Missing GPS data? Apple suggests wiping and restoring iPhone and Apple Watch

It wasn’t long after the watchOS 7 release that some Apple Watch owners started reporting missing GPS data from workouts.

Apple now has a suggested partial fix, but it appears it won’t restore the missing data …

We reported the problem last month.

Some Apple Watch owners are reporting missing GPS data following an update to watchOS 7. When they record a workout, only the start point is stored […]

The reports span the Apple Watch Series 3, 4, and 5 – that is, all existing models which support the update. Some say Apple has told them it’s a Strava issue, but others report the same thing with multiple apps.

Some have been able to fix the problem by un-pairing and re-pairing the Watch, but another user said this made things worse, losing existing data from their apps.

MacRumors spotted a new Apple Support document addressing the issue. It appears the iOS 14 and watchOS 7 updates could cause a whole array of problems, not just missing GPS data.

After updating to iOS 14.0 and watchOS 7.0, you might notice:

  • Your workout route maps are missing in the Fitness app on iPhone for previous GPS-enabled workouts from your Apple Watch.
  • The Activity, Heart Rate, or other health-related apps fail to launch or load data on your Apple Watch.
  • The Fitness app or Health app fail to launch or load data on your iPhone.
  • The Health app or Fitness app is reporting an inaccurate amount of data storage on your iPhone.
  • The Activity app is reporting an inaccurate amount of data storage on your Apple Watch.
  • Your environmental sound levels data or headphone audio levels data from Apple Watch is missing in the Health app on iPhone.
  • Increased battery drain on your iPhone or Apple Watch.

Apple’s proposed solution is the rather scary one of erasing and restoring both Watch and iPhone.

  • Unpair your Apple Watch from your iPhone
  • Verify iCloud settings and create a backup
  • Erase all content and settings from your iPhone
  • Restore your iPhone and Apple Watch from backup

The support document contains detailed instructions for each step. It also contains a warning Apple wouldn’t need if it didn’t limit free iCloud storage to 5GB:

Before creating a backup, make sure that you have enough iCloud storage.

From Apple’s wording, it would appear that these steps won’t restore missing data – that is gone for good. It says that the procedure will only ‘prevent future data loss.’

Note too that you’ll have to re-add payment cards used for Apple Pay on both your iPhone and your watch, as these won’t be restored automatically.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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