Many apps on the iPhone track your steps, from the Health app to gaming apps that give you rewards for taking more steps. However, some users have found workarounds where they don’t actually have to walk and can still gain steps on the iPhone regardless.
iPhones have a built-in accelerometer, so they monitor steps by movement and speed—not the actual steps you’re taking. That means there are ways to fake steps when you have a phone, so you can rack up the count without walking around.
Let’s take a closer look at how the iPhone tracks your walking, as well as how to trick the phone into thinking you’re taking steps.
Can iPhone Track Steps Without Walking?
Your iPhone uses a built-in accelerometer to determine how much you’re walking and how many steps you’ve taken. But, as you may have noticed, this isn’t foolproof, and that’s because the iPhone can’t see where you’re walking—it goes by movement and speed.
This is why it can track you on a treadmill if you hold your phone and let your arms swing naturally with your movement.
How Do You Trick Your iPhone Into Thinking You’re Walking?
There are a few ways to trick your iPhone into thinking you’re taking a stroll. Here’s what they are and how to do it.
Swing Your Arms
One of the easiest ways to fake steps on your iPhone is to hold it and swing your arms while standing still. This movement simulates steps, so you’ll notice that number starting to creep up. You can also do this while sitting, though it’s harder to swing your arm.
Shake Your Wrist
Another similar way to fake steps is to hold your phone and shake your wrist back and forth. Each time you do this, your iPhone should think it’s a step.
Attach Your Phone to a Robot Vacuum
Have a robot vacuum that automatically goes around your house and sucks up the dirt? You can attach your phone to it, and the movement will lead your phone to believe you’re taking steps.
While they’ll only be around the house, they’ll still be racked up on the phone and help with that overall step count.
Attach the Phone to Your Dog
If your dog is constantly walking around the house, then you can also consider attaching the phone to them. It’s essential, however, to do so safely—such as securing it to the front of a harness.
Hanging it from their collar could be very uncomfortable or choke them, and if it’s not secure enough, it could fall off your dog and break.
This works even better if they like to go outside and roam around the backyard, as that’ll get you all the more steps.
Buy a Swing Device
There are swing devices (on Amazon) specifically invented to trick your iPhone into thinking you’re taking steps. With the launch of apps like Pokémon Go that specifically rely on you getting steps to get ahead, these boomed in popularity, and now they’re easy to get ahold of.
They work by constantly moving your phone, so anyone can sit back on the couch and relax while the steps creep up on their phone.
Tumble Dry Your Phone
Another odd but effective way to get steps in is to tumble dry your phone. You can do this by securely wrapping the phone in something soft, like a towel, and putting it in the dryer with no heat.
This, however, is a risky method. If you accidentally turn the heat on or don’t secure the phone in something soft (or don’t secure it well enough and it slips out), you’re likely to damage or even break it.
Still, if done successfully, the movement will definitely trick your phone into thinking you’re taking a lot of steps.
Does the iPhone Count Steps in the Car?
Many people think that if they get into the car and drive around, the iPhone will count that distance as steps since they are moving. This, however, isn’t true.
The iPhone’s technology uses a combination of movement and speed, and the speed part is what can tell you aren’t walking—a car moves too fast, and the phone will be stationary within the vehicle.
Is the iPhone Step Counter Reliable?
For the most part, if you aren’t trying to trick it and are using the iPhone step counter, it tends to be reliable with a small margin for error.
However, because there are many ways to fool it, the step counter can quickly become unreliable if you’re using specific movements or attaching the phone to other things, as technology isn’t that advanced—it can only tell speed and movement, not if you’re actually walking.