We see that the Apple Watch sends step data from its accelerometers to the iPhone 6 (and above) which also has accelerometers.

When you walk holding both an (recent) Apple phone and Apple Watch - you trigger accelerometers on both. This raises the risk of duplicate data.

We can see data from both devices in the health App. enter image description here

My question is: What stops step data from the accelerometers on the phone and watch from doubling up?

  • Without any evidence at hand, I assume the software has been designed robustly enough to be able to discriminate between the inputs from both accelerometers to mitigate this circumstance. I would hazard a guess that when the iPhone detects accelerometer input from the iWatch, it discounts input from its own accelerometers. To push the concept forwards, it is more likely the inputs on both accelerometers are analyzed and processed in sync for greater accuracy.
    – IconDaemon
    Jul 8, 2016 at 12:06

1 Answer 1


Apple Health is smart. It automatically aggregates step data, so that every minute, it takes the step count from the last 60 seconds from the device with the highest input and adds that to the daily total. It knows when the measurements from each device were started and when they ended, and it makes sure to not include any steps from two sources measured at the same time. This is a post-processing thing, not in the time of measurement: it's not that the Apple Watch shuts off the iPhone's accelerometer; rather, they both generate step data, as in your screenshot, but Health figures out which step counts to use from both in an aggregation-type process after the fact, getting you the most accurate and complete step count possible, while not exaggerating.

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