Apple Watch 4 GPS Accuracy (44mm Nike Edition)

FTC: Affiliate Disclosure: All links pay commission

Reading Time: 5 minutesTest Route I’ve done my GPS ‘test’ on the Apple Watch 4 (44mm Nike Edition). The Apple Watch 4 (AW4) uses GLONASS as well as GPS but let’s call it GPS as no-one knows what GNSS means, except you clever lot reading this πŸ˜‰ . The even cleverer ones amongst you will point out that the GNSS chip is GALILEO compatible, so the Apple Watch 4 is probably using that as well. The results OF THIS ONE TEST are very interesting and unusual, if I may say so. I’ll hold fire until a later review/post with my…


Selected content like this is exclusively available to readers logged in as SUPPORTERS and may be made publically available later.

The EXCEPTIONS which are always supporter-only are

  • DETAILED ACCURACY posts that form part of larger reviews - please log in to view this. Accuracy tests take a VAST amount of time to produce which I can't otherwise justify.
  • SPECIAL INDUSTRY INFORMATION not available elsewhere and specifically targetted at organisations and their research.

Note: Accuracy results ARE always summarised in the main review of the product and some data files may be available for you to download, however, to read the detailed accuracy posts, you will always need to be a supporter.


Please come back soon or login to your supporter account. Most content is normally publicly available immediately, nearly all content will be freely, publicly available at some point.

If you want to just see this content now you can subscribe for a short and inexpensive minimum period.

Register | Lost your password?


If you want to support this site and get immediate access as well as receiving a faster ad-free site and other benefits then please read more here:

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Hi! Two silly questions: did you leave the phone at home? The AW uses its GPS only if it is unable to use the phone’s (to save battery).
The other question is regarding how you record the run. I mean, if the AW is somehow changing the raw data, it must be the Workout app. Maybe using the Strava or Endomondo app the results are more β€œreal” and you can then separate the gps signal from the accelerometer correction.


Please, do not take my comment as criticism.

I’ve seen the comment of Lee Davis and my point is the same. I’ve been testing an AW the last few days but I’ve been unable (IT tendinitis) to test the GPS. But I’ve read several posts in different blogs talking about the differences between using Workout and another app (Strava mainly), and I wanted to know your expert analysis.

saludos! πŸ™‚

Lee Davis

There’s been lots of comparisons done in the past and results show that the default workout app cuts corners and ends up being comparable to Garmin (as you say), but using 3rd party apps like Strava or Workoutdoors which appear to have more frequent sampling provides very accurate results and no cutting of corners. I’m a 10+ Garmin user, but decided to try an Apple Watch from the S4 and must say I’m very pleasantly surprised. Just fails me on all day hikes though πŸ™

Lee Davis

I’ll dig out the link to the YouTube video I watched just last week. The guy did the same track, running, walking, cycling with a garmin and an Apple Watch. The Garmin was simply there each time to provide a comparison because there’s no guarantees you can follow your last route exactly. But the one key finding was a difference between using Apple’s workouts app and the Strava app and the GPS plots were very different with no smoothing and greater accuracy.


Hi there, just found this post and I’m facing a similar issue when comparing my Apple Workouts distance and the exported GPX file.
According to Apple Workouts I’ve run 8.190 meters but when I check the GPX file it says 7.970 meters.
Where this distance difference is coming from? if the AW is supposed to use the GPS, why the resultant GPX file shows less distance?
I’ve tried to get a response from Apple but they just say: The AW uses the GPS.
This difference between the Apple Workouts and the GPX file is driving me crazy.
Any thoughts?


tfk, the5krunner

there could be an issue of the AW switching over to its own gps from that of the smartphone. as a test, start and stop the WELL away from the phone.
there could also be an issue with the start of a workout waiting a few seconds to capture sesor info (hr and gps). maybe start a dummy workout for 2 minues walking around. discard it and then start your real workout.
i’m not saying do it each time, just to eliminate these possibilities.


I go running without the smartphone, so the AW should only get its own GPS signal. Do we know how long it takes to get the GPS signal when I start the running workout? it could be the reason of the difference between the distance in the workouts app and in the GPX file.

tfk, the5krunner

test it. try standing still for 2 minutes and then starting