Everything You Need to Know About Your Apple Watch Move Goal

Estimated read time 8 min read

Closeup of an Apple Watch Series 7 with the three goal rings closing.

If you don’t fully understand how your Apple Watch Move goal works, what it should be set at, and how to fill your rings, it can be hard to use it as a motivational tool. Here are some tips to help you master your fitness-oriented wearable.

What Is a Move Goal?

Your Move goal is a simple way of visualizing how much energy you have burned through movement each day. Also known as active energy, your Move goal makes up the outer ring of your three Apple Watch activity rings with the others being Exercise and Stand.

You can add your Move goal to most Apple Watch faces as a complication, display it on your iPhone home screen as a widget, or check up on how you’re doing in the Fitness app on your iPhone.

Apple Watch Move ring in the Fitness app

Your Move goal is fully adjustable, so you can use it as a way of pushing yourself to do better in the future, or use it as a “bare minimum” amount of activity you want to achieve on any normal day. There are no strict rules here, it’s up to you how to see your Move goal and what it should be.

How to Change Your Apple Watch Move Goal

You must change your Move goal on your Apple Watch. To do this, launch the Activity app on your Watch (also accessible by tapping your Activity rings) then scroll down to the bottom of the screen.

Tap on “Change Goals” and set your Move goal to whatever value you want. If you don’t see this option, make sure you’re on the “first” page by swiping right until you see your rings. You’ll then be able to change each goal independently, though you might want to leave Exercise and Stand at 30 minutes and 12 hours respectively.

Set Apple Watch Move goal
Tim Brookes

You can switch between calories, kilocalories, and kilojoules by launching the Watch app on your iPhone and navigating to Workout > Units of Measurement.

RELATED: What Is Heart Rate Variability (HRV) on Apple Watch, and Why Does It Matter?

What Should Your Apple Watch Move Goal Be Set To?

It might seem difficult to settle on a Move goal, but when you first get your Watch you will be provided with an attainable goal based on a few factors like age. You should be able to easily achieve this goal and it won’t be long before your Watch starts suggesting increasing your goal.

The only issue here is that your Watch will keep encouraging you to increase your Move goal each time you beat it until you decline. Even a professional athlete wouldn’t be able to keep up with perpetual Move goal increases so, at some point, you’re going to need to settle on a number that works for you.

Hit Apple Watch goals
Tim Brookes

There are a few ways to do this. If you don’t consider yourself hugely active, don’t spend hours a week in the gym, but want to make sure you’re moving enough you can set a Move goal that reflects an “achievable” amount of exercise. This might involve a 30-minute walk on top of a regular workday, which you can figure out by looking at your Move ring in the Activity app at the end of the day.

If you’re especially active and you have an exercise regime, you might want your Move goal to reflect your rest days so that you aren’t overdoing it when you should be taking it easy. You could also set a Move goal that’s in keeping with your workout days, but make sure to drop it on your rest days (for which there are no penalties).

RELATED: 5 Awesome Workouts to Do with Friends

What Is a Move Streak on Apple Watch?

When you manage to achieve your Move goal on consecutive days, you begin a Move streak. You’ll get a notification each day you achieve your longest Move streak, and you’ll keep chaining your streak until you happen to miss your Move goal.

Your Move streak can help motivate you to complete your Move goal each day since if you miss one day you’ll have to start from the start again. You won’t see that “longest Move streak” notification until you surpass your previous best, so keep on top of your Move goal to keep your streak going.

Apple Watch Move streak
Tim Brookes

If you build up hundreds of days worth of Move streak, it can be frustrating to start over again. Pay attention to the “you can do it” motivational notifications your Watch sends you near the end of the day and remember to drop your Move goal on rest days when you aren’t working out.

How to Fill Your Apple Watch Move Ring Each Day

Earning your Move ring each day may seem difficult, but there are a few ways to make it easier. Recording all of your workouts is the best way to do this, especially walking. While “going out for a walk” and “walking to the shops” might seem like different activities in your head, you’ll get a more accurate measure of active energy by recording them as if they were the same.

You may even feel motivated to walk at a brisker pace, take the stairs instead of an escalator, or get off the bus a few stops early to earn more of your Move goal. Your Apple Watch will detect general movement if you aren’t recording a workout, but you’ll earn it at a slower pace.

Record Workouts on Apple Watch

There are also lots of other labels you can use to record activities that increase your heart rate, like Fitness Gaming and Social Dancing. The more you record, the more data you’ll accrue, and you’ll get more insights into things like recovery rate, VO₂ max, and overall cardio fitness.

To add a new exercise type, launch the Workout app and scroll down to the bottom of the list and tap “Add” then choose your activity from the list.

RELATED: 7 Video Games for Fitness and Exercise

Can You Earn Move With Other Apple Watch Apps?

You can earn activity toward your Move ring with many third-party apps provided you record the activity on your Apple Watch. That means using an app like Strava or RunKeeper on your Apple Watch itself, rather than running the app on your iPhone.

Strava app on Apple Watch
Tim Brookes

Apple added the ability for third-party apps to record workout activity within the Activity app in watchOS 2.0, but the app developer will need to support this functionality. If you’re not sure whether your chosen app will count toward your Move ring, record a test workout and take stock of your active energy before and after you finish.

Activities recorded with the Workout app that comes with your Apple Watch will always count toward your Move goal.

Can You Earn Apple Watch Move With iPhone Apps?

For an activity to count toward your Move goal, it must be recorded on your Apple Watch. This means you cannot record a cycle or hike in the Strava app for iPhone and have it count toward your Watch Move goal. You’ll need to use the Strava app on your Apple Watch instead.

This is the case regardless of whether you have linked Strava with the Fitness app on your iPhone. Activities will be visible in the Fitness app and even affect your total active energy levels, but your Move rings won’t budge.

RELATED: Take the Trail Less Traveled with These Hiking Apps

Can You Turn Off Your Apple Watch Move Goal?

Your Move goal can’t be turned off but you can pretty much ignore it by disabling notifications. To do this, launch the Watch app on your iPhone and navigate to Activity and select “Notifications off” at the top of the page.

Disable Apple Watch Activity Notifications

You can also disable “Stand Reminders” to remove stand goal notifications or leave them on if you’d like the odd reminder to stand up and move around. If you’re not going to bother with your Move goal, you’ll probably want to remove the Activity complication from your Watch face too.

Do More With Your Apple Watch

An Apple Watch can be an invaluable exercise tool. You can count your steps, monitor heart rate variability, and use the mindfulness app to meditate. It can even detect falls and call the emergency services for you.

Check out our other top tricks and tips for Apple Watch owners.

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