How To Pair Apple Watch With Zwift – Step By Step Guide

I’ve got a confession to make. I’m a little bit of a Zwift addict. To track my heart rate on Zwift, I primarily use a Series 5 Apple Watch. Having racked up over 1,800 miles / 140 hours on Zwift, I’ve had my fair share of frustrations syncing my Apple Watch!

Zwift Home Screen

If you’ve come across this page, you’ve probably heard of Zwift already. If not, the elevator pitch is, Zwift is an indoor cycling app that lets you ride and race with other people in virtual worlds. For more information, check out our Zwift setup guide.

Depending on which device you use to run Zwift, there’s two options of pairing your Apple Watch.

Apple Watch & Wattbike

Option 1 – Pair Apple Watch To Zwift with iPhone

If you plan on running Zwift on your iPhone, then this is the easiest way to pair an Apple Watch with Zwift.

To get started, install Zwift on your iPhone and Apple Watch. Note – make sure it’s the Zwift app with the orange logo and not Zwift Companion (blue logo).

iPhone Zwift Apps
Zwift Apple Watch install

Once you have both iPhone and Watch apps installed, we can get started.

  1. Start the Zwift app on your iPhone and sign up or login (if you already have an account)
  2. Accept any Bluetooth permission request
  3. On the “Paired Devices” screen, pair your smart trainer – in my case my Wattbike
    • Tap on the “Heart Rate” logo and your Apple Watch should show up. Select your watch
  4. Assuming this is your first time connecting your watch, your phone will ask for Health Data Access. Select “Customize” and turn all health categories on
  5. Tap on “Let’s Go” and open the Zwift app on your Apple Watch and you’re good to start riding!
  6. Once your riding avatar is loaded on the map, your Apple Watch will start displaying your heart rate (bpm) and “IN GAME” in green. Your heart rate will also show up in the top left corner of your iPhone display
Apple Watch In Game

Next time you start the Zwift app, everything should be already setup, if not just follow 1-6 again

Troubleshooting Tips

Here are a few things to try if your Apple Watch doesn’t display your heart rate once you start riding.

  • Make sure Bluetooth is enabled on your iPhone
  • Check that the Health app Data Access & Devices is switched on for Zwift
  • Good old fashion IT support – restart both your iPhone and Apple Watch! 😂

Option 2 – Pair Apple Watch To Zwift with iPad (or PC, Mac, Apple TV)

For this type of setup, you’ll need the Zwift Companion app. Zwift describes it as “The Zwift Companion (ZC) app turns your mobile device into a remote control for Zwift and makes Zwifting more fun and social.

Essentially, the ZC app allows you to send your Apple Watch heart rate across to the Zwift game on other devices.

iPhone Zwift Apps
Apple Watch Zwift Companion
  1. Install the Zwift Companion app on your iPhone AND your Apple Watch (don’t get it confused with the orange Zwift app)
  2. Fire up the Zwift app on your device, login and go to the Paired Devices page
  3. Open up the Zwift Companion app on your iPhone and Apple Watch. It might take a few seconds for everything to sync up on your WiFi network. You’ll know it’s sync’d once the Zwift Companion app on your iPhone changes to a Map type view
  4. Tap on the “Heart Rate” logo and your Apple Watch should show up. Select your watch. Automatically it should start showing your heart rate
    1. If this is your first time connecting your watch, your phone will ask for Health Data Access. Select “Customize” and turn all health categories on
  5. Tap on “Let’s Go” and you’re good to start riding!
  6. Once your riding avatar is loaded on the map, your Apple Watch will start displaying your heart rate (bpm) and “IN GAME” in green. Your heart rate will also show up in the top left corner of your Zwift game display
  7. You’ll need to repeat steps 2-5 each time you jump on your bike for a ride
Zwift Game Loaded
Success!

Troubleshooting Tips

With this setup it’s a bit more fidgety and a few things can go wrong. Try these fixes and hopefully it can resolve any issues you may have.

Apple Watch Unpaired
The dreaded unpaired screen…
  • Make sure your iPhone and iPad (or any other device) is on the same WiFi network. Also make sure it’s got a good strong connection – without WiFi this type of setup will not work
  • The Zwift Companion app is installed and activated on your Apple Watch
  • Make sure Bluetooth is enabled on your iPhone
  • Check that the Health app Data Access & Devices is switched on for Zwift
  • If all else fails, restart all your devices! 😂

Apple Watch Keeps Becoming Unpaired

This issue happens to me from time to time. If you find that your Apple Watch loses connection once you start a ride, try the following steps:

  • Select Menu on the bottom left
  • Pair
  • Disconnect the Heart Rate and try pairing the Apple Watch again (this might take a couple goes)

Is The Apple Watch Heart Rate Monitor Accurate For Zwift?

For the most reliable and accurate heart rate measurements in Zwift, you’re better off pairing a heart rate monitor (HRM) strap. That’s not to say that the Apple Watch HRM function is outrageously inaccurate, but if you want pro level precision, go with a chest strap HRM.

I personally use my Apple Watch 95% of the time, but my back up HRM is a Wattbike Dual Mode Heart Strap which is compatible with ANT+/Bluetooth devices. For me, it’s a personal preference and there’s less clean up post ride if I use my Apple Watch. The Apple Watch / Zwift combo also exports the data nicely to Strava for me.

For others, they just don’t like the chest strap and find it uncomfortable or they just don’t own a HRM strap. Whichever you end up using, just keep it consistent and it’ll show you your overall fitness trend. Don’t sweat the couple heart beats! 😉

If you’re still having issues pairing your Apple Watch and Zwift, drop me a line below and I’ll try to help out!

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