To stay fit and healthy, it’s recommended that we walk at least 10,000 steps a day. Obviously, keeping track of every single step you’ve taken is not only unrealistic but time-consuming. That’s precisely where your phone comes into play, offering a wide range of apps designed to help you lead a healthier life and develop healthy long-term habits.
Keep in mind that there are two basic types of walking apps: pedometer and step counter. Step counter apps track your walking workouts and show your walking distance, speed, and route. Pedometer apps, on the other hand, track your all-day activity. Most apps can do both, thanks to your phone’s sophisticated sensors.
With that said, we've done the hard work of finding truly the best pedometer and step counter apps for iOS and Android – and we have twelve solid recommendations for you.
1. Samsung Health
First, to address the elephant in the room, Samsung’s health and pedometer app works on all brands of Android devices and the iPhone, so it’s available to everyone, though the iPhone version comes with plenty of caveats. There’s something to be said for an app developed by a company that also makes phones, and Samsung Health benefits from that by being very easy on battery life.
Along with being an accurate step counter on Android, Samsung Health can link to other apps like MyFitnessPal for those who also want to track their food intake, but it has its own macronutrient counter, too. A legitimate complaint with this app is that Samsung removed certain features like long-term weight and blood pressure trends, weekly graphs and so on. For iPhone users, the app offers dramatically reduced functionality over its Android counterpart.
2. Pacer Pedometer & Step Tracker
Pacer Pedometer & Step Tracker (aka Pacer Pedometer: Walking Step & Calorie Tracker App) is often hailed as one of the best pedometer apps for iPhone and Android, and for many good reasons. With guided workouts and a robust social feature, Pacer gives you a workout companion and a fitness coach in one app. The app’s social features give you the motivational support you need during your workouts, while personalized guides help you meet your workout goals.
Pacer tracks steps, distance, calories, stairs climbed, and your active time. It has a GPS feature that helps you mark your running or cycling path. If you decide to use the premium version, you get a personalized coach that will help you plan your fitness strategy. That version also gives you access to weight loss groups to chat and compete with other Pacer users, pushing you to take that one extra step whenever possible.
3. Google Fit
You probably use at least one of Google’s numerous digital services. With that said, it’s not that hard to imagine that one of those services might have slipped under your radar. And yes, we’re talking about Google Fit here, an app made by Google that for both Android and iOS.
Google Fit is more than just a pedometer and step tracker for your smartphone. This app's mission is to keep your heart healthy by letting you earn Heart Points for various activities. As you can imagine, the app tracks your steps but also tracks other fitness activities. Check your progress over time, connect the app with numerous devices and other apps, and see all your health data from a single place. With Android, in particular, Google Fit works best with Wear OS to most accurately record speed, pace and route.
4. Adidas Running App (Runtastic)
Formerly known as Runtastic, this popular running app was such a hit that Adidas bought it in 2015, then renamed it the official Adidas running app four years later. Available on both iPhone and Android, over 170 million people have used it.
There is, of course, the real-time tracking, informative dashboard and personal goal-setting you’d expect, but it really thrives with its community features. Your friends can be notified when you’re running and send you cheers and custom motivational messages. There are competitions, events and leaderboards you can get involved in through the app, too. You can track how far you’ve run in a specific pair of trainers, then get notified when it’s time to get a new pair. It works with all the usual wearables, including Apple Watch, Android Wear and Garmin products, among others.
Stepz is another all-in-one pedometer app for iPhone and Android that works excellently without draining your phone's battery. This app tracks all the basics: step count, distance, calories burned, stairs climbed, and active time. It leverages your smartphone's sensors to their full extent, collecting your motion data without draining your phone’s battery.
Another great feature of the Stepz app is its ability to integrate with Apple’s Health app and Google Fit. By syncing with either smartphone platform's app, it's able to keep a running log of your step count history. This gives you deep insights into your daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly performance based on your step goals. And if you don't have a goal, Stepz can set one for you.
iPhone and Android smartphone owners should give Accupedo, one of the most popular pedometer apps on the market, a hard look. This app features an intuitive interface and an excellent display of your history. You can use it to track your steps, speed, distance, calories burned, and active time. Even better, you can check your daily progress via Accupedo’s handy widgets.
With Accupedo, you can set daily, weekly, or even monthly goals and walk toward a healthier you. As your best walking buddy, the app displays easy-to-read charts and history logs to help you meet your fitness goals. It also comes with additional features that make your fitness journey enjoyable, such as a music player, while allowing you to easily share every moment on social networks. As is the case with most of the apps on this list, Accupedo syncs with both Apple's Health app and Google Fit on Android for long-term data tracking.
7. Zombies, Run!
What better way to motivate yourself into burning off those calories than by convincing yourself that your life depends on it? Zombies, Run! is a veteran Android and iPhone app and has compelled over a million users to immerse themselves in its fitness-inducing story.
Plug in your headphones and follow the instructions as you jog around doing various missions in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by the shambling dead. It’s a great motivator for those who want a bit of narrative with their fitness regimen. You can view the results of any run through the app or by using the app's free online "ZombieLink" service.
8. ActivityTracker Pedometer
ActivityTracker is another great pedometer app for iPhone and Android that was created to keep track of your daily activities. Since it leverages your smartphone's Motion Processor rather than GPS, it’s able to track your all-day activities without draining the battery. This app monitors your steps, distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed, as well as active time.
ActivityTracker sports a very clean and straightforward interface for your fitness goals. It allows you to set your fitness goals, such as walking 20,000 steps or burning 1,000 calories, and displays your progress on an hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly basis. You'll love the widgets option that gives you a daily analysis of all your activities. Android users can even see how many steps they have taken, in hundreds, directly on the app icon.
9. Pedometer++ (iPhone Only)
Pedometer++ is one of the most highly-rated step counter apps on iTunes, with over 42,000 positive customer reviews. It lets you keep track of your daily and weekly step counts without draining your phone’s battery. It also quantifies metrics, such as steps taken, calories burned, and distance walked, and rewards you once you reach your goals.
Besides motivating you to reach your goals, Pedometer++ also integrates with the Health app. It allows you to view your daily progress from the iPhone app, Apple Watch app, or its own widget. What’s more, it displays your steps count on the application badge so that you don’t need to launch the app every time to view your progress. On top of that, Health app integration ensures long-term data tracking.
Going well beyond the task of simply counting your steps, Argus is one of the most comprehensive “Wellness” apps around on iPhone. It’s an activity tracker, sure, but also bundles in a calorie counter, sleep cycle monitor, exercise guide, even barcode scanner, to help you track your nutritional intake.
What Argus perhaps lacks in depth in the step-counter area it more than makes up for in breadth. How much you walk around isn’t something that will ensure your good health, but there are other important areas to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
There is no doubt you’ve heard about Fitbit before. However, what you don’t know is that you can use it even without a fitness tracker. That's right – this app works independently, acting as a pedometer and step tracker for your iPhone and Android. However, that’s just the beginning of what you’ll find here.
The Fitbit app gives you a 90-day free trial to test its premium features, unlocking personalized guidance, customized health programs, mindfulness-focused content, and over 240 video workouts you can do at home. If your goal is to use a pedometer app that comes with the potential to act as your digital coach, look no further. The standalone Fitbit app will most definitely meet your needs.
The succinctly-named Pedometer is a free, ad-supported app for Android and iPhone that doesn’t push any in-app purchases on you. What you see is what you get. It has the usual assortment of step counters, calories burned, walking times and speed tracking and displays your long-term walking information in a convenient graph. It also uses your gender and weight to give you a better idea of the number of calories you burned and the amount you should burn.
Pedometer is very easy on the battery, too, and has a small selection of different themes for some personalization. You can also adjust the sensitivity, so you’re not cheating by counting steps when you’re cycling or driving. One oddity is that Apple Watch is not supported, so you'll need to carry your phone to ensure proper step tracking.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What features should I look for in a pedometer app?
Depending on your devices, the first thing to look for is support for your ecosystem of choice. Beyond that, cost should be considered along with which features might be hidden behind a paywall. Aside from that, apps that use a motion processor over GPS are going to be better on battery life and likely more accurate. The ability to sync with apps like Samsung Health, Google Fit or Apple's Health app is important. Access to social platforms or community support may be integral as well, as having other people walking/running alongside of you may very well motivate you to do more.
2. Aren't all of these apps the same?
The answer to this question is a little tricky. When it comes to basic tasks like just tracking steps or distance, then yes, they are mostly the same. Where they differ is in the more advanced features like wellness tracking, support for wearables like Apple Watch, as well as the layout of the app.
3. What should my daily goal be for steps?
Ultimately, it depends on what your overall goal is. Do you want to walk to get healthy or do you enjoy the outdoors? A good number of apps default to 10,000 steps per day as sort of the de facto goal, and that's okay, but it's definitely not for everyone. The U.S Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes each week of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking.
4. Will all of the apps be accurate?
For the most part, the apps should be close in terms of accuracy. Where we have seen apps differ is often more in the calories burned than distance. In these cases, some apps report more or less calories than a competitor. In other cases, Apple Watch may report more calories burned than Wear OS. There is no "quick fix" for this either, as it's all about using your app of choice as a guide for your fitness.
If you're looking for an easy way to monitor your steps, you don't have to spend any money on a fancy and sophisticated wearable. Many iPhone and Android apps can do much of what fitness trackers can do (including sleep tracking) and even offer you additional features, such as group sharing options that you may not find elsewhere.
In the end, once you're ready to take it one step further and dive into the world of wearables, you'll want to check out our list of the best fitness trackers.
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