Apple Fitness Plus is a subscription-based workout service that gives you a huge choice of exercise classes to try at home, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT), indoor cycling, treadmill running, yoga, strength, and pilates.
The main thrust of Fitness Plus is being able to choose the workout you want - each pre-recorded video has a specific workout type, music, time and trainer, so you're able to select whichever you're in the mood for, aping gym class schedules and giving you the choice of workouts on the go.
Heart rate data from your Apple Watch is displayed on-screen while you work out, showing just how hard you're pushing yourself, and encouraging you to try that extra little bit harder.
When you want to get out and about, you'll also have access to a tool called Time to Walk, which lets you take a stroll while listening to inspiring stories from a celebrity or athlete. These are much like podcasts, and can be loaded onto your Apple Watch before you head out, so you can listen without your phone.
Update: In January 2022, Apple launched a new tool called Time to Run, in which a running coach leads you on a virtual route through a particular city. You'll hear a themed soundtrack as you run, and receive tips and training suggestions based on the location.
At the same time, Apple launched Collections, which are programs of workouts designed to help you achieve specific goals – whether that's running your first 5K, developing better bedtime habits, improving your posture, or boosting your core strength.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? An Apple-Watch powered fitness service
- When was it released? December 14, 2020
- How much does it cost? $9.99 / £9.99 / AU$14.99 per month or $79.99 / £79.99 / AU$119.99 per year (current Apple Watch owners get one month free, new Watch buyers will get three months free)
Apple Fitness Plus price
The pricing for the new Fitness Plus service is pretty simple on its own: it's $9.99 / £9.99 / AU$14.99 per month, or $79.99 / £79.99 / AU$119.99 if you want to take it out for the year.
However, if you sign up for the premium tier on Apple One, Apple's new services subscription service, then you'll get Fitness Plus, News Plus, Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade and Apple Music - along with massive amounts of iCloud storage - for $29.95 / £29.95 / AU$39.95 per month.
Also, if you're thinking of buying an Apple Watch (Series 3 or later) then you'll get three months of Fitness Plus free, and if you already own said wristwear, then you'll still get a full free month of dribbling sweat all over your iPhone.
Apple Fitness Plus workouts
Apple Fitness Plus started life as a service similar to Peloton, with qualified instructors leading classes that you can take part in at home. Over time, however, it's grown into something much bigger, with outdoor walking, running, meditation sessions, and mindfulness all thrown into the mix.
At the heart of Apple Fitness Plus are the workout videos. The service offers a wide assortment of activities: high-intensity interval training (HIIT), yoga, core workouts, strength training, treadmill walking or running, indoor cycling and rowing, dance, and mindful cooldown. In September 2021, Apple added Pilates too, along with new meditation classes. Whichever activity you prefer, new sessions are added each week, and each one lasts between five and 45 minutes.
These videos are available on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, and your heart rate will be streamed from your Apple Watch to the screen while you're exercising. If the instructor tells you to push harder, you'll be able to see your heart rate increase as you raise the intensity.
When the instructor on the screen wants you to focus on your heart rate, that metric will expand to make it more prominent for you; it's a fusion of pre-recorded video, plus dynamic and interactive stats from your own effort.
Trainers can also trigger different highlights to your metrics - whether that's how filled your 'move rings' (Apple's daily measurement of your movement) are, or how long left in a specific interval, those elements will change accordingly.
While you're working out, a graphic called the Burn Bar will show you how far ahead you are of the average user in any given workout. This is equalized for weight and height, so it's meant to be a true reflection of the effort you're putting in without losing out to someone at a genetic advantage.
Apple Fitness Plus is also designed to give you balance in your workouts - when you open the app, you'll see suggested videos to do, and if you've been doing a lot of HIIT or running, it'll guide you towards strength or flexibility work instead.
It'll also encourage you to push a little bit harder on occasion, but there's no way to have a dedicated fitness program to help you get fitter over time - that's up to you, choosing the right workout you feel you need.
If you're just starting out, or the idea of taking part in even a virtual studio class is a little daunting, there's an 'absolute beginner' class to let you get up to speed with your fitness goals before jumping right in. There are also modifications to suit older and pregnant people.
Apple Time to Walk
In January 2021, Apple launched Time to Walk – a new feature that encourages you to get outside in the fresh air and take a stroll. Available only to Fitness Plus subscribers, it's an audio experience that essentially lets you go for a walk with famous public figures such as actors, musicians, activists, and athletes.
Each Time to Walk episode is voiced by a different person, who will tell you some interesting stories about their lives while you're walking. Occasionally, a photo will appear on your Apple Watch, helping bring their tale to life. Each guest also chooses three songs that have special meaning to them, and these are played towards the end of the episode. If you have an iTunes subscription, you can add the playlist to your phone afterwards.
Each episode lasts about 25-40 minutes, and more are added regularly. If you use a wheelchair, there's a Time to Push option that works in exactly the same way,
Apple Time to Run
Time to Run is a new feature added to Apple Fitness Plus in January 2022. The principle is similar to Time to Walk, but instead of listening to tales from celebrities streamed from your Apple Watch, you hear a running coach as they make their way through a city.
Although you'll almost certainly be running somewhere else, the coach aims to give you a feel for their route, and photos of landmarks will appear on your watch throughout the run.
The coach will also give you running tips for drills to follow based on their location. For example, one of the first Time to Run sessions was led by coach Cory Wharton-Malcolm, who devised a series of tips based around the acronym LONDONER.
You'll also hear a playlist of songs based around the city where the coach is running, and as with Time to Walk, you can save this to your phone later if you enjoy it.
Apple Fitness Plus trainers
There's a wealth of new fitness trainers on offer for the new Fitness Plus service, from all walks of life and disciplines - a trainer who began surfing and jiu jitsu before finding yoga, elite athletes, pro runners and more.
The idea is that this is a team you can recognize over time, much as you would in a studio fitness set up. The different trainers will appear in each other's videos from time to time (socially distanced, we assume) so there will be a level of cohesion between the sessions, and allow you to find your favorites when it comes to who you want to work out with.
Apple Fitness+ specs and requirements
While the key thing you're going to need to make the Fitness Plus app work is the subscription, you'll also obviously need an Apple Watch - this is another move from Apple to get users to embed themselves even more firmly in its ecosystem.
In terms of which Watch, anyone with an older model will probably be out of luck - you'll need the Apple Watch 3 and above to use Fitness Plus, and an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV to access the service.
If you've got a compatible Apple Watch, you'll also need to make sure it's running the latest watchOS software to let it beam across to other devices.
Fitness Plus is also compatible with GymKit, which adds another layer of data to things. That means that if you're using a connect treadmill, for instance, the speed you're running at will be transferred to your Watch and will be shown in your metrics on screen.
Apple Fitness Plus release date
Apple Fitness Plus launched on December 14, 2020, in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK, and the US. Since then, it's also rolled out in Austria, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, and the UAE.
- Not convinced about Apple Watch? There are plenty other fitness trackers