Although the Apple Watch has a built-in heart rate sensor, more serious training may require some external help.
While your Apple Watch‘s heart sensor should perform just fine for passive monitoring, anyone training or in need of much more accurate data may be better off with a heart rate monitor strap. Luckily, the Apple Watch supports connecting a Bluetooth enabled strap or monitor. Once you pair it within Settings, you’re ready to go!
Keep in mind that while the Apple Watch should support many Bluetooth heart rate monitor straps, it may not support all of them: Straps that use older legacy Bluetooth technology may not be recognized, as was the case with an older Garmin strap I had laying around. Newer straps should work just fine, however. If your Apple Watch can’t connect but locates your monitor, make sure you haven’t accidentally paired with your iPhone. From my testing, you can’t pair an external monitor to two devices at once.
How to pair your external heart rate monitor with your Apple Watch
- Make sure your heart rate monitor is discoverable.
- Launch the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
- Tap on Bluetooth.
- Tap on the name of your device under Health Devices when it appears in order to pair it.