Healthy Choices
5 min

9 Features to Look for in a Step Tracker App

For Walking Meetings & Remote Work

Are you trying to improve your physical fitness by walking or running more every day? If so, it helps to have a step tracker app to monitor your steps and other metrics. 

Some apps offer more functionality than others. It’s fine to go for a basic app if that’s all you need, but if you want more insight into your health or opportunities for extra motivation, you’re going to have to shop around on the App Store a bit. How do you decide which is the best step tracker, though? While browsing, the features you should look for include: 

Step Tracker App Feature #1: Standard Pedometer Abilities

The most essential component of any step tracker app is, of course, a standard pedometer feature. Every app of this kind will have one, but it’s important to look into its accuracy. Read reviews and find out what users say: does it count their steps closely, or does it have too much leeway (you don’t want to get home from your walk and say, “I swore I walked more than that!”)? The more accurate the app, the better you can measure your progress — especially if you’re using it as a step challenge app when competing with friends or coworkers. The best apps will be user-friendly and be able to count wheelchair pushes as well as steps.

Progress Tracking and Goal Monitoring

If you’re trying to improve your running stamina or number of walking steps, it helps to see your activity compared to the day before. 

Apps with progress tracking features can help you set goals and stick to them. They can tell you how many more steps you need to reach your daily (or weekly) objective while you’re out and about and recommend new step thresholds according to your goal history. Look for a step tracker app that records your progress daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly (some may require you to pay for premium subscriptions to access such features), so you can see how much you’ve accomplished and how far you have left to go. 

Geolocation and Mapping Abilities 

Apps that offer geolocation and mapping features are perfect for planning routes. Maybe there’s a path near your favorite neighborhood park that will get you to precisely 5,000 steps — doing it twice will allow you to reach the recommended 10,000 steps per day. If you’re trying to plan a new route and do some exploring, mapping it before you leave can tell you the exact distance (in ways Google Maps can’t, because it tells you the shortest distance between destinations instead of deliberate paths or loops you want to follow) and give you an idea of how many steps you’ll achieve. 


Have you heard of an altimeter? It’s a device that measures changes in height (from the word “altitude”). When you’re out walking or running, it’s crucial to account for more factors than steps that contribute to physical exertion. Incline and decline metrics make a difference to your heart rate and calories burned, so an app with an altimeter feature can give you a better idea of how much you exercised on a given day. 

Calories Burned

On that note, calories burned is an essential feature of most step challenge apps. Counting steps is important, but measuring your calorie intake versus burn rate helps you track your progress toward achieving weight gain or loss goals. You burn calories whether you’re going for a difficult run or a light walk, so it’s always good to know. If light walks are your preference, you can use the Spot app during your workday to facilitate walking meetings, allowing you to take even more steps (and burn more calories) throughout the workday. 

Graphs and Charts 

A well-rounded step tracker app doesn’t just tell you how many calories you’ve burned or how much progress you’ve made — it should show you! You might appreciate having a visual representation of how far you’ve come and what you still need to do. Charts and graphs are also great for encouragement because they give you a stronger idea of your progress. 

Push Notifications 

Besides features that measure your physical activity, any good app that boasts user-friendly functionality should be capable of sending push notifications. Notifications include reminding you to take a walk or informing you of system updates. Many people have mixed feelings about push notifications — they can be a nuisance if an app sends them too often — but if you need extra help remembering to get your steps in before the day is over, push notifications are a good thing to have. 

Gamification Opportunities

Do you get bored of taking the same walk or run? The best step tracker will help you gamify your workouts. Giving you objectives you might not set for yourself pushes you to exercise harder, which we all need from time to time. Possibilities include completing laps at different paces or doing other exercises after a certain number of steps. 

Social Sharing and Community

On the subject of pushing yourself, what’s more encouraging than a community of other walkers and runners? By sharing your progress on social media, you can proudly show off how much progress you’ve made and respond to your friends who do the same. Some apps also offer in-app communities where you can connect with people reaching for the same goals. If you track your steps on Spot, you gain access to the global leaderboard and can see how many steps fellow Spotters are getting around the world. 

Other fitness apps monitor things like nutrition and sleep, but as far as step tracker apps go, the above features are what you should look for. To learn more about how you can make walking part of your daily routine and the benefits of burning calories during working hours, check out Spot’s blog.

Men walking with Spot's mascot


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