iOS 16 Introduces New Activity Awards for Fitness+ Workouts

The best part is that these awards are even retroactive!
iOS 16 Apple Fitness Plus Awards Credit: Jesse Hollington
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With iOS 16 and watchOS 9, Apple is adding even more motivational awards to encourage you to stay fit. The third betas of both operating systems released this week now feature a new series of dedicated badges to reward you for completing certain milestones in Apple’s Fitness+ workouts.

Activity Awards have been a staple of the Apple Watch since its debut in 2015. These awards initially complemented the basic move, exercise, and stand goals to help users stay fit over the longer term. Virtual trophies were awarded for exceeding move goals, closing one or all of your activity rings each week, setting new records, and closing your rings for multiple days or weeks in a row.

Apple later expanded this with regular monthly activity challenges tailored to your fitness routine, plus limited edition challenges for things like Heart Month, International Women’s Day, and Earth Day, where users could earn special badges by completing particular objectives on specific days.

Now it’s broadening that category in this year’s iOS and watchOS updates with a new set of unique badges for Apple Fitness+ subscribers. Unlike the regular goals and challenges, these badges can only be unlocked by completing Fitness+ workouts. However, Fitness+ workouts will still contribute to the standard awards as they always have.

Like other Awards in Apple’s Fitness app (formerly the Activity app), the new Fitness+ badges have a unique shape that sets them apart as their own category. Awards for records are typically circular, while a hexagon is used for completing streaks and challenges, and a banner badge recognizes doubling, tripling, or quadrupling your move goal on a given day.

The new Fitness+ awards are instead represented by a more squared cross-like design. The Fitness+ awards fall into three sub-categories, although the same shape is used for all of them.

  1. First Workouts. Like the standard Workout awards, a new badge is awarded the first time you complete a new type of Fitness+ workout, such as Core, Cycling, or even a Mindful Cooldown. It’s kind of a “gimme” badge, as even a basic five-minute workout counts, but each one is stamped with a date that will help remind you when you started a new workout regimen. It may also encourage you to try different workout styles. Time to Walk and Time to Run workouts are also included here.
  2. Number of Workouts. Additional badges are awarded at specific milestones for the total number of Fitness+ workouts completed and the number of each type. For example, 100 Fitness+ Workouts overall or 50 Core Fitness+ Workouts.
  3. Best Workouts. A golden badge appears for each workout where you’ve reached a certain threshold. It’s unclear how this one works, but we suspect that, like the original Move and Exercise record awards, it only kicks in after you’ve done a certain number of workouts. Otherwise, you’d get this badge on your very first workout.

The best part of this is that these awards are retroactive; once you update to iOS 16 and watchOS 9, you’ll be awarded badges based on all the Fitness+ workouts you’ve done since the very beginning, although you may have to complete a Fitness+ workout after updating before they appear.

In my case, I received a badge for my first Fitness+ Core and Strength workouts on December 14, 2020 — the day Apple Fitness+ launched.

Note that there may be other types of Fitness+ awards available as well, but like other Activity Awards, Apple has hidden many of these away as surprises, so you’ll only find out about them once you achieve whatever their goals are.

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