Apple Fitness Plus: what it is, how much it costs and everything you need to know 

Another tool in your health and fitness utility belt

Apple Fitness Plus is Apple’s subscription-based exercise and workout service that launched in 2020. It offers a wide range of exercise classes, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT), cycling, yoga, strength training, and dance, to name but a few.  

It isn’t available to everyone, and you will definitely get more out of it if you also have an Apple Watch. But for anyone who is interested in and eligible for Apple Fitness Plus, there’s a lot on offer, so it’s almost certain that you’ll find an exercise that appeals to you. 

A man in a garden doing yoga. His hands are on his chest and his legs are crossedCredit: Apple

We’ll explain all the key details, so you can decide for yourself whether it’s suitable for you. And then the hardest decision may be choosing which workout to start with.

Get the app

How to get Apple Fitness+

If you want to use Apple Fitness Plus, then you’re going to need one of the following Apple Devices:  

  • Apple Watch  
  • iPhone 8 or later  
  • iPad (with iPadOS 14.3 or later) 
  • Apple TV (with tvOS 14.3 or later).  

You can check full compatibility requirements on the Apple website. If you have an Apple Watch, then you’ll also need an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV in order to see the workouts.  

Assuming you have one of these devices, you then need to make sure you have the Fitness app downloaded on your phone. If it isn’t already there, you may need to download it from the App Store 

Sign in using your Apple ID (this is the account you use to access all your other Apple services and get all your Apple devices to work together).

Once you’re signed-in, you’re ready to choose a workout. We have a more detailed guide on how to set up Apple Fitness Plus if you need a little more help.  

Apple Watch

Do you need an Apple Watch to use Fitness+?

No, you don’t need an Apple Watch in order to use Apple Fitness Plus. But you will miss out on certain features, such as your heart rate data being displayed on the screen, or your estimated calorie burn. Features like these can be motivational, encouraging you to push for that one extra rep, or that final push at the end of the workout. 

Owners of an Apple Watch can use the rings on their watch to add to their workout experience. The rings are also displayed on your screen, so you can track your progress as you exercise. 

The red ring shows your estimated calorie burn and the green ring tells you how much exercise you’ve done. The blue ‘Stand’ ring shows you how many times you’ve stood and moved for at least one minute per hour. If it’s displayed, when you close a ring, you will see a brief animation to celebrate. 

Close your rings

You’ll hear the phrase, ‘close your rings’ a lot during Apple Fitness Plus workouts. The concept behind the rings is simple. The Apple Watch has three rings on it – red, blue and green. The goal is to close the rings every day, by achieving certain activity goals. There are three rings:

The red ‘move’ ring is closed by completing your personal goal of active calories burned. You can set or change this goal by using the Activity app on the watch.

The green ‘exercise’ ring can be closed by doing 30 minutes of activity each day. Anything at a brisk walking pace or above counts towards this.

And the blue ‘stand’ ring is closed by getting up and moving for at least one minute during 12 different hours of the day.

The activity rings have also been optimised for wheelchair users, where the ‘stand’ ring becomes the ‘roll’ ring. It will track different stroke types to credit the ‘move’ and ‘exercise’ rings correctly.

There’s even something called the ‘burn bar’ which displays a graphic of your efforts compared with other people who have also completed the workout. It shows you how you compare to them, and working harder could see you move to the front.  

The integration of Apple Fitness Plus without the Apple Watch is definitely one of its benefits. But there’s still plenty on offer if you don’t have an Apple Watch but have another compatible Apple device 

Cost

Apple Fitness+ price

We’ve mentioned the fact that this is a subscription service. There are different payment options: 

A monthly subscription costs £9.99. If you are happy to pay for a full year upfront, it will cost £79.99 – a significant potential saving, if you’re confident you’ll keep using it. 

Additionally, you could use the Apple One subscription service. With this, you can subscribe to a collection of Apple services for one monthly fee. Apple Fitness Plus is only available on the ‘Premier’ plan, which also offers access to Apple Music, Apple TV, Apple Arcade, News Plus, and provides you with 2TB of iCloud storage.  

You can share these services with up to five other people – so if you have friends or family members who might benefit, this could be a good option. It costs £32.95 a month.  

If you’re a new subscriber, you can enjoy a one-month free trial. Or, if you buy a new iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Apple TV, and have never used Apple Fitness before, then you can get a whole three months for free to test it out. Just remember to cancel your subscription at the end of the trial period if you don’t want to be charged. 

an iPad with a selection of Apple Fitness Plus programmes to choose fromCredit: Apple

Workouts

Apple Fitness+ workouts

Of course, the workouts are the star of the show here. And there are a lot of workouts to choose from. Apple Fitness Plus offers a wide variety of activities to suit almost anyone: kickboxing, meditation, HIIT, yoga, core, strength, Pilates, dance, cycling, treadmill, rowing, and mindful cooldown are all categories for you to select from. 

The workouts range from as little as five minutes, up to 45 minutes. New classes are added every week, and the home page offers a “what’s new in 60 seconds” round-up, to tell you what’s been added. 

Apple also curates a series of workouts into collections, which can help you to reach a particular goal. Collections include “Run Your First 5K” which offers a selection of treadmill routines. There’s a “Workouts for Beginners” option, and a “Workouts for Older Adults” programme, with a specific focus on improving age-related strength, flexibility, balance and mobility issues. We’ll discuss this in more depth later. 

If you don’t want to follow a specific routine, you can choose from any of the workouts available. You can also choose workouts based on particular artists or genres. So, if you fancy working out to Queen or Abba (among others) there are numerous options available. 

All the workouts include a modifier to make things easier if you find yourself starting to struggle. And while there is a lot of choice, Apple Fitness monitors which workouts you are doing and will suggest others to make sure you get a balanced fitness regime. If you’re doing too much HIIT, it might, for instance, suggest that some yoga is a good idea. 

Two more features that have been added in the last couple of years are Time to Walk and Time to Run. 

Walk

Time to Walk

Launched in January 2021, Time to Walk was created to “inspire Apple Watch users to walk more”. It’s an audio experience where users take a stroll, accompanied by an interesting person such as an actor, author or athlete, sharing stories, photos and music.

Previous guests include Malala Yousafzai, Jennifer Lopez, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Prince William. Each episode is 25-40 minutes long, and wheelchair users can select Time to Push instead. 

Run

Time to Run

Time to Run launched in January 2022. This is for listening to as you go for a run. Instead of a celebrity telling you stories, this mode features a running coach out for a run in a variety of different cities.

As they run, they’ll tell you about the route they are on, and any landmarks they pass. Photos will pop up on your Apple Watch along the way, and they’ll also provide coaching tips and encouragement as you go. Like Time to Walk, for wheelchair users Time to Run becomes Time to Run or Push.  

One interesting feature is that the music in each episode is based on whichever city the coach is running in. Playlists are designed to mirror the intensity of the run, and capture the spirit of the city the run takes place in. For example, Miami features Latin music. With both Time to Walk and Time to Run, any playlists you particularly enjoy can be added to your iPhone later. 

Apple Fitness Plus trainer Molly Fox doing exercise on a chairCredit: Apple

Curated workouts

Workouts for Older Adults

Workouts for Older Adults is a curated programme of eight different routines, two strength workouts, two core, two yoga, and two dance. One strength workout focuses on the upper body, while the second focuses on the lower body. Core workouts look to improve stability and strengthen your back. Yoga is about increasing flexibility and ease of movement. And dance focuses on developing cardio fitness.  

Each of these workouts is only 10 minutes long, and some encourage you to use a light dumbbell for extra strength-building, or a chair if you need a little extra support.

These are very much designed to ease people into exercise, in the hope that after a while, you’ll feel fit and strong enough to start trying some of the other workouts on Apple Fitness Plus. The modified moves that you learn here can also be applied to many of the other workouts, for instance by using a chair or a wall. 

Equipment

Apple Fitness Plus: what equipment do I need?

This will depend a lot on which workouts you intend to do. We’ve already mentioned that you’ll need an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV to access the program. Beyond that, if you’re following a cycling, rowing or running routine, you’ll need an exercise bike, rowing machine or treadmill to get the most out of these.  

You may also want to consider investing in one of the best yoga mats if you want to do any yoga, Pilates or other floor-based workouts. Finally, the strength workouts often incorporate dumbbells.   

Who’s it for?

Who is Apple Fitness Plus for?

Apple has tried hard to create a fitness offering that’s suitable for anyone – whether you’re a regular gym goer, or someone who is trying to exercise for the first time in a while.

Apple Fitness Plus can be done almost anywhere, so it’s great for people who don’t like the gym or might be feeling self-conscious about exercising around other people. It’s also great for anyone who travels a lot and wants to do a quick workout while they’re away from home.  

The range of exercise types means there’s something that will appeal to almost everyone, and the variety of coaches means you’ll almost certainly find at least one whose style you particularly like. 

The fact that workouts can be as long as 45 minutes, or as little as five , means that most people will be able to fit it in, no matter how busy their lives are. And it’s obviously much easier than packing your gym bag and trekking across town for a class. For many, Apple Fitness Plus is well worth checking out. If you want to know if we think Apple Fitness Plus is worth it, you can read our review after we tried it for three months. 

If you don’t own any Apple devices, or don’t like the idea of a monthly subscription, there are plenty of other ways to get active; consider the benefits of walking or running, for example.  

Steven Shaw

Written by Steven Shaw he/him

Updated:

Steven Shaw has been a freelance writer for a variety of outlets, most notably TechRadar. His degree in Medieval History prepared him less adequately for his career than you might expect, but the years spent working in technology focused retail were much more helpful.

Outside of work, Steven is passionate about health and fitness, and particularly enjoys high-intensity interval training, weight training, and increasingly, spending time recovering. Steven loves reading, films and a wide variety of sports. A particular highlight was watching Viv Richards and Sachin Tendulkar batting together in an exhibition match.

He wishes he could travel more. He can also tell you a lot about the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Carolingians. Most of his non-work time is spent with his young children, who are the living embodiment of high-intensity training.