug 22, 2015

#HeartRateGate

12. Fuego84

Posts: 357; Member since: May 13, 2012

Inexcusable to say it because of certain exercises cause of how you moving your rist. Come on now who checks their heart rate while throwing punches all people working out usually stop moving while they check their heart rate.

15. Furbal unregistered

No wrist bound heart rate monitor is going to be that accurate with things that involve large amounts of movement, not an apple problem here.

18. Tizo101

Posts: 572; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

excuses?

20. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

Fitbit and a few others don't seem to be having this kind of problem...

22. androtaku

Posts: 246; Member since: Dec 12, 2013

Fitbit charge HR and surge has exactly the same problem.

16. iushnt

Posts: 3124; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

Just get Gear S2, problem solved..

17. Tizo101

Posts: 572; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

No that can't be right, remember Apple products 'just work' and they don't lag. In addition, Apple always implements features just right or rather in a perfect way as compared to others... Yeah, right.

19. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

"Where there is lot of hand movements"

21. yourmom

Posts: 82; Member since: Feb 21, 2015

$500 + for inaccurate heart rate LOL! my camera flash can give better results for free

23. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

#Fitgate

25. mannyfs

Posts: 69; Member since: Feb 11, 2011

i have the apple watch and this is true, i excerise with it and that was the main reason why i bought it to track the calories and heart rate. when im using it to work out sometimes it jumps from 150 to 70 or something when im totally out of breath so it can't be accurate. i hope they fix this or give us an exchange because it was expensive and like i said it was my main reason to buy an apple watch

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