Fascinating: this is how the Apple Watch tracks swimming

The Apple Watch can track your swims ever since the Series 2, but do you know how exactly is it able to do something so complex?

Tracking things like running is not that hard: after all, you are outdoors and you have GPS coordinates that a device can easily track, but what about those times when you under the water? That definitely makes things more complex. And if you thought that swim tracking is easy, think again: PopSci has spoken with Apple executives in a deep dive that explains the different technologies that make this feature possible. It's a fascinating read and you can find the whole thing at the source at the bottom of this here article.

In a nutshell, it's a combination of using various sensors: the gyro, the accelerometer, but also GPS, and all of that is possible because Apple carefully studied many swimmers. It found something interesting: not all swimmers are the same. Professionals have a very distinct pattern for different styles and their butterfly is very different from their breast stroke, but the patterns are not so clear with amateur swimmers. Also, professionals do a flip in the water everytime they are about to reach the end of a lap, again something hard to measure. Take a look at the explanation below:

Did you also know that it is important to correctly manually state the length of the pool to get good measurements?

Finally, another curious detail that Apple revealed about its swimming tracking, is that the company has special measurements to estimate calories burned. Thing is that a beginner swimmer will use much more effort to finish a single lap, while an experience swimmer will glide more effortlessly, using less calories. The watch takes all of that into account: it uses the on-board sensors to look for the yaw changes when you finish a lap, and it also counts your strokes, using both these two estimate total calorie burn.

So next time you take that Apple Watch out for a swim, pay attention to the accuracy of the tracking and share your experience with it in the comments section. Remember that swimming tracking works on Apple Watch Series 2 and later.

source: PopSci



1. notfair

Posts: 776; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

Only 9 Apple articles today ... not good PA, you can do more and better than this... go at least for 10 please.

4. Iodine

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Write one yourself if you wish.

13. sgodsell

Posts: 7606; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Here's a good start to an article. "Fascinating that the Apple watch only supports iPhones still after it's 3rd generation". How is that for a starting title? Or what about this title. "Apple watch face is off for most of its life? What about Apple watch is the only smart watch that thinks it has multiple styles. Yet Apple thinks a style is a difference material, or color? Too long?

5. nepalisherpa

Posts: 338; Member since: Jul 17, 2015

Don't visit PA...as simple as that!

7. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Another butthurt Samsung fanboy...lol

2. nikhil23

Posts: 505; Member since: Dec 07, 2016

Gear S3 uses accelerometer and gyroscope to detect the hand movement to find out if you're on a elliptical trainer or if you're doing squats. It works pretty well.

12. Sessy0007

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 05, 2017

You right Nikhil23... u don't know why i will go for Apple watch when i have a my Samsung Gear S3

3. Iodine

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Still, you can only do that much with a gyro in a watch. Unless you are a robot, calories are just a rough estimate.

6. RevolutionA

Posts: 529; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

Interesting article though

8. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Very advanced and intelligent method. I doubt Android fans will ever even understand how this works...lol Because most of them are 12 year olds and uneducated time wasters.

11. slashas

Posts: 147; Member since: Jul 17, 2017

Fascinating when my Garmin Fenix 3 already doing it for ages, nothing impressive here, it is impressive maybe for Apple as a company :)

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