How does Google Fit track steps?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “How does Google Fit track steps?” and provide you with tips on how to get the most from your step count in Google Fit.

How does Google Fit track steps?

The Google Fit app gathers step count data from different sources. If you use just a smartphone, Google Fit uses special algorithms that extract data from the phone’s accelerometer and processes movement information into step count. The algorithms are made in such a way to reject random hand movements and use specific rhythmic movements to translate as step count.

 If you wear a smartwatch, Google Fit can read step count from smartwatches as well. If you use a smartwatch that supports Wear OS, Google Fit can easily sync with it to get information on your step count, heart rate etc.

 The Google Fit app does not duplicate step count from your phone and smartwatch to display a double value. Rather, the Google Fit platform reviews all available information regarding step count from different sources such as your phone and smartwatch and merges it in a logical way to give the most complete step count. 

In the case of the smartwatch and phone, data from the watch is prioritized. Google Fit also makes sense of other information such as your phone tossing your back to disregard such values as step count. 

Google Fit works constantly to upgrade its algorithms to remove readings that it deems invalid. Google Fit is also able to track cycling and differentiate between walking and cycling movements.

How does Google Fit help me in keeping up with health goals?

Google Fit encourages users to lead a healthier lifestyle. Google Fit’s activity goals are based on AHA and WHO’s activity recommendation. Google Fit provides its users with Move Minutes and Heart Points to track their daily activity level.

Move Points

Move Points are awarded for all of your activity that includes movement, this includes small, healthy changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going for a walk to meet up with a friend.

Heart Points

Heart Points are awarded for activities that get your heart pumping. You will score one point for each minute of moderate activity you perform. The points will be double for intense activities like running or kickboxing. AHA and WHO’s recommended amount of physical activity is 30 minutes of brisk walk 5 days a week. This level of activity is shown to reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases, improves sleep and cultivates an overall better mental well-being.

How does Google Fit detect activities?

Google Fit is automatically able to detect movements like walking, running and cycling. It uses the phone’s sensors like the accelerometer and GPS to detect movement. It uses algorithms to classify different movement patterns as walking, running or cycling. If you want to record different activities like swimming, gymnastics, sports or any other activity you can choose an activity by

  1. Open the Home page of Google Fit
  2. Tap on the + sign and select Add Activity
  3. Select the activity type from a drop-down list of activities
  4. Select the Date and start and end times
  5. Tap on Save

If you cannot find the activity you want in the list choose an activity closest to it. Google Fit will calculate the Heart Points and Move Minutes achieved during your workout. You can even integrate Google Fit with other fitness apps like Strava, Runkeeper, MyFitnessPal etc. Google Fit keeps a record of your health activity over time and you can view a summary of your activities and achievements by tapping on Journal.

Google Fit can also give you real-time stats about your activities such as your pace during a run. Google Fit uses sensors available on your device to calculate such metrics. Google Support offers you help on how to view such stats

1.   On your phone, open the Google Fit app.

2.   Tap +, then select Track workout.

3.   To select the activity you’re about to start, tap the Down arrow

4.   Tap Start workout to start recording.

How does Google Fit calculate distance?

Google Fit not only measures your step count, but it gives an estimate of the distance you moved while extrapolating information from the step count. Google Fit initially asks about your age and height when you create a new profile, it extrapolates this information to measure stride length and uses the stride length to measure an estimate of distance. Note that distance measured is an estimate as it is based on an estimate of your stride length based on your height data.

How does Google fit calculate Calories?

Google Fit app uses your profile information of age, gender, height and weight to calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR) to estimate the number of calories you burn in a day. Apart from that the added steps and activity also contribute towards the calorie burned point. To view the calories you burned during the day simply open the app and on the Home page you can view the step count, distance, calories burned and Move minutes.

How can I set customized health goals in Google Fit?

Default goal activity in Google Fit is set at one hour each day, but you can adjust it depending on your fitness level.

  1. Open the Google Fit app and tap on Profile
  2. Tap on Steps to adjust your Step goals
  3. Tap on Heart Points to adjust your goal Heart Points

The recommended WHO activity level is 10,000 steps and 150 Heart points a week, which roughly translates to 30 Heart Points five days a week.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “How does Google Fit track steps?”, and provided you with tips on how to get the most from your step count in Google Fit.


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