Roku Users Now Get Apple Fitness+ Metrics On Screen

My wife and I are dedicated Fitness+ users as there’s a lot of value there given that we use Apple Watches and iPhones. But what we weren’t able to ever do is to leverage the ability to have our Fitness+ metrics on screen. Instead, we’d have to glance at our Apple Watches to get those sorts of metrics which is distracting, but not the end of the world. The reason being is that we had a Roku TV, specially this one which didn’t support metrics being on screen. If we wanted that, we would need to get an Apple TV. Having two streaming platforms in the house didn’t make sense so we just forgot about that and moved on.

That changed this week when my wife did a dance workout and noticed this:

On the right, my wife could see her rings and on the left she could see the elapsed time of the workout at the top, her Current heart rate, and how many calories she’d burned doing this workout. This was new and kind of unexpected. So I did some hunting around and came across this Apple press release which states this:

With iOS 16.1, Fitness+ will be fully integrated with the Fitness app and located in the middle tab, where users can already stay motivated to close their Move ring through coaching, awards, activity sharing, and more. Users only need an iPhone to sign up, and can then experience Fitness+ on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Fitness+ subscribers without Apple TV can use AirPlay to stream workouts or meditations on compatible third-party devices, and all AirPlay-enabled Roku devices will see onscreen metrics for additional motivation next month.

So Apple and Roku have apparently worked together to bring Fitness+ metrics to the Roku platform. But there wasn’t a whole lot of detail beyond what you see above. So I did some additional digging and figured out what you need to make this work.

  • You need to have Roku OS 11.5 installed on your Roku device. That is presently rolling out to devices now. So if you don’t have it on your device now, it should be hitting it shortly. But if you want to try and accelerate that, here’s what you do:
    • Press the Home button home on your Roku remote.
    • Scroll up or down and select Settings.
    • Select System.
    • Select System update.
    • Select Check Now to manually check for updates.
  • Second, you need to enable the Roku device as an AirPlay target. Now not all Roku devices support AirPlay, but this list should help you to figure out if your device supports AirPlay. And that same list has instructions in terms of how to set up your Roku device for AirPlay.

For those of you who are afraid of updating your Roku device for fear that the update would break something as that has happened before, my update was smooth. In fact, while I knew that 11.5 was coming, I had no clue that my TV had updated until I started to investigate this. So clearly Roku learned from what happened to them in regards to their rollout of Roku OS 10.5. I of course will also say that your mileage may vary on this front. But I am not seeing anywhere close to the level of rage that I did when the rollout of Roku OS 10.5 went off the rails.

Finally the press release implies that iOS 16.1 is needed for this to work, but that doesn’t seem to be the case as my wife and I are running iOS 16.0.3 and it works just fine.

This is a significant development as those who don’t want to buy an Apple TV now have an option to enhance their Fitness+ routine by adding onscreen metics to their workouts. As long as they have a Roku device. And while the cynic in me thinks that part of the reason why Apple did this is that this is a deflection strategy to keep accusations of anti-trust away, I applaud this move and hope that this is also rolled out to other smart TV platforms.

One Response to “Roku Users Now Get Apple Fitness+ Metrics On Screen”

  1. […] Ultra ships with Roku OS 11.5. I wrote about the fact that this brings Apple Fitness+ integration here, which means that you also have one less reason to buy an Apple TV. Especially since it supports […]

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