Hot topics

How to track your steps using just your phone

best pedometer track steps 01
© nextpit

You have probably heard people talking about the famed 10,000 steps per day goal. Despite its arbitrary nature - the figure comes from a Japanese pun - counting steps can be a good motivator for being more active. Here’s how to do it without a smartwatch.

Tracking steps is big business these days, and the accuracy of pedometers is questionable. However, using your phone to count your steps is a nice way to figure out how active (or how lazy) you are being and can be used as a motivational tool for being healthier.

The first point I’d like to make is that you shouldn’t take these numbers a gospel. Use them as ballpark figures. If you are consistently average less than 2,000 steps on a Sunday, for example, as I do, it might be time to think about throwing in an afternoon walk to your routine. Alternatively, if you walk more than 20,000 steps some days, as I also do, it can be nice to check an app and get a ballpark figure for how far you walked.

The important thing to realize here is that you don’t need a smartwatch to track your steps. Fitbit and other smartwatch manufacturers are not all about counting steps either, but the truth is that lots of people buy these wearable devices simply for that one piece of data alone. And they don’t have to.

Google Fit

Google Fit comes pre-installed on most Android smartphones and it has undergone something of an overhaul of late. The app is much deeper than just counting steps, breaking down your activity into two categories; Move Minutes and Heart Points.

google fit app steps
Google has placed a strong emphasis on Fit in the last couple of Android updates. / © NextPit

Move Minutes are earned for all activity. You can track the number of steps you take, of course, but it will also recognize when you take the stairs instead of the elevator, for example. You’ll also get a breakdown of your various walks or runs in timeline form in the Journal tab, which is nice.


Apple Health

Like Google Fit, Apple’s own-brand fitness app is much deeper than first meets the eye. Even if you don’t want to get into the nutrition and sleep cycle stuff, the activity tab will do a solid job of tracking your steps. You get data for steps, walking and running distance, and ‘flight climbed’ when you take the stairs.

apple health app steps
You can't delete Apple Heath, so why not use it? / © NextPit

There are easy-to-read breakdowns of days, months and years too so you can track your progress if you are making a concerted effort to increase the number of steps you take as part of your daily routine. You won’t need to install it either. It's one of those unbelievable Apple apps that will forever live on your iPhone. It’s there, whether you like it or not, so why not use it?

Huawei Heath

Huawei is now the second biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world, and the Chinese brand is also pushing health apps to users. Huawei health is not as slick as Google Fit or Apple Health, but what it lacks in depth, it makes up for in simplicity.

huawei health app
The interface is not as slick as some others, but it does the job just fine. / © NextPit

Again, this app is more than a pedometer, but steps play a vital part of how it tracks your health vitals. As well as keeping tabs on the number of steps you take and the calories you’ve burned (taken with a pinch of salt, of course), you can track a specific walk with GPS and set a goal. Fancy an evening stroll and would like to hit 3km? Simply punch in the details and you can have the app track your progress. It works for running and cycling too.

Pedometer by Leap

You may have heard of Leap Fitness Group, or if you’ve been on the Google Play Store any time in the last couple of years you will certainly have seen the user popular apps called things like; Six Pack in 30 Days, Lose Belly Fat in 30 Days and various home workout apps.

The company’s dedicated pedometer is one of the most streamlined ways of keeping track of your steps without using a smartwatch or fitness band. If you just want to measure steps, and don’t need all the nutrition and sleep cycle extras that come with Google and Apple’s pre-installed apps, then this is the one for you.

leap step counter
For a dedicated, streamlined pedometer, this will do nicely. / © NextPit

Like Huawei Heath, it also comes with some gamification. You can earn badges for completing certain goals, such as reaching 50,000 steps or burning 1,500 calories. This kind of stuff is not for everyone, but it helps with motivation for those that need the extra push.

Have we missed any apps that you would recommend? How do you track your steps with your smartphone? Let us know!

Top Samsung Galaxy Watches: Choosing Your Best Fit

  2023 models 2023 models 2022 models 2022 models 2021 models 2021 models
Image Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Product Image Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Product Image Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Product Image Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro Product Image Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Product Image Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Product Image
Review: Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
Not yet tested
Not yet tested
Review: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Review: Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Not yet tested
Go to comment (2)
David McCourt

David McCourt

David enjoys staying abreast of the latest technology and newest Android apps. Outside of the office, he can be found playing snooker and writing bad 00s indie songs.

To the author profile
Liked this article? Share now!
Recommended articles
Latest articles
Push notification Next article
Write new comment:
All changes will be saved. No drafts are saved when editing
Write new comment:
All changes will be saved. No drafts are saved when editing

  • Paulo Batista 1
    Paulo Batista Jan 30, 2019 Link to comment

    Have you tried S-Health

  • Dean L. 34
    Dean L. Jan 30, 2019 Link to comment

    I used to use the health app when I had an iPhone and now from this article I'm starting to use Google fit. Something else I would like to see an article on are integrated health apps that track glucose and blood pressure readings, etc. I have been looking for one in the play store. But I haven't found one that checks the boxes for me yet which has an easy way to share my data with my doctor.