How does Google Fit calculate distance?


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Page last updated: 28/09/2022

How does Google Fit calculate distance?

In this guide, we will talk about How does Google Fit calculate distance, why Google Fit may be regarded as inaccurate, some basic troubleshooting steps if the app is not showing or tracking the information correctly, and some additional things you could consider when using Google Fit to track your distance.

How does Google Fit calculate distance?

If you wonder, how Google Fit calculates distance, here we may have the answer you are looking for. If you have downloaded the Google Fit app, you will find on the home screen the total amount of calories burned, distance, steps and the famous rings where you can see Heart Point and Move Minutes. 

Moreover, you can tap on the distance and see daily, weekly and monthly stats. It is pretty useful if you are used to walking a lot like me since I practically go walking everywhere and even more so during these difficult and stressful times due to the coronavirus. I would rather walk instead of taking a bus or I will simply take my bike out if I am visiting a friend or family. It has been very useful when trying to keep a healthy lifestyle. 

With Google Fit you can also track various activities and measures such as the time spent in an activity or workout, steps taken throughout the day, calories burned, among others. You can also see live info about your activities such as pace during a run. 

Google Fit may not be as accurate

While doing some research, I have found many complaints about the accuracy of the Google Fit app not only measuring distance but also calories burned or steps. However, others may have also thought it is very rewarding to see the points earned even if you are not an athlete and you are just trying to do your best walking or keeping an active lifestyle.

Moreover, just like it happens with any other app (since it is not 100% perfect) you might find some issues that will occur depending on the circumstances. For instance, it is pretty common to see that Google Fit is not tracking your activities. However, it can be fixed and we will tell you how. 

The first thing we recommend doing as one of the basic steps of troubleshooting your device is rebooting it. Sometimes it is all it takes so give it a try and if it doesn’t work then keep trying with the following steps. 

Fix your Permissions

Due to security concerns and data protection, Google Fit needs to have access and permission to certain things like your GPS, notifications and others. However, if you refuse to grant permission when you are setting up the app and the profile, you will encounter some issues with the accuracy and tracking of your activities. 

To fix this, you need to go to the Google Fit settings and grant it with all the permissions and here is how:

  • Go to Google Fit and tap on your profile.
  • Tap on the Settings icon on top of the screen. 
  • Find the data section and tap on manage connected apps.
  • Find the apps you would like to grant access to (if they are compatible). 
How does Google Fit calculate distance?

Make sure the ‘Track your Activities’ option is enabled

It might sound silly but you don’t even get to imagine how many people complain about how the app is not working and not tracking activities as it is supposed to. Under Google Fit’s settings, you will find an option called ‘Track your activities’. 

This option will allow Google Fit to use your phone’s sensors to track your steps, calories burned and distance. If by any chance you end up disabling this option, you can always toggle back on. Simply go to Google Fit, tap on the profile at the bottom of the screen and go to settings, which is the gear icon on top of the screen. Finally, find the ‘Track your Activities’ option and toggle back on in case it is off. 

Moreover, if you also happen to have an issue with map tracking for distance, make sure that the ‘Include maps for all activities’ and the GPS are enabled as well. 

Wait for an update

We know it is annoying when something is not working as it should and having to wait for it to magically go back to the way it is supposed to be discouraging and frustrating. We do rely on technology, systems and programs to make our lives easier and not to complicate it. However, we also know that technology fails sometimes as well as systems and programs. Sometimes, the issue with the app not tracking or not functioning properly may be due to a known bug the engineers are trying to fix and will probably include in the next update. 

If you have tried everything and it is still not working, the problem may rely on a bug or an upcoming update that will fix the issue, just have to sit back and wait for it. As a recommendation, sometimes, uninstalling the app might do the trick.

Why is Google Fit tracking non-existent activities?

Sometimes, you may notice how Google Fit is tracking incorrectly some of the activities or activities that were never done in the first place. However, it often happens if you have pressed the ‘Add’ activity option by mistake or if your phone was unlocked at some point. Just make sure you lock your phone when you are not using it and check there are no activities added that you don’t recognize.

If you would like to remove an activity that shouldn’t be there, you just need to open the Google Fit app and go to ‘Journal’. From there, find the activity which you think was added by accident and select ‘options’ or the 3 dots at the upper right corner of the screen. Finally, you can tap on ‘delete’ and you are all set.

Why is this blog about How does Google Fit calculate distance important?

As we have discussed how Google Fit calculates distance, we can conclude that it uses the sensors and GPS on your device to track distance. You can see the distance, among other measurements, just on the home screen such as calories burned, Heart points and Move minutes. 

Moreover, you may notice that there are activities that are not being tracked or activities you have never done and were added by accident. Here we talked about how you could potentially fix the issues and erase any non-existent activities that may have been added by accident. 

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How does Google Fit calculate distance

How does Google fit estimated distances?

Google Fit estimates distance using the sensors that detect movement from your phone or wearable and also the GPS. This means, if the GPS signal is not good, it may not be accurate when you see the data reflected after running or walking. 

How does Google fit track steps?

Google Fit track steps using the pedometer sensor built into your device. It detects movement and will start to calculate the number of steps taken as long as you keep the device with your, for instance, if it is your phone, keep it in your pocket or bag and if it is a wearable device then always wear it for accurate readings.

Does Google Fit automatically track steps?

According to Google Support, when you turn on activity tracking, Fit can sense activities like steps and repetitions. If you turn this off, Google Fit can’t automatically track your activity. You’ll only find info about activity that you enter manually or that’s tracked by a connected app.

How do I make Google fit more accurate?

If you would like to make Google Fit more accurate, make sure the activity detection is on and tap ‘Track Activity metrics’ and make sure it is also on. For instance, for a more accurate calorie count, if you have an Android phone, open your Google Fit app and tap on Profile. Tap your height or weight and update it. Finally, tap OK. 

Is Google fit free?

Like many of the Android apps, Google Fit is free to download from the Play Store. Google Fit is Google’s answer to its competitors Apple Health app. Google Fit uses the sensors that are built into your device and tracks many activities such as walking, cycling and running.