One of the ways the watch motivates you, and something that is symptomatic of the gamified world we live in, is its system of achievements and badges: digital rosettes that pop up on the screen when you do something praiseworthy, and then hang around on your iPhone's Activity app so you can show them off to friends. (Some badges even come with iMessage stickers.)
There are standard badges that can be earned at any time by burning a particular number of calories, working out for a certain amount of time and so on. There are badges related to social sharing and competitions. And there are 'Limited Edition' challenges that have to be achieved on a specific occasion; Apple has announced one for International Women's Day on 8 Mar 2019.
This article is for the hardcore: those of us who won't be satisfied until we've earned every achievement badge for Activity on the Apple Watch. We list the badges, and we explain how to get them.
Reasons why badges are not being awarded
Before we move on to the individual badges, a few words on troubleshooting.
You may find that you satisfy the conditions for an achievement but discover that the badge has not appeared in your Achievements page. There are a number of possible reasons for this, some of them specific to each badge, but here are some general steps worth trying:
- Wait a few days - occasionally there's a lag before the award shows up. Apple says you'll get it within 9 days.
- Is it possible that you've earned the achievement but just not been notified? Check the Achievements page (open the Activity app on your iPhone and tap Achievements along the bottom) and see if the badge is there. You can choose to be notified of achievements by opening the Watch app on your iPhone, scrolling down and tapping Activity, then tapping the slider next to Achievements so it turns green.
- Check you've got Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled.
- Check your watch is connected to your iPhone.
- Restart your Apple Watch.
- Restart your iPhone.
- As a last resort, unpair and then re-pair the two devices. This is moderately drastic, as it will wipe everything from the watch. Make sure you've backed up first.
Standard achievement badges
On to the individual badges. We'll start with the standard badges that can be acquired at any time.
Most of these will be shown in the Achievements page (open the Activity app on the iPhone associated with your Apple Watch, then tap Achievements at the bottom of the screen) even before you earn them; tap one to see the requirements you need to satisfy in order to get it. But some will only appear when you earn them.
First [Exercise] Workout (eg First Cycling Workout)
One of the easiest badges to earn. The first time you do each type of workout in the Apple Watch Workout app, you'll get a badge: a gold outline of a star. For most types the workout will need to last at least five minutes to trigger the achievement.
We've got seven so far: cycling, elliptical, rowing, running, stair-stepper, swimming and walking. We believe there's also one for wheelchair workouts (these will only be available in the Workout app if you open the Watch app on your iPhone, then go to My Watch > Health > Edit and set Wheelchair to Yes) and Apple may add further workouts in the future, as it did with swimming when it launched the Apple Watch Series 2.
The two types of swimming, running, cycling and so on are each grouped together as a single achievement, so you don't get two separate badges by doing an indoor and an outdoor run, for instance.
[Exercise] Workout Record (eg Cycling Workout Record)
Slightly more advanced, and somewhat confusingly worded. For each First [Exercise] Workout badge described above there is a corresponding badge (this time a filled-in gold star) for beating your all-time 'calories burned' record for that workout type - but there are some complications.
First of all, you need to have done at least five workouts of that type. If the fifth workout, or any subsequent workout, burns more calories than every previous workout of that type, you'll get the badge.
The canny badge hunter will therefore ensure that the first four workouts of each type are not too strenuous, so that they can be easily beaten in future.
(If you're struggling to get these badges, you could try workouts that have a calorie-based goal and are at least 15 minutes long, as some users report that these help. If you're desperate then by all means try these strategies, but we can confirm that it's possible to get at least some of these badges using shorter-duration and open workouts.)
You need to do at least seven workouts in a single week, each of them at least 15 minutes long. If you're struggling to achieve this, remember to include your walks.
New Move Record
Awarded each time you beat your all-time record for calories burned (the red Move ring in the Activity app) in a single day.
Like the [X] Workout Record badge, it needs to be 'primed', in this case by using the Apple Watch for 10 days; after this point, any day's activity that beats all previous calorie records will earn this achievement.
New Exercise Record
As above, but for the green Exercise ring - it's awarded each time you beat your all-time record for minutes of exercise in a single day.
Again, it can only be awarded after you've been using the watch for 10 days.
Move Goal 200%
Whatever daily calorie target you've set for the red Move ring, this badge will be awarded if you manage to double it.
Clearly, unscrupulous badge hunters can pick this up easily by setting the Move goal very low (open the Activity app on your watch and do a hard press, then tap 'Change Move Goal'), but you're only cheating yourself. Instead, why not go for a lovely long run?
Move Goal 300%
As above, but you need to triple your daily Move target.
Move Goal 400%
As above, but you need to quadruple your daily Move target.
If your Move goal is at all realistic, this one will be really hard to get. We managed it eventually by going for a 25km run, and even then had to do some jogging on the spot in the evening to get the last few calories. Not easy!
New Move Goal
When you first set up your Apple Watch you choose what Move goal to aim for each day. To get this badge, you just need to hit that goal once.
You'll get the badge again each time you change the Move goal and then hit the new target. If you have weekly summaries activated, the Activity app will suggest a new target each Monday, based on how well you did the previous week. Alternatively, you can open the Activity app on your watch and do a hard press, then tap 'Change Move Goal'.
Longest Move Streak
Hit your Move goal several days in a row and you'll start building a streak. This badge will be awarded each time you beat your previous Move streak record.
Perfect Week (Move)
Hit the Move calories target every day of a week, Monday to Sunday.
Perfect Week (Exercise)
Hit the Exercise target every day of a week, Monday to Sunday.
Perfect Week (Stand)
Hit the Stand target every day of a week, Monday to Sunday.
Perfect Week (All Activity)
Hit all three targets (Move, Exercise and Stand) every day of a week, Monday to Sunday.
Hit the Move calories target every day of a calendar month. (There's no monthly badge for the Exercise and Stand targets.)
Unlike the Perfect Week achievements, which simply stack - I've got only one badge for Perfect Week (Stand), for instance, but if I tap on it I see it's been awarded 72 times - there are separate badges for each Perfect Month, with each month a different colour.
Monthly challenges (eg January Challenge)
A more recent addition, the monthly challenges look almost the same as the Perfect Month badges but have the year in silver instead of gold. They're a bit more interesting, too: each month there are different requirements. Sometimes these are easier than hitting the Perfect Month target; occasionally they are a lot harder.
The Dec 2017 challenge, for example, asked for at least 3 workouts, which wasn't asking a lot, while Jan 2018 set a manageable target for total calories burned in the month. But Feb demanded an average daily calorie score that was vastly higher than anything we'd managed before.
The monthly challenges also seem a tiny bit glitchy to us. We were sure we'd hit the targets for both January Challenge and Perfect Month (January) but only got the latter; then we didn't think we'd hit the goals for Feb and did get both badges.
At least we now know for sure that it is possible to get both. For a while we were exploring a theory that the silver month badges were intended as a consolation prize for people who didn't get the gold.
100 Move Goals
Hit your Move target 100 times. This doesn't need to be a streak - you just need to have done this 100 times in total.
365 Move Goals
Hit your Move target 365 times. Again, this doesn't need to be a streak, just a total.
500 Move Goals
Hit your Move target 500 times, in total.
1,000 Move Goals
Hit your Move target 1,000 times, in total.
Most of the badges above are perpetually available: if you haven't earned one yet you can satisfy its requirements in future.
But from time to time Apple announces special one-off 'Limited Edition' challenges - achievements that must be earned within a particular time frame, and often on one particular day. As well as the badge, you'll get an iMessage sticker so you can show off to your friends.
There have been eight of these challenges for UK users so far (others have been US-only). At one stage we wondered if Apple was phasing them out - no challenges were announced between Jun 2018 and Feb 2019, and we felt that social challenges were taking their place - but the announcement of a Heart Month challenge for 2019 shows these are still going.
It's International Women's Day on Thurs 8 Mar, and Apple is again marking the occasion with a challenge.
In fact the challenge itself has changed: in 2019 you have to do a walk/run/wheelchair workout of at least a mile (1.6km), whereas in 2018 you had to get twice your Move target.
Heart Month Challenge (8-14 Feb 2019 & 2018)
February is Heart Month, and to mark this Apple announced a new challenge in 2018 and repeated it in 2019. (Interestingly, this marked the first time Apple redesigned the logo for a repeated challenge.)
To get the badge you needed to close your Exercise ring every day from 8-14 Feb.
This one was slightly different, partly because it required the use of the Challenges app and partly because it involves teamwork, but it's otherwise similar to the other challenges listed below.
Apple announced a special challenge for developers attending WWDC 2018. Individuals who earned 200 points across the event (including bonus points for the performance of your teammates) received a reward on 8 June.
We don't know yet if Apple will repeat the challenge for WWDC 2019, but reckon this is likely.
Earth Day Challenge (22 Apr 2018 & 2017)
22 April 2017 is Earth Day, and Apple's Earth Day challenge was held in 2018 just as it was in 2017.
To earn the badge you had to do a workout of 30 minutes or more on Earth Day.
Ring in the New Year Challenge (January 2018 & 2017)
This was first awarded in January 2017 and was repeated in 2018. To earn the badge you had to close all three Activity rings for seven days in a row in the month of January.
Thanksgiving 2017 (23 Nov 2017 & 24 Nov 2016, US only)
Like the Mother's Day achievement this one was available only in the US, because even in the other country that celebrates Thanksgiving, it's on a different day. This was also the first challenge badge to be repeated.
To get the badge you needed to do a 5K (or longer) workout on Thanksgiving - it could be a walk, run or wheelchair workout.
Veterans Day Challenge (11 Nov 2017, US only)
On 11 November it was possible to collect a badge in honour of Veterans Day. It's a US-only badge, although we do commemorate Armistice Day on the same day here in the UK so perhaps something could have been worked out.
In any case, to get the badge you needed to do a workout lasting at least 11 minutes on that day - or multiple shorter workouts adding up to at least 11 minutes.
National Park Challenge (15 Jul 2017)
This took place on Saturday 15 July 2017. On that day you had to do a walk, run or wheelchair workout of 5.6km (3.5 miles) or more.
Why 5.6km? Apparently this is the distance from Old Faithful to Mallard Lake in Yellowstone National Park, a well-known hike. But despite these US-centric references, the challenge was available in the UK.
Mother's Day (14 May 2017, US only)
This took place on Mother's Day in the US: Sunday 14 May 2017. (In the UK we celebrate Mothering Sunday on a different day; the next one is 11 March 2018. For this reason this badge was available to American Apple Watch owners only.)
You had to complete a walk, run or wheelchair workout of at least one mile on 14 May. This could be done using the Apple Watch Workout app, but it also worked with any third-party app that integrates with Health.
With the launch of the watchOS 5 update, Apple launched competitions for Watch owners. (Here's how to set up and win Apple Watch competitions.) These allow you to gain added motivation by competing directly with the Activity performance of a friend, but also let you pick up some more badges.
This is the participation badge, and you're guaranteed one of these every time you finish a competition with someone - whether you thrash them or receive the beating of your life. Start the competition (you'll need to be sharing Activity data), go the full seven days, get the badge.
Victory over [friend]
This one is more competitive, but (almost) equally self-explanatory. You get this badge if you complete the competition and win... or draw.
Draws might sound rare when you're each being scored out of 4,200, but you may both score the maximum for the week. If this happens, you'll both get the victory badge.
Note that, whereas all Competition Complete badges look the same, you'll get a different design of victory badge for each person you vanquish.