How activity competitions work in watchOS 5

One of the cool new features in iOS 12 and watchOS 5 is the ability to set up competitions. You can set up a seven-day competition with a friend, for example, which works as an excellent motivation to ramp up your activity level. It's a step beyond simply sharing because now you've got something at stake, especially since you can win and collect rewards.

Want to get started using competitions or just want to try it out?

Start sharing

What do you need to do before you can set up an activity competition?

  • Before you can set up a competition with someone, you must already be sharing your activity.
  • For detailed information on how to start sharing activity, read our handy guide.

Invite your friend from your iPhone

Here's how to set up a competition from the Activity app on your iPhone.

  1. Open the Activity app on your iPhone running iOS 12 or later.
  2. Tap on the Sharing tab.
  3. Tap on your friend's name.
  4. Tap on Compete with (name).
  5. A pop-up will tell you that you're inviting the friend to a 7-day competition, tap Invite (name).
  6. Wait for her or him to accept your invitation.

Invite your friend from your Apple Watch

Alternatively, you can set up a competition from the Activity app on your watch.

  1. Open the Activity app on your Apple Watch running watchOS 5 or later.
  2. Swipe left to access the Sharing screen.
  3. Tap on your friend's name.
  4. Scroll down, then tap on Compete.
  5. Tap on Invite (name).
  6. Wait for him or her to accept your invitation.     

Kick some behind!

Your friend has accepted your invite, now what?

  • Work out now, you're in it to win it!
  • Check your competitor's progress anytime in the Activity app on your Apple Watch or iPhone.
  • You can earn up to 600 points per day, which is a maximum of 4200 for the week.
  • You will get Apple Watch notifications of your competitor's progress throughout the week.
  • You can respond with the trash-talking pre-sets with a tap, or you can write your own positive encouragement messages via dictation or scribbling.

This is a fun way to get motivated to squeeze more activity into your day. Sharing has been available on the Apple Watch for a while. But the new ability in watchOS 5 to set up a competition brings more immediacy.

Each time you win a competition, you get an achievement to add to your collection. Could this be the extra push to get up off of the couch on a regular basis? Let us know in the comments below if you've tried it out.

Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at TechRadar and Tom's Guide. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, CNET, AppAdvice, and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.