Low pressure weather disrupts Apple Watch altimeter readings

Apple Watch Series 6 Hero
Apple Watch Series 6 Hero (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • A spell of low pressure in Germany has thrown many Apple Watch altimeters off, giving incorrect readings to users.
  • Without manual calibration, users are unable to fix the problem manually.

A spell of low pressure in Germany has caused altimeters on the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE to give out some wonky readings.

As reported by iPhone-ticker.de:

In the last days of December, Germany was in the middle of a large low pressure zone. Anyone who owns an Apple Watch Series 6 or Apple Watch SE with an integrated altimeter only had to look at their watch to confirm this weather situation. The air pressure, which has changed due to the weather, has apparently ensured that the current altitude was displayed by the clock by 200 to 300 meters too high.

iPhone-ticker says it has received "a number" of complaints about the issue. According to the report, users in Apple's German support forums have established that a period of low air pressure at high altitudes has combined to throw the altimeters off. As the report notes, this is standard behavior when it comes to barometric altimeters. Unfortunately, however, the usual remedy of simply recalibrating is not available to Apple Watch users because this can't be done manually. Apple added the always-on altimeter to Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE last year. From Apple:

The always-on altimeter provides real-time elevation all day long by using a new, more power-efficient barometric altimeter, along with GPS and nearby Wi-Fi networks. This feature allows for the detection of small elevation changes above ground level, up and down to the measurement of 1 foot, and can be shown as a new watch face complication or workout metric.

Some users are reportedly still experiencing the issue, and have found the only solution to be a factory-reset of their iPhone and Apple Watch.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9