How do I set up and use Activity sharing on my Apple Watch? You’ll need to invite people using your iPhone.
If you like to workout with friends or find a little healthy competition between you and someone else important to achieving your fitness goals, the Activity app can help you out. When you enable Sharing on your iPhone and Apple Watch, other people can view your progress and compare and challenge themselves to work out as hard or harder than you, and even send you taunting messages along the way.
- What Activity data gets shared when I connect with friends?
- How to turn on Activity Sharing
- How to share your Activity rings without using Activity Sharing
- How to view your friends’ Shared Activity data
- How to view, mute, and remove a specific friend’s Activity data on your iPhone
- How to hide your activity data from your friends
- How Apple’s Activity Sharing security works
What Activity data gets shared when I connect with friends?
When you add a pal to your Sharing screen, you’ll see all their Activity data from that day forward — and they’ll get all of yours, too. But what exactly is Activity data? It breaks down into a few categories:
- Your day’s Activity rings (Move, Exercise, and Stand) and your personal goals for each
- Calories burned
- Minutes exercised
- Hours stood
- Steps taken
- Distance traveled
Your Apple Watch and the Activity app will never share more personal and confidential data with your friends, like your heartbeat, or any other Health data potentially collected by the watch.
You also won’t get a comprehensive date view of your friends’ data the way you can scrutinize your own. You’ll have a week’s worth of activity data in the Sharing screen and can tap on your friend’s profile for each of those individual days, but you won’t be able to see a graph of their movement over time, or any major trend line information.
How to turn on Activity Sharing
To turn on Activity Sharing with your pals, you’ll need to use your iPhone and the Activity app — if you attempt to try to do it directly from the Apple Watch, a prompt appears that says, "To start sharing your Activity, use the Activity app on your iPhone".
- Launch the Activity app from your iPhone’s home screen.
- Tap the Sharing button.
Tap the red plus sign (+) in the upper right corner.
- Type the name or Apple ID of the friend you would like to share your Activity progress with.
Once you’ve done so, you’ll be able to view your progress alongside that of your friends inside the Sharing pane of the Activity app.
How to share your Activity rings without using Activity Sharing
Want to brag to someone who doesn’t have an Apple Watch? You can share your Activity rings as a stand-alone image from the Sharing screen. Here’s how.
- From the Sharing screen, tap on the Me entry.
- Tap on the Share button in the upper right corner.
Tap Save Image, Copy, Message, Mail, or any other Share Sheet option.
How to view your friends’ Shared Activity data
After you’ve added a few friends to your Sharing screen, you’ll see their Activity rings show up alongside their name, and (by default) their Move goal percentage and calories burned.
If you’re less about calories and more interested in exercise time or miles walked, you can tap the text in the upper left corner to change metrics: You can sort by alphabetical name, Move goal, Exercise goal, Steps goal, or Number of Workouts.
You can also message your friends with a quippy joke or workout-related gif by tapping the Messages button in the upper right corner. There’s no way to create Activity groups as of yet, though you can message people individually.
How to view, mute, and remove a specific friend’s Activity data on your iPhone
Tap on the person from the Sharing list to view their Activity profile. This displays their move rings, calories burned, exercise data, stand rings, steps, and distance for the day. There are a few things you can do from this screen:
- To mute Activity notifications from this person, tap Mute Notifications.
To remove this person from your Sharing list, tap Remove Friend.
- To send them an encouraging text (or some smack talk), tap the Messages button in the upper right corner.
- To view their Contact Card, tap the Info button in the upper right corner.
How to hide your activity data from your friends
Feeling ashamed about your Activity data lately? Going on vacation and don’t want your pals to know how many steps you’re not walking? You can hide your activity data on a per-friend basis with a few quick steps.
- Visit your friend’s Activity profile.
- Scroll down and tap on Hide my Activity. All your Activity data will be hidden until further notice.
- To turn Sharing back on, just tap Stop Hiding my Activity.
How Apple’s Activity Sharing security works
Being able to share your activity is great, but you might be wondering, "What’s Apple doing with my data, and what exactly does it collect?" Apple is actually fairly transparent about this. Just open the Activity app, then tap Sharing, scroll down to the bottom of the page and tap See how your data is managed… to see it for yourself.
Apple outlines specifically what data is shared and who can see it.
- Friends may be able to see active calories/kilojoules, exercise minutes, stand or roll hours, steps, time zone, workout type, and duration. Any awards you are given may also be shared with friends.
- Anyone that you invite or accept an invitation from will be able to see your iCloud email address.
- Apple will also be sent your Workout and Activity data if you choose to use Activity Sharing. This allows Apple to securely end the data to whomever you choose to share it with. Apple says that the data is only retained for a short time, and is only used to enable Activity Sharing.
Apple notes that you can remove friends at any point if you want to stop sharing your workouts and activity with them. Additionally, using the Remove Friend option in Sharing will keep a removed person from seeing your activity data.
Any other questions about how sharing Activity data from your Apple Watch works in iOS and watchOS? Let us know in the comments!
Updated February 2019. Added information for watchOS 5. Serenity Caldwell contributed to an earlier version of this guide.