Apple Watch Series 4: 4 Tips to Make the Most Out of Its Fitness Features

Some key features need to be turned on.

The Apple Watch Series 4 has been out for less than a month and it’s already predicted to outsell its predecessor the Series 3.

That said, attempting to hit the gym as soon as you unbox the wearable might disappoint many consumers. Fitting useful tech into such a small package requires personalization, and hence, most new Apple Watch features have to be turned on or downloaded before you can start using them in earnest.

In particular, this latest iteration of the Apple Watch has taken a turn into the consumer health market, introducing electrocardiogram tech, a fall detection system, and the Livesum app that encourages healthy eating habits. But before you hit the treadmill, you’re going to have to swipe and tap through the wearable to make sure it’s fully personalized and ready to take your workouts to the next level.

1. Work Out with Friends

The Activity app is has been a key feature to the Apple Watch since the smartwatch’s first version. And with Series 4 you can now see your friends’ Activity rings and compete to be the most active. This new feature will notify you every time one of your friends completes their daily activity goal to try to motivate you to sit less and move more.

Add contacts to your Activity app to make exercising a bit more competitive.


A healthy dose of competition has been scientifically proven to inspire you to go the extra mile. A study published in the journal Nature Communications found that working out is socially contagious after observing the social networks of more that one million people for over five years. So if you’re trying to get in shape, you might want to flip this feature on.

Start by opening the Activity app on your iPhone and navigating to the Sharing tab. Hit the plus sign at the top-right corner of the screen to begin adding up to 40 of your contacts. Once you’ve got your workout group picked out, tap send and it’ll send off an invite to begin sharing Activity data.

2. Apple Watch Series 4: Lifesum Fitness App Update

The Lifesum app on WatchOS was advertised to users as being able to keep track of their daily caloric intake and water consumption right from their wrist, but none of data is available if you don’t update the app to its newest version. On Monday, the developers of the app rolled out an update bringing three new watch faces to the device.

The watch faces you're missing out on if you don't update Lifesum.


These including the tracking face, which provides users with data on their carbohydrate and protein consumption; the encouragement complication, which gives users reminders of when to drink water or have a midday snack; and finally, the circular watch face is an aesthetic change to an analog-style complication that the app previously provided.

The new version of the app can be downloaded from the App Store for free.

3. Apple Watch Series 4: Activate Heart Rate Notifications

Apple hyped up the Series 4’s ability to notify users when it detects an irregular heartbeat, which could be the sign a heart condition like atrial fibrillation (AFib). If you want the smartwatch to begin checking in on your pulse, you’ll have to manually turn it on with your iPhone as well.

Have you're Series 4 ping you when you're heart rate gets too high or too low.


Tap open the Apple Watch app and navigate to the Heart Rate tab. You’ll have to input a High Heart Rate and Low Heart rate BPM so the app knows when to notify you. According to the Mayo Clinic, the normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute, but age, fitness, and body size can swing this up or down.

Talk to you doctor about what your ideal resting heart rate should be before subjecting yourself to an influx of notifications that could potentially be false alarms.

4. Apple Watch Series 4: Turn On Fall Detection

Built-in fall detection was another one of the Apple Watch’s most touted features, but if you aren’t at least 65-years-old the system is turned off by default. While this feature might appeal to an older demographic, people partaking in sports like free-base climbing, gymnastics, or horse riding might want to a turn on fall detection just to play it safe.

The screen you'll see if the Series 4 detect a fall.


Open the Apple Watch app on your handset and tap the My Watch tab at the bottom-left corner. Open the Emergency SOS menu and then switch the Fall Detection on.

Don’t worry about accidentally calling emergency services. Fall detection actively looks for two things, a “significant, hard fall” and immobility. So if it say, dive into bed and keep moving around the Series 4 will be able to tell you aren’t hurt. But if you fall and don’t move for a minute, it will begin a 15-second countdown to alert paramedics and your emergency contact of your location.

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