Motion and Fitness tracking

Newer iPhones come with a chip called a motion coprocessor which gathers data from the accelerometers, gyroscopes and compasses of the device to precisely measure motion and fitness data such as body motion, step count, stairs climbed, and more. Most people, including yours truly, do appreciate the data collected as it’s particularly helpful if you want to use your iPhone as a step counter and pedometer, for instance. Others are creeped out by this feature.

If you belong to the latter group of people, then I will show you a quick and easy way to stop your iPhone from tracking your steps and other fitness activity.

Your motion and fitness activity is private

Before we move forward, I want to make clear that all the health data collected by your iPhone is in no way shared with anyone, not even Apple. It stays on your device, or if you sometimes perform iCloud backups, it is safely encrypted so no one besides you can access this data.

I feel this is important to highlight, but something tells me that it still won’t be enough to convince privacy freaks. If you’re one of them, or simply if you don’t want your iPhone to keep track of your steps, then here is what to do.

Disabling Motion & Fitness tracking on iPhone

Note these instructions were written for iPhone, but the steps are exactly identical should you want to turn off fitness and motion tracking on your iPad.

1) Go to Settings > Privacy > Motion & Fitness. You will see a list of applications that can access your fitness activity. You may disable apps individually, or just turn off the master switch all together.

2) If you want to disable any kind of activity tracking on your device, simply toggle off the Fitness Tracking button.

And just like that, you stopped your iPhone from counting your steps, and tracking your motion, and more.

Now if you’re really afraid about your privacy, here are other way you can increase it:

Out of curiosity, who among you turns off motion and fitness tracking on iOS, and why?


  • Marko

    I turned it off – I simply have no need for motion and fitness tracking, none whatsoever, and it must be using at least some battery. So I switched it off.
    On the rare occasions that I need to track my movement, I use MapMyRun, but I activate it manually when I need it. Rarely.

    • Any significant battery savings after disabling it?

      • Marko

        Actually – I don’t know. I’ve disabled it a long time ago so ICouldn’t possibly tell you if it does any good to the batt and how much. But since I never needed it nor looked at it, I belive it’s better off than on, at least for me…

      • mickey

        I do like to track my steps but I’m also a battery hound. This wasn’t a thorough test by any means but out of curiosity I’ve tried a work week (when usage is pretty consistent) with and without and saw no significant difference day to day. I pretty much ended up with approximately the same battery level every day. The motion sensor was also activated with 30 min walks twice daily with my dog.

    • racerhomie2

      the co motion processor was just designed to perform the specific tasks.SO they do not use any noticeable power

  • Shane Sparky

    I keep it on. I find it interesting to see how far I walked on certain days with friends. I’ve compared with others who did the same walk between certain times and it’s +|- a few steps surprisingly. I never did a battery test to see how much battery it uses but I heard it’s very minimal.

  • Gary LE

    If I have “fitness tracking” on under privacy and used it to walk 100 steps and then put on my watch to walk another 100 steps then would the “apple health” app log 200 steps total?

  • Peter Janes

    I had to turn off iPhone motion recording to avoid double counts with Garmin Connect

  • Sharath Jeppu

    I need to turn it off as I also have an Apple watch and if I carry my phone during any activity, some of the values like Calories spent seems to get captured by both the devices. So for the same run, I manage to burn significantly higher calories carrying my phone and my watch compared to a run with just my watch.