Set up Apple Health for iPhone or Google Fit for Android to automatically track steps with only your phone. Carry the phone with you all day to get an accurate reading.
You don’t need a smartwatch or fitness band to track your steps. The phone you carry every day can track how many steps you take and how far you walk all by itself. It’s easier than you might think.
How to Count Steps on iPhone
Tracking steps with an iPhone can be done automatically through the Apple Health app once you set up your profile. Your steps are also used in the Fitness app, which is where you can see your “Move Goal” and activity rings.
First, open the Health app and tap “Continue” to accept the terms and get started.
Next, enter your information to make sure the Health app tracking is accurate.
Lastly, opt in or out of optional notifications.
That’s actually all there is to the set-up process. You’ll see your daily steps listed at the top of the screen in the “Favorites” section by default.
All you need to do to record your steps is make sure you carry the iPhone with you! It’s as easy as that. Apple Health can do a lot more than step tracking, too.
Best iPhone Step Tracker Apps
The best free step counter app for iPhone is Apple Health, but if you want to try something else, there are a few alternatives available in the App Store.
Pedometer++ is a customizable step-tracking app with a simple, easy-to-use interface. You can work toward achievements, and there are monthly challenges to participate in. However, the best feature might be the lock screen and home screen widgets.
The aptly named StepsApp app has a clean interface with accent colors that you can choose. It features a daily ring graph similar to Apple Health, but it adds a lot more information about trends, and it includes home screen widgets.
Pacer Pedometer & Step Tracker
Pacer has one of the nicest user interfaces you’ll find in a step-tracking app. Not only is it a step tracker, but it can also be used to track activities and add photos and map data to them. If you want a more feature-filled app than Apple Health, Pacer is the way to go. However, some features require a paid subscription.
How to Track Steps on Android
Your Android phone can essentially be a “Google pedometer” with the Google Fit app. Some devices come with the app pre-installed, but everyone can download it from the Play Store.
First, open the app and sign in with your Google account. Tap “Continue” if you are already signed in.
Next, enter your details to allow Google Fit to record data accurately and tap “Next.”
Lastly—and most importantly—tap “Turn On” to allow Google Fit to track your activities. This must be enabled for step tracking.
Tap “Allow” to give Google Fit permission to access your physical activity.
That’s all there is to it! Daily steps are shown at the top of the screen in the rings.
You’re all ready to track steps! Just make sure to carry your phone with you, and steps will automatically be counted and shown in Google Fit.
Best Android Step Counter Apps
Google Fit is the simplest step-tracking app for Android, but there are some other nice free step-tracking apps available in the Play Store.
Samsung’s health and fitness app is every bit as good as Google Fit, and it’s actually a lot more powerful. It works well for simple step tracking, but it can also track activities, food, water, and much more. You don’t need a Samsung Galaxy phone or smartwatch to use it, either.
Pacer Pedometer & Step Tracker
Pacer features a simple, clean user interface with a lot of tools under the hood. Beyond simple step tracking, it can track activities and you can add photos and map data. Pacer is a similar experience to Samsung Health, if you’re not keen on Samsung apps. Some features require a subscription.
StepsApp — Step Counter
StepsApp sounds like an app that would only be for tracking steps, but there’s more to it than that. It provides a familiar ring-graph breakdown of your daily steps, plus more detailed breakdowns of your progress over time. Plus, you can share ready-made graphics to social media.
Upgrade to a Fitness Tracker or Smartwatch
It’s true that a smartphone is really all you need to track your steps, but upgrading to a fitness band or smartwatch can elevate the experience. Studies have shown the accuracy of these devices are pretty similar, but a wearable has a few advantages.
First and foremost, a device on your wrist is simply more convenient. It’s literally strapped to your body all day, so you don’t have to worry about gaps missing from the day if you forget your phone.
The other part of convenience is the ability to start tracking from your wrist. Step tracking is done automatically, but if you want to be more intentional—like manually recording a walk—it’s nice to be able to start it without pulling out your phone.
Learn more about how to track steps on an Apple Watch, or decide if a fitness tracker is better than a smartwatch for your needs. The best fitness trackers are typically a little cheaper than the best smartwatches, but they’re a bit more limited.
Just remember to take your phone with you! If you don’t typically have your phone on your person all day, a fitness tracker or smartwatch might be a useful investment. At the end of the day, step tracking is just one piece of the health tracking pie.