You can use Apple Fitness+ on iPhone without an Apple Watch

According to Apple, the company’s newest subscription service, Fitness+, requires an Apple Watch to use. However, it turns out that’s not the case after all.

While trying to confirm that Fitness+ doesn’t work with AirPlay, per a separate report, we confirmed that Fitness+ on the iPhone actually doesn’t require an Apple Watch to use after all. When opening a new fitness routine, the workout will typically start up as soon as you hit “Let’s Go”. That’s if you have an Apple Watch strapped to your wrist — and updated to watchOS 7.2.

However. If you don’t have an Apple Watch, or if your Apple Watch isn’t upgraded to the latest version of watchOS just yet (like this author’s isn’t), then you’ll get a prompt saying you can work out without the Apple Watch.

The deal here is that if you want Apple Fitness+ to track your metrics, like your heart rate, calories burned, and more, you’ll need that Apple Watch. Otherwise, without the smartwatch strapped to your wrist, the only element that Fitness+ appears to track is the time spent within the workout session. That might be enough for some folks, but it’s certainly not the full experience Apple intended Fitness+ users to have.

Apple’s own FAQ regarding Fitness+ and the Apple Watch says this:

Do you need an Apple Watch?

  • Yes. Apple Watch personalizes your Apple Fitness+ experience by integrating your personal metrics, like your heart rate and the calories you burn, into every workout. It brings them to life on the screen to keep you informed and motivated. To use Apple Fitness+ on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, an Apple Watch Series 3 or later is required.


It would stand to reason that this will be the same for the iPad as well. However, at the time of publication the Fitness app is still not available for many iPad owners, due to an apparent App Store bug not allowing for any downloads of the app.

This may be good news for folks who don’t have an Apple Watch, but still want to take advantage of Fitness+.

Are you glad to see Apple didn’t make Apple Watch ownership a strict requirement for Fitness+?