As those of you who follow me on mastodon know, a while back, I had given up on my Apple Watch. I had actually put it in a drawer, because I had gotten so frustrated with the changes to the run tracking on it.
I run, but not because I’m any kind of runner. It’s a way to exercise, to get my cardio in, and during the pandemic, well, a pretty easy way to not get completely out of shape. I run anywhere between 3 & 5 miles on a given run, so I’m not like Adam Engst or Heather Kilborn, friends of mine who are Runners. I’m not a serious runner. So what I wanted out of my watch was simple shit. Distance, Elapsed Time, Calories, Heart Rate, Pace. That’s it. I know there’s all kinds of things you can track, but those are the things I care about and for years, that was what I saw.
Then in a recent WatchOS update, it all went to hell. Split times, lap times, a half-dozen stats that if I were a Serious Runner, I’d care about. And no matter how I tried I couldn’t get it to show me what I wanted. So I was like, fuck this shit, I’m out. I carry my phone anyway, so the watch was a convenience. And if I couldn’t use it for the one really “smart” thing I had it for, why bother with it?
Fortunately, someone on Mastodon (and I am blanking on who, my apologies) helped me find the secret settings. Wherein if you go to outdoor workout, tap on the settings widget, then do the counterintuitive thing of creating a custom workout, you can enter the what feels like 3m tall list of settings that you can turn off and on and eventually get what you want.
So much scrolling.
But why? Why is this only on the watch, and not on the watch app on the iPhone, where this would be trivial? This is the kind of thing where whomever was designing this update at Apple decided most of the users are Serious Runners, and so would only want these settings on the watch. That’s the only theory that makes sense. I don’t have a problem with the settings being on the watch, I have a problem with the settings ONLY being on the watch and being unable to change them on the phone, which has an infinitely better UI for this. I have a problem with the settings being badly labeled on the phone, and at the end of a long list of things that have nothing to do with the basic display settings. I have a problem with Apple deciding only Serious Athletes use the watch.
If you make the defaults useful only to the high end, and completely painful to change, then you’re telling the vast majority of your customer base to go fuck off. May not be your intent, but that is in fact the message you’re sending. Maybe don’t do that? I know Apple sucks at communication, they have always sucked at communication, but maybe think about fixing this?