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How to enable the Activity Sharing feature on your Apple Watch

focused in shot of a young woman scrolling through the workout view of an Apple Watch Series 8

June Wan/ZDNET

A New Year rings in the promise of a fresh start. For many, that includes a goal of being more physically active. At first, it’s easy to ride the high of a new goal. Of course, staying motivated — and consistent — can become a challenge. 

Sharing your movement stats with a friend or relative can not only keep you accountable, but motivated to accomplish your activity goal all-year ’round. Apple Watch’s Activity Share feature is a convenient, easy way to foster your own mini exercise community and some friendly competition amongst your Apple Watch with friends. Going into 2022, I started sharing with my mom and we have a daily competition to see who can get the most steps in — which I would totally win every day.

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This guide quickly walks you through the process of how to share your activity with other Apple Watch users. We also show you how to challenge them to a 7-day Apple Watch Activity competition.  

Note that when you share your activity, you and the recipient will see a subset of your full stats. That will include: 

  • Being able to see each other’s daily Activity rings
  • Receiving notifications after your friend completes a workout
  • Viewing the workout metrics (calories burned, miles walked, duration, etc.)

How send an Apple Watch Activity Share invite

Initiating the sharing process is easy, but just be sure that both you and the recipient(s) both have an iPhone and Apple Watch before you send an invite. Also, to ensure the smoothest sharing process, make sure you and your sharing counterparts have recently updated your phones and watches to the latest iOS software. 

While you can add friends via your Apple Watch, we recommend using your iPhone. The bigger interface makes it easy to search for your contacts as opposed to scrolling through on your Watch. Either way, the process is more or less the same. 

On your iPhone, open the Fitness app, tap the Sharing tab (S made out of rings) on the bottom right. 

If you haven’t dialed into the Sharing tab before, you’ll be prompted to “Get Started.” 

On your Apple Watch, tap the Activity app (three rings), scroll down to “Invite a friend,” scroll through your contacts, and tap on your friend’s name. 

Apple allows for up to 40 contacts in your sharing network, but unless you’re training with a big group — a marathon running club, for example — I recommend adding 3-5 people who really motivate you.

When it’s time to add contacts, go to the very top right-hand corner of the Fitness app Sharing tab. You’ll see a lime green profile icon. Tap the icon, and when the interface changes, tap the green plus button. 

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From here, type in your friend’s names or choose from Apple’s suggested contact list. Select the contact(s) and tap “Send.”

If you want to add via your Apple Watch, tap the Activity app (three rings), scroll down to “Invite a friend,” scroll through your contacts, and tap on your friend’s name. 

screenshot of Sharing tab on Apple Fitness with the "plus" icon in the upper right hand corner circled in white to indicate how to add contacts

Once you’re in the Sharing tab and have toggled the profile icon, press the green “plus” icon to scroll through contacts you want to share your workout records with.

Screenshot by Christina Darby/ZDNET

The power is now in the recipient’s hands. Wait for your friend to accept your invitation, before anyone (but you, of course) can view your Activity.  

How to accept an Apple Watch Activity Share invite

Accepting an invitation is even simpler than sending one. Just make sure you actually want to share your Activity profile before you accept. 

Whenever someone tries to add you to their Sharing network, a notification will pop up on your Apple Watch. 

To accept, swipe to the Sharing tab in the iPhone’s Fitness app. 

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If you miss the notification on your watch, but are expecting an invite, the notification will also be in the Fitness app. 

Once you’re in the Fitness app’s Sharing tab, look to the upper-right corner for the profile icon. The icon will display a “1” next to it if someone has tried to add you to their Sharing network. 

Tap the icon. From there, the app will give you the option to Accept or Ignore the invite. Tap Accept to complete the sharing process. 

How to compete with someone in your Shared Activity ring

Once you have people in your shared ring, engaging in some healthy competition may be the incentive you need to close your three rings. 

How to send a challenge invite

While you can unofficially compete just by looking at a friend’s workout stats, here’s how to challenge a friend to an official 7-day Activity showdown from both your iPhone and Apple Watch.

Go to the Activity sharing hub, aka, the Fitness app. Navigate to the Sharing tab on the bottom right corner. From your sharing network, tap the friend’s name you want to compete with and select “Compete with (friend’s name),” and tap “Invite (friend’s name). 

Wait for your friend to accept the competition invite, and then, it’s on. 

Screenshot of Compete feature on iPhone for Apple Watch Activity Sharing with the "Invite Contact" prompt circled in white

After tapping on the person’s profile you wish to compete with, tap “Compete.” Then, choose “Compete” from the pop-up menu. 

Screenshot by Christina Darby/ZDNET

Sending a competition request is also easy to do from your Apple Watch. 

Open the Activity app on the Watch, swipe right to access the Sharing display, tap on a friend’s name, scroll down, and tap “Compete with (friend’s name), then choose “Invite (friend’s name).” 

How to accept a challenge

If you’re not actively checking your phone or watch for a challenge invite, it can be easy to miss. Here’s how to ensure that you won’t miss a chance to out-shine your competition. 

On your Watch, swipe down on the Watch display screen to access the quick notification center. 

If someone has invited you to join a competition you’ll see a message from Activity Sharing, the notification will pop up. 

Tap the notification and tap “I’m in!” and unleash your inner competitor. 

If you prefer looking at notifications on your iPhone, you can also check in the Sharing tab of the fitness app to see if anyone has challenged you to an Activity duel, and accept by tapping “I’m in.” 

No matter how you choose to accept, the challenge will last a week and you can earn up to 600 points a day based on your percentages to your three goals (Move, Exercise, and Stand). At the end of the challenge, the person with the most Activity “points,” will be crowned the winner with an Award in their Apple Activity Library, and, of course, ultimate bragging rights.

You can also watch our short video of this tip on YouTube Shorts (embedded below), Instagram Reels, or on TikTok.


Can you tell if someone stopped sharing Activity on Apple Watch? 

If someone stops sharing their activity with you, their name will no longer appear under the Sharing tab.

If someone hasn’t stopped sharing, but is just hiding their fitness data from you, their rings will be grayed out and their name will be last on the Sharing tab.

What does sharing mean on Apple Watch? 

Apple Watch’s Activity share feature can help you and your fellow Apple Watch friends to stay motivated by sharing Activity. You’ll receive notifications when your friend has completed a workout or reached their goal(s) and have access to their workout details.

How do I hide Activity on Apple Watch?

If you’ve decided that sharing your Activity profile isn’t for you, but want to bow out of sharing in a subtle way, you can hide your progress by going to the iPhone’s Fitness app > tapping the Sharing tab > tapping on the friend(s) name you want to hide your activity from > select “Hide my Activity,” option from the menu below the chosen friend’s workout data. 

Note, that if you’re currently competing with a friend, you’ll have to wait until the competition is over to hide your Activity. 

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