New Strava app for Apple Watch to support Series 2+

We are excited to release an updated Strava app which supports standalone recording using the built-in GPS of the Apple Watch Series 2+. 

Please note: To support the GPS in the Apple Watch Series 2+, we redesigned the app to work separately from the phone. Even if your watch still connects to the GPS from your phone, the app functions independently on the watch.

If you're experiencing technical troubles installing, recording, or syncing Apple Watch activities, please contact us directly by submitting a ticket at the bottom of this post. 

Learn more in our Apple Watch article

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Comments

902 comments
  • Also know way to discard run and why doesn't the phone app show the HR. Is this only for premium users?

     

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  • Had a chance to try it on a run, and overall it worked pretty well:

    https://www.strava.com/activities/875883778 

    A few observations:

    • Pace seemed a lot more consistent than I was expecting.  I purposely did a run that I know the exact mileage for, and the app nailed the distance right on the money.  Here is the same run as above from four years ago recorded with a Garmin Forerunner:

    https://www.strava.com/activities/44932245  

    • Auto Pause, which I am guessing is accelerometer based, seems very sensitive.  A few times I raised my wrist to review my stats while running and it went into auto pause mode.  I am guessing because I was holding my arm very steady to read the watch.  It seems the sensitivity could be backed off a touch
    • The GPS track looks a bit squirelly .. I am guessing that no post-processing is being done on the recorded GPS data ala what Garmin does which results in a bit of a squiggly effect.  The track looks much like tracks recorded with a cell phone
    • Would be nice to have a bit more information on the watch at the end of a run .. would like to see Avg HR and Avg Pace.
    • You would think it should be possible to add cadence since the watch is capturing steps while running.
    • Future state .. every Apple Watch standalone running app needs to have voice over.  It just is tough to look at the watch while running with a screen that isn't always on.  Nike, Pear, and RunGo all have voice feedback at configurable splits so we know it can be done.

    All in all .. it's basic, but a good start nonetheless.

     

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  • I tried it without the iPhone today and it works perfect :-) Still would like to have the possibility for a screen/button lock. It went ok today, but too often my glove makes an end to the recording. It's mostly a winter issue, but it tends to be a few of those months here in Norway.

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  • First of all: thank you Elle and to the whole Strava-team for developping this standalone iOS-App to use with the Apple Watch 2!

    I gave it a try today!
    The app is very easy and basic. You can configure 3 things: run or bike, auto-pause on or off, km or miles.
    After starting the run you see a fixed display with pace as main-value and time, distance and hf as minor-values.
    That's it, no more no less.

    The app is very basic! it has way less feature than nike's and runkeeper's apps.
    As it is now the only reason to use it is the fact that it uploads your training-data directly to strava.


    Question:
    - does the app always use the in-built watch-GPS or only if the iphone-GPS is not reachable?


    Wishes for future updates:
    - configurability! Let us choose which data-fields we want to see during the workout: actually the 4 preloaded fields are the ones I use, but lot of people prefer average pace instead of current pace. Or average hf, etc.
    - audio-cues: this has to be implemented! you have all the audio-data. Nike did it, Strava can do it too!
    - live-segments! That's THE great Strava-feature. It would be great to have it in the watch-app with audio-feedbacks.
    - intervall-training! A running-watch should have this feature.
    - Overview of the latest run. After finishing a run I'd like to see distance, time, pace, hr on one screen.
    - overview of the latest few runs. Save the overviews so that we can easyly see our results of the last few days.
    - music! let us control music directly from the app!
    - GPS+battery: I want to see if the app has GPS-connection and the status of the watch-battery.
    - external hf-strap. In winter I run with the watch not on my skin. I use an external hr-strap. it would be great to choose to use it.
    - Start/Stop a run works only on touch-display. It would be great to use the watch-button (pressing both buttons at the same time should be possible!).

    I know this is the first release (or even still a beta-version?) but please don't stop programming and bring a lot of updates to turn this very basic but good watch-app into THE killer-running-app! :-)

     

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  • Thanks Elle, good good good!
    It's better app than tried.
    Pace is ok!!!!!!
    Is it possible add voice feedback? :)

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  • It's nice to have a standalone app for the Apple Watch but separating the watch app and the iPhone app to the point that they don't communicate with each other is extremely annoying and not user friendly.

    I used to launch the app on my watch, and take off. I could listen to podcast/music and get my audio cues. Now...if I launch the app from my watch, it doesn't give me any notifications, no audio cues, etc because my headphones are paired with my phone. If my phone is with me, why doesn't the app communicate to my phone and give me the audio cues? Why do I have to launch the app from my phone now to get this feature.

    A good idea and a good direction but could use some improvements to implementation and more options.

    Thanks!

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  •  I think I found a bug: In mid run, you can force touch the rightmost view (the run stats) and choose "Change sport". That probably shouldn't be allowed mid-activity.

    Also, a small feature request: I would love to be able to see my current pace (as opposed to my pace for the current split)

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  • I agree with Nathan Morey,

    It removes the ability to link the HR data from my apple watch 2 and the live information i see on the iphone app. which means I don't need premium at all because If I want Live segments etc, I don't have Heart rate. or visa versa

    I like the idea of not needing the phone, especially for running, but for cycling it would be essential to be able to connect HR and the live dashboard on the phone. 

    Cyclometer has a live HR shown from Apple watch that updates instantly, I don't know why this isn't the case for Strava

    please change

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  • Up until the update I was able to use a Bluetooth cadence tracker paired with my phone, and the Apple Watch to track heart rate. Now that the apps no longer talk to each other I have to choose between using my phone and having the cadence data but no heart rate, or the watch and have heart rate but no cadence data. I think it's great that the watch app can work as a stand alone, but can it have the ability to work with the phone, or to connect to Bluetooth sensors?

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  • As a developer myself, I think I can appreciate how much effort went into this release. Developing for the Apple Watch is challenging, and kudos to Strava for the (re-)launch of the app. To be honest, though, the current version is very underwhelming. It doesn't match the features of other 3rd party apps (NRC, Runkeeper), and the usability and user experience don't come close to the native Workouts app.

    Frankly, the only reason I can imagine that anyone would use the app is the ease of uploading workouts to Strava. That's a big benefit, and I'm sure lots of people will suffer through the limited functionality and poor user interface to get it. But "suffer" is a deliberate choice on my part, and I think the result will be a lot of people grudgingly using the app and continually complaining about its shortcomings.

    There are hints in the press statements that Strava has plans to build on this (re-)release, but I really wonder how strong that commitment is. Based on what we've seen so far, Strava certainly isn't matching Nike or Runkeeper. Maybe it's something that Strava is already pursuing, but I think a better use of Strava resources would be working with Apple to get access to the GPS tracks from the native Workouts app. Everything else is available through HealthKit. From a user standpoint, that would be the best of all worlds. Use the native Workouts app on the watch to record workouts, and then have the Strava iPhone app upload the complete data.

    Of course this would require some level of cooperation between Strava and Apple (unless Apple already has plans to make the GPS data available in a future iOS release; something which I actually think is inevitable.) And maybe that's simply not possible given whatever relationship exists between Apple and Nike. But as a customer/user of both the Apple Watch and Strava, it's certainly what would make me happiest.

    (To be fair, I recognize that the native Workouts app isn't perfect. It lacks more advanced features such as intervals. Perhaps there is a market for an advanced watch app for more "serious" athletes. But looking at the current set of products from Strava, Nike, Runkeeper, etc. I have absolutely no confidence that any of those vendors can create a truly usable app for that market.)

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  • Thank you Elle and to the whole Strava team for providing the update. I used the app without my phone this morning and ran a fairly flat run with a known distance and it seemed to be very accurate (the route I took avoided large buildings etc so the GPS coverage was probably very good). I have been looking forward to this update ever since I brought my AW2 and it was great not having to use 3rd party tools to get my data out of the Nike+ app and over to Strava, it just updated my feed as soon as I got within range of my phone when I finished.

    Thanks for the great work! 

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  • Love the first iteration of the app. Would love to see the following in future updates:

    1. Ability to have Strava on the complications on the apple watch face so it can be launched from the home screen 

    2. Ability to move around the metrics on the watch face (i.e., move the heart rate to the middle or the distance to the top). The flexibility would be nice so that depending on what kind of run you are on, you can make a specific metric larger.

    3. Ability to set heart rate alerts so the watch yells at you when you cross certain thresholds.

     

    Can't wait to continue to see what you all do with future updates!!

     

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  • Thank you!

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  • So I gave the Strava standalone on the Apple Watch a try. There were a few issues.

    • It seems the initial GPS lock takes a while, so messes up the beginning of the run. Is Strava seeking GPS as soon as the app is activated on the watch prior clicking the start button? I believe this is how NRC and Runkeeper works. Please put a GPS signal indicator in the app.
    • Pace was all over the place. The total distance of my run was out by about 100m over 5km, but looking at the GPS track on the map is much worse under Strava than NRC or Runkeeper.

    In terms of general improvements, I couldn't agree more than with Salvi Becca's post above. I think that should be THE list!

    With Live Segments though, I'm not sure Strava will ever be able to implement that on the AW2? Doesn't it require an internet connection to for the app to know you've entered a Segment?

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  • NO SWIMMING SUPPORT? Come on, you guys were working on this app for months. That's a big function of this watch and you even feature swimming on your app!

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  • Tried it this morning, well impressed, does what it says on the tin.

    Now PLEASE can you add support for swimming?

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  • Great to see so many comments coming in already. Thank you! 

    We are reading them all, but it will take us a few days to respond so that we can process all your feedback and determine responses to your questions. I'm working to get one of our engineers involved in this discussion as well. 

    Stay tuned.

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  • ***I'm very disappointed with this update.****

    I use strava for riding. I use my Apple Watch for hr and my iPhone for my bike computer (ie phone mounted to bike on quad lock case) I used to start my ride on my watch and then open strava on my phone to watch speed, segments, time, routes etc.

    I don't want to have to go and buy a new heart rate monitor when I have a perfectly good one on my wrist all of the time!

    I purchased the new watch because the last one was so reliable and I thought if I ever get really keen and want to run I will be able to record the run on strava on my watch... also because if my phone has problems I can still record rides with the watch.

    Super super super disappointed.

    Great for runners I'm sure but please make it work with the iPhone again ASAP.

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  • Just done a quick test from my car to the office, GPS has me going through the centre of buildings on my walk https://www.strava.com/activities/876624776  The start seems to be fine.  The Pace seems to have taken about 30 seconds to kick in.  I'll give it another try at lunch.

    Shopping List

    • Improved finish screen - more details (previous app gave more than this update)
    • Calling out km / mile sectors and total run times like the previous app.  Ability to select which measurements are called out
    • Option to use the Watch GPS or iPhone GPS.
    • If iPhone is available and connected ability to relay Segments to be called out like previous app even if watch GPS is being used (this will not be possible without the iPhone as the Watch does not have internet of its own).
    • Ability to switch which GPS is being used to juggle battery life between watch and phone
    • GPS signal strength or notification that GPS is connected (essential for the start of the run)
    • Customization screens and ability to add watch face Complications.
    • Ability to delete workout. (though not a bad thing to force this to be done on the phone or online afterwards which cuts the risks of loosing workouts).

    An aside note, I did a quick test without really going anywhere from my stationary position and the phone is giving me a message saying "Upload Finished with Errors, Tap here to upload again" which I try and nothing happens and just goes round in cycles.

    The above aside congratulations on the update and I look forward to the continual advancements

    Stephen

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  • Auto-pause issue.

    Went for a 5k last night and I wanted to keep checking the info on the Apple watch series 2. Everytime I raised my wrist the run would pause! It's a needed feature for me as I run in an area with lots of traffic lights. But the sensitivity needs to be backed off a bit. Thanks!

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  • First let me say I've never used my phone to track anything from any app. It's always been some sort of watch. So not being able to do both doesn't bother me at all. With that I'm glad the application was finally released and it's useful as long as you don't really want to track things accurately. If you want to keep a log, it's perfect. However, overall I am slightly disappointed with the features that were released. I'm a software developer as well so I know the pressure you were under to release quickly and accurately which could explain the lightweight app.

    I ran a course that I knew was exactly 6 miles and the map has a couple of spots where you can kind of tell it lost GPS signal. Nothing that should explain the extra .24 miles I got though. Obviously that threw off overall pace as well. The application does respond quickly when raising the wrist which is something I can't say for some of the other apps I've used.

    Some improvements:

    - Double tap to start/stop/pause. Swiping with sweaty fingers doesn't always work.
    - Ability to do indoor runs. Right now I don't think you can turn off the GPS
    - Definitely needs notifications when auto pausing, starting, stopping and maybe every km/mile
    - GPS strength. Waiting around hoping for it to connect is not good
    - Interval training for distance, duration (maybe heart rate based but it's inaccurate on the AW2)
    - Complication for watch faces
    - Customizable metrics
    - Heart rate alerts (again, not really accurate on AW2 no matter the app)
    - Swimming would be nice even if you can't do stroke detection

    I'll keep using the app and update as I find out more.

    UPDATE 2/23: Today I ran just a simple 5k.  The distance was completely spot on however during save something happened.  The activity never saved.  It never gave me the, "you must connect to your phone to upload".  The activity rings recognized the activity but not a strava activity.  Guess it's lost forever (not really, I'll just steal my friends activity and upload it as mine).

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  • Live segments would be great. The pace issue needs resolving in order for me to ditch my Garmin. DC Rainmaker did a YouTube vid in which he slated the pacing on the AW2

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  • Ryan P:
    I mean Strava live segments like f.e. on the Garmin Forerunner 735XT watch: you transfer your favorite segments to the watch and it recognizes when you're on those tracks. Have a look on youtube how it works.
    And I added interval trainings to my list.

    Btw: I think it was a great idea of Strava to launch this forum. They get feedback directly from their users.

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  • Elle,

    With the previous version I can start a ride in one of my devices (IPhone or Apple Watch) and was mirrored in the other. With this version when I finished my ride I have two separates rides. I want to be able to see my heart rate in my watch and my cadence & speed in my phone.  

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  • I was pleasantly surprised to find my Apple Watch app had updated overnight. I used it for the first time today to record my commute. I paused the activity twice when I stopped off at various destinations and used other functions on the watch during these pauses (specifically the native Workout app to record a Pilates session, spin class etc). Unfortunately the app only seems to have recorded the first portion of my ride - i.e. up until the first pause. Everything after that was either lost altogether or is a mess. This would have been extremely frustrating if this had happened on a real training run or ride. Leaving this detailed feedback so developers can get on this asap.

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  • Still having issues with receiving voice updates through headphones.

    Also Auto-Pause does not work.  If Run/Walk it will only register while running.

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  • I agree @ Stephen Thomas. Don't think any of the app devs want you work with Apple and vice versus. It's all about ego and who got the biggest on the playground. Sick of the macho egotism between hardware and software companies. I've been sing RunKeeper BBC it's the best I've seen. Pear Sports also had an app that looks like Apple Workouts, but it has a number of probs and they just want to sell you on workout plans. RK has been have major GPS starting issues that they are aware of, but when you start the run it will show a straight line at least a 1/4 to 1/2 mile off from where you are at. And because the Watch app is standalone you cannot edit the data points or anything on the website or phone app. All IOS 3 apps seem to operate independently even though RK does talk to the phone if you carry it. Sad , but really don't think any of these companies are going to provide a better experience. And Apple is just lame. Should have bought a Garmin. Even though they're all the size of my hand. Why do GPS watches have to be sooo big, bulky and ugly? Is it a requirement?!?

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  • I liked it better before, when I'd start Strava on the iphone, pop it in my backpack for my

    commute, but I could still see my stats on the watch series 1.  or, start from the watch, then

    stop from either the phone or watch.  Now, these are separate and if I start from one I have

    to stop from the same....else I get duplicate activities.   

     

    Also no way to discard an entry on the watch, after you start it.  You have to finish, save,

    then go to the iphone to edit and delete.

     

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  • Thanks Strava for this update. I tried it today without my iphone and I’m very satisfied. It’s more accurate than RunKeeper or Nike Run Club (comparing gpx files for the same route and distance, I’ve seen that RunKeeper or NRC saves GPS data every 4-5 seconds, and Strava every 1-2 seconds), and I like the watch face. 

    Things to be improved:

    • Alert every km/mile
    • Add more information at the end of the run: distance, time, average pace, average HR, ...
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  • Thanks Elle, I'm glad to see that Strava is working to keep up with changes in technology.

    I wasn't aware of the update until I actually went to go for a ride this morning, which honestly was not the most opportune time to find out that things were going to work differently than I was used to. I have an original Apple Watch (Series 0), so while I cannot attest to how well it works as a standalone app, I feel like it has taken a couple steps backwards in terms of previous functionality.

    Specifically, previously when I started a ride from the Watch, the iPhone app would recognize it and give me instant feedback on the display and via audio cues. That is no longer happening. Other than the GPS data, there appears to be no communication between the Watch and the iPhone. They're completely unaware of each other. Similarly, when a ride is started from the iPhone, it does not start the Watch app, and therefore there is no heart rate data for those of us that use the Apple Watch for that purpose. I don't know if that's a design flaw or a bug.

    I also had a bit of trouble getting the workout to sync once my ride was finished. I got a notification that said to open the Strava app on my iPhone so it could upload the workout, but there was no indication that it was trying to upload anything, and the workout didn't appear in my feed until after several refreshes (and eventually not until I changed my feed to "me" instead of "following" but I don't know if that's related).

    After that, I started a quick "test" ride from my Watch to see if the lack of communication was just a glitch or if it was the new expected behavior, only to find that the only way to end the ride was to save it (no option to discard it from the Watch). My iPhone app then tried to upload the test ride, which had essentially no data, so it kept saying it was uploaded with errors, and that I could tap to retry. There was no option to cancel uploading, so it just kept failing over and over and over. The only way I could get it to stop was to uninstall the app and reinstall it.

    Both of these last two problems could be solved by showing an upload queue that the user could manage, either to cancel a workout from being uploaded, or at least being able to see what's waiting to sync so they can be reassured that their data is not lost.

    Bugs aside, I feel like this update caters to a very specific set of users at the cost of alienating others. I know the bugs will be worked out, but I also hope that the missing functionality can be restored as well. I'm disappointed that an app that I rely on has become somewhat less reliable.

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