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Apple Watch Competitions: A complete guide

If you participate in competitions via Apple Watch but don't quite understand how they work and how the points are calculated, we're here to help.

apple watch guide to competitions feature

Anyone who uses one of the best Apple Watch models likely knows about Activity Sharing feature, which allows you to share stats and activities with contacts.. You might even have invited, or been invited to, a competition or two.

Competitions on Apple Watch are easy to set up But they can only be held one-on-one and run for a basic seven-day period. As the competition is in progress, you’ll see a score at the top of the Sharing screen with a running tally to determine how you measure up and who is in the lead. But what does this score actually mean, how is it calculated, and how can you get the most out of Apple Watch competitions?

Fill your activity rings

When you start a competition with someone, you earn points for filling your three Activity rings. These include:

Move: The largest red ring is the Move ring. As you move throughout the day, you burn calories, and the Move ring will calculate the calories you burned in relation to your movement. Set a goal and as you reach that goal, the ring slowly closes.

Exercise: The second green ring is for Exercise. It’s simple to close by doing at least 30 minutes of activity per day. This can be as involved as a 30-minute intense cardio workout or as simple as a half-hour brisk walk. The default and recommended amount is 30 minutes, but you can adjust this to accommodate where you are in your fitness journey.

Stand: The inner light blue ring is the Stand ring. This ring moves throughout the day as long as you stand for at least one minute every hour. You can set the number of stand minutes to be whatever you like, though it’s recommended to stick to around 10-12 per day to coincide with your waking hours. The Apple Watch can send reminders when it's time to get up and walk about, so you don't use any of those valuable stand hours (and the points associated with them).

How are points calculated in competitions?

apple watch competition points close up

The point system is based on the percentage of the Activity rings that you close, and every percentage equates to around one point. The maximum you can earn per day is 600 points, which would be for not only closing all three rings but also doubling your goals. Thus, the maximum number of points that can be earned for a weekly competition is 4,200.

Naturally, since it’s impossible to stand every hour for 24 hours a day if your goal is 12, most people will not earn 600 points by doubling goals in all three rings. But you can work to double the goals for the Move and Exercise rings.

The competition itself is simple: Whoever has the most points at the end of the week wins.

How to see Apple Watch Competitions results

While a competition is ongoing, you will see the running tally at the top of the Sharing tab, including the other person’s score, your score, and how many days are left.

Once a competition is over, the stats will disappear from this section. You can tap on the person’s name in the Sharing tab, and you’ll see Competition Wins at the top, noting how many they've won against you and vice versa.

Under your tab, you will see an award for a competition win if you have secured one. It will note who you won against and the most recent date of the win, which is useful if you tend to have ongoing competitions with the same person.

Finally, there's the Summary tab. You can scroll down to see all the awards you've earned, including how many competitions you have completed. If you select Show More here, you can scroll left to see your victories and who they were earned against.

What you need to consider when looking at Apple Watch competition results


Keep in mind when you are in a competition with another Apple Watch user that everybody has different activity goals. If your goal is for 30 minutes of exercise per day, to burn 500 calories, and get 12 stand hours, but your friend has a goal of 25 minutes of exercise, 400 calories burned, and 10 stand hours, they have an unfair advantage. It will presumably be easier for them to close their rings with less work, and thus also gain more points. Also, it's tough to compete with somebody who's a hardcore athlete using the Apple Watch Ultra.

With that said, if the numbers are tailored to everyone’s fitness level, this might be the fairest measure to keep things on par with both your capabilities and theirs. You also need to factor in things like age, weight (thinner individuals might burn calories at a lower rate), and gender (men tend to burn calories at rest faster than women).

If you're competing with people who are all on a similar fitness level, however, consider asking everyone to change their Activity Ring goals at least temporarily through the seven days of the competition, so it’s a fair fight.

And always remember: Apple Watch Competitions are meant to be fun and motivating. You don’t have to take a loss too seriously, nor gloat too much after a win. In the end, closing your Activity rings should be a satisfying experience. If you can't do this every day, don’t feel discouraged. Try to do better week after week and find little ways to get more steps, burn more calories, and enjoy the experience.

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