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Here's how Apple could improve Activity rings

Apple Watch rings
Apple Watch rings (Image credit: iMore)

There hasn't been a lot of Apple Watch rumors heading into this year's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which starts remotely on June 22. One of the few stories that have been leaked (hopefully successfully), has to do with a rethinking of the device's activity rings for kids. Apple should take this a step further and offer activity rings customization tools for everyone and here's how.

Where we are

Apple Close Your Rings

Apple Close Your Rings (Image credit: Apple)

The three rings found on the Apple Watch haven't changed since the first device launched in April 2015. These include a Move, Exercise, and Stand ring. The first of these is the only one currently the end-user can change. The Move ring tracks the active calories you burn. By contrast, the Exercise ring shows how many minutes of brisk activity you've completed. You must complete 30 minutes a day to close the Exercise circle. The final ring, Stand, requires that you stand at least one minute in 12 hours of the day.

The purpose of the three rings is useful, of course. Keeping track of our activity makes us more aware of what we're doing and gives us a subtle push each day to reach our goals. In the case of the Move ring, we can make adjustments over time to push us even further by increaasing the goal.

Of the three rings, one cardiac surgeon recently said, the Exercise circle is the most important.

As Dr. Brian Lima explained to Well + Good, by completing this ring, "you're helping maintain not only your cardiovascular health but also promoting your overall wellbeing, mental sharpness, self-esteem, and other cascading benefits."

Where we're going

The American Heart Association's (AHA) Life's Simple 7 Measures says adults should get 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic exercise. By contrast, kids and teens should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

According to a March report, Apple is likely to change the Move ring for kids and teens to match these requirements better. As first noted by 9to5Mac, instead of showing a Move goal based on active calories burned, watchOS 7 may allow a kid (or parent) to change this to a Move goal of 60 minutes of productive time.

Apple should take this even further and rethink those 30 minutes of exercise time that are currently required to close that ring. I'm not an exercise expert and not claiming to be. However, I am committed to closing my three rings each day and have been for over five years. As a long-time Apple Watch user, I'd like to be able to control my Exercise ring goal beyond the minimum. At the same time, perhaps Apple needs to rethink how the Move and Exercise rings are calculated based on the AHA requirements.

One final point

While advocating changes to the Apple Watch rings, I have another suggestion. Instead of three rings, Apple should make it four, adding one for daily water intake.

We've often heard that we should drink eight glasses of water each day. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), we should drink much more than this each day.

For men, the IOM recommends a total of 13 cups of fluid each day compared to nine cups for women. Pregnant women, by contrast, should drink about 10 cups of water daily, while those who breastfeed need about 12 cups.

What do you think?

Whatever Apple Watch changes are coming will be announced soon. In the meantime, what type of changes would you like to see? Let us know in the comments section below.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.

1 Comment
  • I'd like to be able to turn my minutes up above 30. I can't fathom them even considering water intake as a ring tho, cause they can't monitor it. The current 3 rings they have ways to monitor & record on the watch. I'd like to see a 4th ring, but IDK what it would be, and I assume would require some kind of new hardware or FDA approval.