Here’s What to Do If Your Apple Watch Is Missing GPS and Health Data

Nike Apple Watch Outdoor Run Credit: KANUT PHOTO / Shutterstock
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Having unusual problems with GPS tracking or health data on your Apple Watch after updating to watchOS 7 or iOS 14 on your iPhone? You are not alone.

Right after watchOS 7 and iOS 14 were released, a growing number of users started reporting issues with GPS tracking when exercising outside.

Not only is the Apple Watch not recording distance correctly, but some people are having problems with workout and health data. Apple reportedly is working to patch the issue, but until then, Apple has provided a temporary solution. Be prepared as it’s a doozy. 

What Issues Are People Experiencing? 

According to Apple’s support forums and the company’s website, the issues people are experiencing include the following:

  • Your workout route maps are missing in the Fitness app on iPhone for previous GPS-enabled workouts from your Apple Watch.
  • The Activity, Heart Rate, or other health-related apps fail to launch or load data on your Apple Watch.
  • The Fitness app or Health app fails to launch or load data on your iPhone.
  • The Health app or Fitness app is reporting an inaccurate amount of data storage on your iPhone.
  • The Activity app is reporting an inaccurate amount of data storage on your Apple Watch.
  • Your environmental sound levels data or headphone audio levels data from Apple Watch is missing in the Health app on iPhone.
  • Increased battery drain on your iPhone or Apple Watch.

These issues are appearing after someone has updated their existing hardware to watchOS 7 and iOS 14. These issues are not confined to older hardware; even newer models, like last year’s Apple Watch Series 5, also are affected.  

How to Fix the Issue

Apple’s solution to this issue is no easy task. Apple recommends that you unpair your Watch from your iPhone, back up your phone, and then erase and restore both the Watch and the iPhone.

Step 1: Unpair your Apple Watch from your iPhone.

The first step is to unpair your Apple Watch from your iPhone as follows.

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the My Watch tab.
  3. Tap All Watches at the top and find your Watch.
  4. Tap the info button next to your Watch.
  5. Tap Unpair Apple Watch.​

During this process, the Apple Watch app will create a backup that you can use to restore your Apple Watch at the end.

Step 2: Back up your iPhone.

Before creating a backup, ensure that you have enough iCloud storage and that the health data is included in the backup.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap your name at the top.
  3. Tap iCloud.
  4. Scroll until you see Health. Make sure it is turned on (green is on).
  5. Scroll until you see iCloud Backup and tap to turn it on.
  6. Tap Back Up Now to create a backup and wait for it to complete.

Before you erase your iPhone, you should make sure that your Health data was successfully backed up.

  1. Open the Health app and tap on your profile icon in the upper left corner.
  2. Scroll to the bottom to confirm that the backup date listed is the most recent one.

If it is an older date, please wait for the backup to finish and check again. If it still is incorrect after the backup is complete, repeat the above steps to add the health data to the backup and initiate another backup.

Step 3: Erase your iPhone.

The next step in this process is to erase your iPhone using the following steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap General
  3. Scroll down and tap Reset.
  4. Tap Erase All Content and Settings.

You may have to enter your Apple account password to remove Find My iPhone and iCloud from the device.

Step 4: Restore your iPhone and Apple Watch .

The final step in this process is to restore both your iPhone and Apple Watch. Turn on your iPhone and begin the setup process. Be sure to choose “Restore from your iCloud Backup” during setup. Once your iPhone is restored, you need to repair and restore your Apple Watch.

Restore your Watch by making sure it is turned on and located near your iPhone. Per Apple’s instructions, start by opening the Watch app on your iPhone. Select “Start Pairing” and follow the prompts to pair your Watch. During the setup steps, be sure to choose “Restore from Backup” and select the most recent backup to restore.

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