How Apple Watch Measures VO2 Max: A Step-By-Step Guide

Understanding how Apple Watch measures VO2 Max can offer you critical insights into your fitness levels. This guide aims to walk you through every step of the process to make this feature work best for you. With our detailed and practical advice, even if you’re a novice, you’ll master this in no time.

how apple watch measures vo2 max

Understanding How Apple Watch Measures VO2 Max

The VO2 Max feature in the Apple Watch serves as a reliable indicator of your aerobic fitness. Essentially, it calculates the amount of oxygen your body can consume during a specific form of exercise. Understanding how Apple Watch measures VO2 Max can help you optimize your fitness routine.


Before you delve into understanding how Apple Watch measures VO2 Max, there are a few prerequisites to tick off. To use this feature, you need:

  • An Apple Watch Series 3 or later: Older versions do not support VO2 Max measurement.
  • The latest version of watchOS: Make sure your watch’s operating system is up-to-date to benefit from the latest features and improvements.
  • An iPhone with the latest iOS: Your iPhone needs to run the most recent version of its operating system for seamless synchronization between the devices.

These requirements ensure that you have the most accurate and comprehensive VO2 Max data. Failing to meet these prerequisites may result in incorrect or unavailable measurements.

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Step 1: Set Up Your Apple Watch

The first step in understanding how Apple Watch measures VO2 Max is ensuring your device is correctly set up. To do this, open the ‘Watch’ app on your iPhone.

Navigate through the interface to confirm that your Apple Watch is listed as a paired device. Proper setup is essential as it forms the basis for all subsequent data measurements, including VO2 Max.

Step 2: Open the Workout App

Once your Apple Watch is set up, press the Digital Crown on the side of your watch to access the app menu. Locate the ‘Workout’ app, which is represented by an icon that looks like a running figure.

Tap it to open. This app is crucial because it is what the Apple Watch uses to collect the data it needs to calculate your VO2 Max.

Step 3: Choose Your Workout

The next step in understanding how Apple Watch measures VO2 Max involves choosing the right type of workout.

You’ll have several options such as walking, running, cycling, etc. For VO2 Max measurements, it’s advisable to choose either a walking or running workout. These workouts offer the most accurate data for the calculation.

Source: Healthline

Step 4: Perform the Workout

After selecting your workout, you need to perform it for at least 20 minutes to get an accurate VO2 Max measurement. During the workout, the Apple Watch will monitor various metrics like your heart rate, pace, and the GPS data if you are outdoors.

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The watch combines all this data to calculate your VO2 Max. Make sure you maintain a consistent effort throughout the workout for the most accurate result.

Step 5: Check Your VO2 Max

Once your workout is complete, your Apple Watch will automatically calculate your VO2 Max. You can check this value by navigating to the ‘Health’ app on your iPhone.

Within the app, tap on ‘Browse’ at the bottom, then select ‘Respiratory’ from the list. Finally, tap on ‘VO2 Max’ to view your reading. Knowing how Apple Watch measures VO2 Max can empower you to utilize this data for improving your fitness regimen.


Understanding how Apple Watch measures VO2 Max is not just for the tech-savvy or fitness buffs. It’s a valuable metric that anyone can use to gain a deeper understanding of their aerobic fitness. By following these step-by-step instructions, you’re now equipped to make the most of this advanced feature, enabling you to better monitor your fitness levels over time.