The best Android apps for counting steps – CNET

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Only 9,947 steps to go! Pacer Pedometer & Weight Loss Coach is a great app, but getting rid of the ads will cost you.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Ten thousand steps. Conventional wisdom says that’s how many you should take every day to stay fit and healthy. (You should also skip the French fries, but that’s a topic for another day.)

OK, but how do you keep tabs on your step count? Simple: Buy a fitness band. But guess what? There’s another device that can tally your steps, and you already carry it everywhere you go.

It’s your phone, of course. Thanks to built-in accelerometers, the phone can easily pull pedometer duty. All you need is an app that records the results (and, ideally, syncs them with other apps). Let’s take a look at some of the best step-counter apps for Android.

Google Fit

More than a mere pedometer, Google‘s fitness app is designed to track just about any activity: running, cycling and, of course, walking. It also allows you to set up goals, including things like walking 10,000 steps per day.

Unsurprisingly, Fit plays nice with a wealth of third-party apps and products, including watches, fitness bands, even seeming competitors like Runkeeper. And you can monitor your progress not just on your phone, but also on the web via Google’s Fit portal. Although there are other apps that put a stronger focus on step-tracking, if you prefer to keep within Google’s ecosystem as much as possible, Fit fits the bill.

Pacer Pedometer & Weight Loss Coach

With its clean interface and walker-friendly features, Pacer’s app is a great option for steppers who want simple tracking, mapping and analytics. It also has a social element, with local groups you can join to immediately get (and share) fitness encouragement.

Because battery life and accuracy are among the chief concerns with any tracking app, Pedometer offers four different modes designed to help you get the best balance between them. By default, it relies on your phone’s built-in step counter, which provides the most power-saving. However, it can sync step data with only one app — MyFitnesspal — and if you want to get rid of the ads, Premium subscriptions start at $3.99/month.

Runkeeper

One of the oldest apps in the phone-powered-fitness game, Runkeeper was obviously built with runners in mind — but it’s just as adept at tracking walkers. (It’s suitable for other activities as well, pretty much any kind of exercise you care to log.)

With so much time and development under its belt, it’s no surprise that Runkeeper offers a wealth of advanced features. It can help you set and achieve goals, provide audio cues as you exercise, play tunes from Spotify, sync step data to the likes of Fitbit and MyFitnesspal and much more. That’s all great stuff, but perhaps more than the casual walker really needs. And, annoyingly, you must create an account before you can use the app.

Walk with Map My Walk

At first blush, it’s hard to tell the difference between Walk with Map My Walk, Run with Map My Run, Map My Ride and the various other apps from MapMyFitness. They’re all just about identical in terms of features, which are extensive: support for over 600 activities (who knew there were that many!), gear tracking (to help you know when it’s time for, say, a new pair of shoes) and so on.

But the big draw here is integration with MapMyWalk, a crowd-sourced collection of mapped routes. It’s especially great for when you’re traveling in new areas, as you can quickly find a trail that’s a particular distance, difficulty level, etc.

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