Can you tell when your Apple Watch has a GPS lock?

Sara_K /

Most racing and multi-sport GPS watches tell you when they have a lock on the GPS satellites in their head. Unfortunately, the Apple Watch no, at least not without using a third-party app like Runkeeper or Intervals Pro. But there are a couple of workarounds.

Most of the time, your Apple Watch’s GPS should work invisibly. Within a minute or two of starting an outdoor workout or other GPS-tracked activity, it will only have a good block. And, if there are gaps or short stretches for which it loses signal, it will use pace history, stride length, accelerometer, and other customized informationon to estimate and complete things.

It looks like an unlikely running path.

However, even if you cannot confirm that your watch has a GPS lock during exercise, you can verify that it uses “Location Services”. These are, basically, GPS plus assisted GPS (aGPS), cellular positioning, Wi-Fi network positioning, and any other ways the watch can find out …

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