When you’ve finished recording a workout with Apple Watch, you can look forward to all your hard work in the Activity application on your iPhone. This provides all kinds of useful charts, maps, and trends to show you how you are doing.
But what if you saved this workout by accident? Or if you forgot to log in to a workout? You can’t edit Apple Watch workouts on your watch or in the Activity app on your iPhone. Fortunately, however, there is still a way to set the record straight. Here’s how to change Apple Watch workouts.
What happens to your Apple Watch training data?
If you want to change your training history, it helps to understand exactly what happens to your data when you finish a workout.
Depending on the type of training, your Apple Watch collects various statistics, such as heart rate, speed, and rhythm. For outdoor training such as running and cycling, it also records your route. Apple stores this data as a series of “samples. Each sample is a measure of something at a specific time. So, for example, your route map is actually a series of coordinate samples plotting your location at regular intervals.
When you’ve finished your workout, these samples are grouped in batches and synced to your iPhone for storage in HealthKit. iOS stores this encrypted database in a special folder Secure enclave, far from prying eyes. The reason for all this security is that HealthKit also stores all of your sensitive medical data.
The Apple Health app is designed to let you manage your HealthKit data, so this is where you should look if you want to modify your workouts.
How to Delete an Apple Watch Workout
Deleting workouts is easy. Open the Health application and go to the Summary screen. (You may need to double-tap the heart icon at the bottom of the screen to return to it.) Scroll down to workouts and tap it. You will be presented with lots of graphics, but ignore all of that. Instead, scroll down and press View all data.
Then you will see a long list of all the workouts you have saved. Blue watch icon indicates workouts you have recorded with Apple’s built-in function Doing exercises app. Simply slide your finger to the right during training to reveal the Remove button.
When you press Remove, you will be asked if you want to delete the health data associated with it. This is a handy feature if you accidentally recorded daily activity as if it were a workout. For example, when I go to stores, my Apple Watch sometimes automatically detects a workout on foot. By removing training while preserving the associated health data, walking still contributes to my activity rings, but is no longer displayed as training.
How to Change an Apple Watch Workout
Editing training is possible but more delicate. Return to the Health app View all data the screen and find the workout you want to change. Press it to get the Details view. At the top of this screen, you will see Sample details and Device details. Scroll through these to find Training samples. These included Energy (in calories), Heartbeat and (for certain types of training) Not and Distance.
Tapping on one of these sample types brings up a time-stamped list of all samples taken during training. You can delete a sample here if you wish. For example, there may be a rogue heart rate reading that you know is just a problem and that spoils the average.
The only type of sample that the Health app currently does not allow you to modify is your location coordinates. Probably because it would be too easy to falsify your route map if it were.
How to add a workout to the Activity app
For most of us, editing a workout is probably more complicated than it is worth it. It’s easier to delete a fishy workout and add a new one instead. In fact, adding a workout manually couldn’t be easier. In the Health app, go to Browse> Activity> Workouts and press Add data (top right). You can now select a training type, enter the start and end time, add calories and, for some training types, the distance.
This comes in handy if you are training on a cardio machine in the gym, but forget to wear your Apple Watch. You can simply enter the details directly into the phone when you are finished.
A great power implies great responsibilities
Calories entered manually in this way contribute to your Activity Rings. Which means Apple places great trust in you. Especially if you are participating in an activity challenge with a friend.
But in the end, if you’re lying about your workout activity, the only person you really cheat is yourself.