Apple Watch - FAQ & Instructions

By Julie J. -

How to get app on your Apple Watch

To get on your Apple Watch, download the app from the iOS App Store at After that, please open the Apple Watch app on your iOS device. Navigate to the "My Watch" screen and scroll down to and select it.  Ensure that "Show App on Apple Watch" is selected.

After you have done that, the app should load on the watch in just a few moments. When it is loaded on the watch, open the app and leave it open on the start screen. You should then go to the app and touch the "Add Device" icon in the upper right corner of the screen to check and make sure is recognizing your Apple Watch.
When you are on the "Devices" menu, make sure Apple Watch is selected under Device Type. From there, try changing your pool size to something other than the default. If the watch and phone app are connected and working properly, you should see the course length change on the start screen of the watch almost immediately after changing it.

 How do I set a custom course length?

To set a custom course length, open the app on your watch and leave it on the workout startup screen. Then, open the iOS app and select settings (cog symbol in upper left
corner) > Devices > Apple Watch >Custom Pool Size.  

When you are done setting the course length, tap "Done". The app start screen on your watch should immediately reflect this new course length. 

On the watch itself, you can toggle between a standard and custom course length by tapping on the grey course length box on the workout start screen. Doing so will expose a menu in which you can choose between courses by rotating the crown button (touching the screen to scroll is not an option).  The watch will always store the last course you used, so your custom course will be there until you go back to using a standard course length.  If you go back to a standard length, the next time that you need to use a custom length you will need to re-program it.

If you are having trouble with the course length feature not behaving correctly, try force quitting the app on your iPhone and re-opening it.  If that does not solve the issue, try powering down your watch and phone and restarting them before attempting to change the course length again.  As a last resort, try re-installing on your iPhone.

Do I have to lock the screen before starting

The act of starting a workout on locks the screen and you do not need to manually do this from the watch OS menu. When you start swimming, the watch screen will go dark after a few moments. When you stop at the wall to rest, the screen will come back on if you lift your wrist to look at the watch (as long as you have this option enabled in Settings>General>Wake Screen). If you do not have wrist raise wake enabled, just push the crown button to wake the screen.

Again, you do not need to manually lock the screen from the Watch OS settings for The watch should not encounter any water damage from regular use, regardless of locking the screen or not.  Locking the screen only prevents the water from producing false touches, it does not affect the hardware's waterproofing. If you want to, after you are done working out you can manually eject any water that might be remaining in the speaker by swiping up from the watch's home screen, selecting the water drop icon, and manually ejecting any remaining water by turning the watch crown.

For more information on the water resistance rating of the Apple Watch 2, please visit

How do I end my workout?

When you are done swimming, you will need to perform a force touch on the screen to bring up the "End Workout" option.  You'll want to touch the screen and press with a small amount of force, just a bit more than you use with your usual touch, and hold it there until the end workout screen comes up.  It can take a few moments, but if you continue to keep your finger on the screen and press you'll see the screen start to contract towards the middle, and then the end workout screen will appear. 
The force touch, which can take some practice to master, is not a specific action to - lots of other Apple Watch apps use it. You will get better at it with practice.  We have use the force touch to end the workout because the other physical buttons on the watch are reserved for WatchOS functions.

After you end the workout, you should be able to see a workout summary. When this appears, scroll to the bottom of this and touch the blue "finished' button.


How do I get my data to sync to Apple Health and Activity?
When you have first installed the app, you will be prompted to link Apple Health with To get the best results, please turn all categories on.

If you are not freshly installing the app, you will need to navigate to the Apple Health App on your iOS device and select the "Sources" tab at the bottom of the screen. should be in the list of apps that you can source data from. Select it and then you can choose which data sets from you want to sync with Apple Health.

Selecting all of these options will also allow workouts to be registered on the Apple Activity app.  Apple Health may not pull workout data from that was completed prior to connecting to Apple Health.

New for iOS version 2.x: If you have all categories selected, you can complete workouts with the native Apple lap swim tracker on your Apple Watch and they will be registered in your swim log as workouts.

How do I start a drill mode?

After you start your workout, if you don't immediately start swimming with one of the four standard strokes (free, fly, breast, back), you will be in rest mode. You will also be in rest mode anytime you stop to rest at the wall between any lengths completed with those standard strokes. Rest mode is identified by the red text on the screen that says "resting" as opposed to the green "swimming". While in rest mode, force touch the screen to expose the drill/pace/end workout menu.


If this is your first time using drill mode, a short prompt will explain how to use the feature. To set your drill mode distance, touch the blue "Start Drill Mode" button and then use the digital crown button or touch screen to set the desired distance. When you are ready to start the drill, you can either simultaneously press the digital crown and side buttons to start the drill or force touch the screen again and touch "start" and it will take you back to your workout screen and show you the drill distance and a running timer. If you are not ready to use drill mode, force touch and select "exit". When you are done swimming the drill, force touch again and your options will include electing a new drill distance or exiting drill mode.

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How do I set the pace/send-off timer?

At the beginning of your workout (right after you hit the blue start button) you will see the watch is in resting mode. This is noted in red text on the screen.

While in rest mode, force touch the screen to expose the drill/pace/end workout menu.


If this is your first time using the pace/send-off timer, a short prompt will explain how to use the feature. To set your desired pace duration, touch the blue "Start Pace Mode" button and then use the digital crown button to set the desired duration. When you are ready to start the timer, simultaneously press the digital crown and side buttons and it will take you back to your workout screen. If you are not ready to use the timer, force touch to exit the mode.

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How do I use the pre-loaded workout functionality? 

Beginning with version 2.1 of the mobile app, you now have the ability to export a workout plan to your watch so you can follow it along during your workout! No more memorizing what you were supposed to do or carrying a card to the lane with you!

You'll want to start with the workouts tab on your mobile app.

The workouts tab allows you to select workouts from's library or create your own. In order to get those workouts to your watch, you must start by adding the workouts to your favorites list.

To add a workout to your favorites, find one that suits your needs and select it. Then, touch the ellipses in the upper right corner.

You can favorite as many workouts on the mobile app as you would like, but you can only have up to three stored on the watch at one time. To remove the workout from your watch you would need to un-favorite it from the mobile app, following the same steps as above.

Now that you have favorite workouts loaded into your mobile app, you're ready to swim with the watch app!

On the watch app start screen, touch "Select Workout". Find the workout you want on the screen by swiping from right to left and then hit the blue "Select" button. If you do not want to swim the workout, select the red "No Workout" button. After selecting the workout, it will display on the start screen and you can now start your workout.

To access the workout plan, you will need to swipe from right to left to expose it.


To view the prescribed intervals, use the digital crown button on the side of the watch to scroll down. The first screen you see will show the entire warmup set in smaller text. As you scroll down you will see that set broken into different sections, if applicable, and those will be shown in larger text.

This continues on through the main sets and cool down. Many beginner workouts will not contain multiple sections within a warm-up, main set, or cool down and may appear on the watch workout sequence to be "duplicates". This is not actually the case, again, it's just that several of the beginner workouts do not have multiple sections within a set.

During a rest period, you can always swipe over to this screen if you need a reminder of what you are supposed to be doing for your next interval. Here is how this particular example workout progresses.

When you are done swimming, end the workout like normal by force touching the screen. Below you can see the results of this swimmer that swam this example workout.

At this time, these workout prescriptions are available to view during rest periods as a reference and are not setup to automatically prompt you with the information during the workout. You must manually go to view the information.


What can I do if workouts are not transferring from my Apple watch to

If you are unable to sync workouts, resetting the Bluetooth connection between the watch and phone app can sometimes help. To do this, first force close the app on your Apple Watch ( and then force close the app on your iOS device ( Then shut down and restart both devices. Once both device are running, open the iOS app, then open the watch app.  Give the devices about 15 minutes to sync data. You can refresh your feed on the iOS app by toggling between the Progress and Swim tabs.

The app isn't counting my distance correctly, why?
If you are getting wildly inaccurate lap or distance results, try a different turn technique at the wall.  Our app's algorithms require that you perform a flip or open turn at the wall (preferably using your watch hand to touch the wall).  If you can't perform those types of turns, at minimum you will need to push off the wall with your feet and glide for a few yards before resuming your stroke.  If your turn consists of swimming to the wall, touching it, turning, and immediately resuming your stroke, you will likely get incorrect lap counts because there is not enough of a difference in your motion pattern for the watch to interpret a turn happened - it looks like one giant, continuous length to the watch. The watch needs the rapid acceleration off the wall combined with the pause in arm motion by gliding through the water to understand that a turn happened.

Other factors that could produce inaccurate lap counts are: 1) switching stroke type mid-length 2) pausing for several seconds to let another swimmer pass you in the lane 3) low stroke rates on your length 4) not using drill mode for kickboard drills

I don't want to see distance, I'd rather see lap count, how do I change that?
To change this setting, open the iOS app.  Navigate to Settings>Devices>Apple Watch. Touch "Distance Units" to open a menu in which you can choose from yards/meters, laps, or lengths.

Why isn't heart rate data displayed in my workout stats?

We've noticed that the Apple Watch HR is not as accurate in water as it is on land based activities, and this likely has to do with water getting trapped between the sensor and your wrist. This can cause some pretty erratic and incorrect readings. Because of these incorrect readings, we have decided to hold off on putting heart rate metrics into the workout analysis (for now). False HR data could potentially hinder those who are using it for HR zone training.

Eventually we want the stats on a workout analysis to include total workout average heart rate, average heart rate per interval, and also per length. We're hoping that WHR accuracy while under water will improve in future devices, and if that happens, we'll revisit adding HR data to our stats analysis.

Currently, you can only see your total average heart rate for the workout on the file in Apple's Activity App.

Why are my workouts showing 0 calories on Apple's Activity app?
The 0 calories report on the workout summary in Activity is happening because we don't actually support the calorie metric yet on Apple has the calorie metric API open to us in Activity - so it's definitely possible to add it, and we will be investigating it for a future app update.  However, there are currently issues with the HR data coming from the Apple Watch, which can affect the accuracy of calories burned while swimming.

You can usually get a ballpark estimate of calories burned using height, weight, age, and gender, but in order to get it within an acceptable rate of accuracy you also need to include fitness level. Heart rate data is really the only way to put a quantitative measure on fitness level (aside from V02 max, which likely isn't coming to swim tracking devices soon).  The Apple Watch is the first device we've supported the HR metric on, mostly because it's one of the only devices that works in water without requiring a special swimming HR chest strap and hasn't had WHR disabled while swimming.  Because the HR data coming from the Apple Watch is not to our accuracy standards yet, we likely won't include calorie count until it does.

While you are getting a 0 calories burned result for the workout in Activity, you may notice that you ARE getting calorie count in Activity's "Move" ring, though. This is happening because Activity is adding estimated calories burned from the data it is taking from your Apple Watch. The Apple Watch has auto-detection algorithms for swimming, so even if you do not start a native apple watch workout and you go swimming, it will pick up these strokes and add them to your data.  This happens simultaneously while recording a swim workout with the app. See the screen shot below that illustrates this.

This breakdown is available if you open the Health app and then navigate to Activity>Swimming Distance and then tap on the graph. There you will be given a list of dates and you can further break it down on each day, which is the screenshot above. Here you can see Health is pulling data sourced from AND from Apple Watch's auto detection algorithms at the same time.  Health is taking that data sourced from the Apple Watch auto algorithms and then adding that to your calorie total (the Move ring in Activity).  When you view the workout itself though (sourced from on Activity, you'll get a 0 calorie because we're not writing that data.

Can I use with a first generation Apple Watch?

The app software will work with your first generation Apple Watch. However, the device does not have sufficient water resistance to be safely used while swimming. Swimming with this device could damage it and void any applicable warranties. For more information on the first generation Apple Watch and water resistance, please refer to this help article from Apple:


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