How to Get Steps on Your Apple Watch Face banner image

How to Get Steps on Your Apple Watch Face

AubreyFeb 19, 2021

Switching from Fitbit to Apple Watch? Duffy saves the day!

When I switched from an Apple Watch to Fitbit, one of the first things I noticed was that I couldn't see my steps on my watch face. Coming from a Fitbit, this was a feature I didn't want to sacrifice.

While searching for a solution, I stumbled upon the Duffy app, which allows you to display your step totals from the Apple Health app directly on your watch face. You can learn more about my experience with Duffy and how I set it up for my Apple Watch below.

Apple Watch users know: Close your rings

If you're an Apple Watch owner, you'll know that your focus each day is to close your activity rings. The red outer ring represents your Move goal, which can be completed by meeting your daily goal for active calories burned, the green middle ring represents your Exercise goal, which can be completed by performing activities equal to or exceeding a brisk walk, and the blue inner ring represents your Stand goal, which can be completed by standing up and moving around for at least 1 minute each hour.

Apple allows you to adjust your Move goal based on your activity level, and your Exercise and Stand goals are set at 30 minutes and 12 hours, respectively.

apple fitness metrics

Apple focuses on rings to push its users toward a more wholistic approach to wellness. Users are encouraged to get up and move throughout the day, which can help reduce blood pressure, increase energy levels, and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and are tasked with performing at least 30 minutes per day of brisk activity, which can help reduce the risk of diabetes, the chance of having a stroke, and cardiovascular disease. Learn more at

While all of these metrics are undoubtedly valuable in gauging your fitness level, I also enjoy the challenge of reaching my step goal each day and find it to be a useful gauge—in addition to my metrics tracked by my Activity rings—of my daily activity. I'm also always participating in MoveSpring and Stridekick challenges, so I had to know my progress toward the top of the leaderboard!

After getting my Apple Watch, I realized the fastest way to get to my steps required, at minimum, selecting the Activity app and scrolling down to my steps. As a prior Fitbit user, those few extra steps felt like more than I was willing to compromise on. I wanted to be able to glance at my watch and check my step count, just as I had done for years prior with my Fitbit without a second thought, so I went searching for a solution.

Now that I've found an option that works great for me, I wanted to share it so that hopefully another fellow Fitbit to Apple Watch convert like me will benefit from my experience.

Viewing your daily steps on your Apple Watch face with Duffy

Apple Watch complications

To customize your Apple Watch face beyond the basic options that Apple provides from the Watch app, you'll need to utilize complications. Complications allow you to display information from apps within select watch faces. You can learn how to add and remove complications on your Apple Watch face by referring to the "How to customize the watch face on your Apple Watch" section in this guide from Apple.

In order to add a complication, you'll need to select a watch face that allows complications. From the Watch app, select the Face Gallery tab and tap on a face to view the complications allowed for it.

a person wearing an apple watch

Downloading & setting up the Duffy app

Now that you've got the basics of complications down, you can download the Duffy app and add a complication from Duffy that shows your daily steps directly on your watch face!

Head to the Apple App Store and download Duffy. Then, once you've downloaded and opened the app, allow access to your Motion & Fitness Activity when prompted. This will allow Duffy to read your Steps, Flights Climbed, Walking + Running Distance, and Activity Energy from your iPhone and Apple Watch via the Apple Health app.

From there, open your Watch app and confirm that Duffy is installed on your Apple Watch as well. If it's not, select Install from the list of available apps. Then, head back to the Face Gallery tab, select the face you'd like to use, and then scroll down to the complications settings. Select the complication that you want to replace with your step totals and select Duffy. Select "Add" to add your new watch face, and you're all set!

For any questions about Duffy, you can check out the developer's website here for more information.

Getting the most out of your Duffy step complication

Refreshing your steps

While Duffy does use Background App Refresh to update your step totals periodically throughout the day, you can quickly update your step totals by tapping on the step complication on your watch face. Your steps totals should refresh from the Health app as soon as you click into the Duffy app from your Apple Watch.

Adjusting your data sources in the Health app

One final tip to get the most out of the Duffy app is to make sure your data source list is adjusted correctly so that your Apple Watch steps are always prioritized over data tracked by your iPhone.

To confirm your Apple Watch data is prioritized in the Health app, head to your Health app on your phone > select your step total for today > scroll down to Data Sources & Access > Data Sources > confirm your Apple Watch is listed on top. If you have more than one Apple Watch, you can tap on each data source to view historical data to locate the Watch where your totals are tracked for today. This is the watch you'll want listed at the very top of the list.

If you need to adjust the order of your sources, select the Edit button in the top right corner and then use the horizontal lines next to each source to move your Apple Watch to the top of your list.

You're all set. Now go get some steps!

After following this guide, you should be good to go. Go get some steps and enjoy tracking them your new Apple Watch face. Happy stepping!

Download now and get stepping for free

Shortlister logo
© Copyright 2023. All Rights Reserved.