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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  • Another entry requesting the option that the AW and iPhone are tethered and synced.

    Elle - I read that this is a "significant engineering lift", still, I argue it is necessary.

    The phone and the watch serve two different purposes, measure different characteristics. Phone: provides overview on a larger screen, has better battery life, easier to view while cycling, gives audio cues better, can send out the beacon. AW: measures heart rate, easier to view while running, can be used in swimming. These - jointly present needs like heart rate + cycling - will not be possible to merge into a single device.

    Please consider allowing a workout starting option, where you have the devices tethered. Similar to how "routes" can be uploaded only when you stop a ride, choose a route, and click on "use route", there should be an option for tethered recording.

    As a premium user, I have to add my voice to the others: "this update has robbed me of functionality I relied on. Please make the previous version of the app available as well. Very disappointed."

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  • I'm really disappointed by the updated official comment on Feb. 25th. Is it really "significant engineering lift" when the previous version of the app already had the functionality cycling users are requesting? Does anyone at Strava cycle and use the apps?

    I've now stopped using all Strava apps in favor of Cyclemeter and am debating canceling Strava Premium.  Cyclemeter even shows heart rate data from the AW on the phone next to power and anything else you want. Strava never did that, it was heart rate on watch, power/cadence on phone: that was the deal and I tolerated it, but now I can't even do that.  If I cancel I lose web access to analyze the data that Cyclemeter will automatically upload to Strava, but now I feel compelled to do so on principal alone. Strava.com isn't the only player in the space for analysis...

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  • The one and only way the new app should have been implemented was like this:

    Take the old app, and give it the ability to use the Watch’s GPS if available. That’s it. That’s how Runkeeper did it, hardly took any time at all, and everyone’s happy.

     

    What Strava did was completely tear down the old app, remove all existing features, and replace them with the ability to use the Watch’s GPS.

    Saying that adding the old functionality back in represents a significant engineering challenge, having no plans to support paid premium features, and all the rest of that nonsense is absolutely unacceptable. There is nothing challenging at all about adding Watch-GPS to your old app.

    It doesn’t matter what Apple’s plans for Series 3 are. I’m guessing Elle was referring to possible LTE connectivity, etc. You could still keep the old app, and build support for Series 3 features. That way you retain fallbacks for non-Series 3 owners, or for users with different needs.

    As it is, Strava is developing for owners of the latest and greatest only. Not only that, they’re strictly developing for those among that narrow group who absolutely do not want to use their phone.

    You must realize that you are currently targeting an insignificant segment of your user base, and alienating everyone else with the direction you’re choosing.

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  • I've already canceled my Premium subscription, and I'm urging everyone else to do the same.

    A response in the vein of, "We understand that our users depended on all these features, but we will not be bringing them back" is laughable at best, especially when those features are some of the reasons people paid you a subscription to begin with.

    There is absolutely no technical justification for dumping so many features in exchange for a single use-case that the vast majority of your userbase doesn't care about.

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  • Cancelled my premium subscription because the total garbage this watch update is. I am a cyclist that uses cadence and speed sensors. Before the update it all worked together, after the update not anymore. 

    As a software developer myself I understand that certain design choices sometimes upset some users. But the sheer arrogance in your (lack of) response to actual failing usecases is worrysome (for your future as prime fitness platform). 

    For those reading here, I can highly recommend (as suggested before me) Cyclemeter. It may take some time to configure that app, but reliable works with a multitude of sensors, has the option to use the Apple Watch as a tethered device and has the option to save, share and export rides (even to Strava... for what it's still worth...)

    If you ever want to be the "Facebook of Fitness" in terms of market share, you should wake up and listen to your users. 

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  • I have an Apple Watch 1 so can't use the GPS on the watch so this update is of no extra benefit. In fact it has made it worse as I now have no audio announcements if I use the watch app. Please bring back the audio announcements when you start a run from the watch along with the audio splits. Otherwise you have made my watch redundant and I would be forced to start and stop my run from the phone just to get the announcements. A very poor update without this feature.

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  • Really disappointed with the update! No longer any audio feedback via my phone when I start a run on my watch app. Is there any way around this?? The whole point of using my watch was so I didn't have to mess about with getting my phone in and out of my pocket while running!! 😬😬😬

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  • This release ruined Strava for cyclists with the original Apple Watch. With the iOS app completed decoupled from the watch app, I now can use one or the other. Obviously I can't use the watch app because it has no GPS or connection to bike cadence sensor. Though I could use the iOS app instead, I no longer have the heart rate info from the watch. The only solution appears to be buying and wearing a dedicated heart rate sensor.

    Or is it time to ditch Strava and my premium subscription and use something else? I like Strava, but I don't love it. And dumping untested software like this makes me like it less.

    Let's say Strava actually pays attention and eventually reverts this update or provides a real fix. In the interim, is there another solution I could use which would allow me to import GPS, cadence, and heart rate data into Strava later?

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  • Dear Strava,

    I am a premium member and I am upset with the recent ios update. The latest ios update makes it impossible to use my 1st gen Apple Watch and iPhone together on a run. They don't sync!!?? If I want to have audio notifications of my run while following a preprogramed route I can no longer look at my watch to see distance, pace or use the Apple Watch ad a heart rate monitor. If I decide to start a run with my Apple Watch my iPhone is a brick?

    Please put my Strava app back to the way it was.

    Thank you,

    Jim 

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  • I'm out.  Headed back to Runmeter.  Untethering the phone and watch was a huge mistake and apparently based on the response from support, it will not be changed back anytime soon.

     

     

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  • Hi Elle,

    I'm really confused by your statement:

    "This is something we're considering but it's not on our immediate roadmap. It's a significant engineering lift to ensure a seamless experience. We want to better understand the use cases and how the Apple Watch itself will evolve this year before we make any concrete plans."

    Three things.

    1. How the AW might evolve over the next year is not an excuse. Ditching important and existing features due to future possible changes to the hardware is not a logical approach. It feels like this was more of a "we can either tether or not tether but not both" option and not tethering was chosen at the expense of cyclists.

    2. It seems that you did not consider any other use case except AW2 w/ no iPhone + running for this release. No other use case works. If you are looking for a seamless experience, then let's just go back to the previous version. I'd rather take my phone on a run than have a non-functional cycling experience. 

    3. I'll be looking elsewhere for a premium workout app experience if tethering is not on the 'immediate roadmap".

    Josh

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  • So I just spent the last half hour reading all the comments, and there is overwhelming evidence that people, particularly cyclists, are not happy with the separation of the watch and phone apps. This needs to get off the road map and into development ASAP. The use cases have been pretty well documented in the comments.

    Add option to keep watch tethered:

    (Recording with power/cadence sensors, checking recording on phone)

              "This is something we're considering but it's not on our immediate roadmap. It's a significant engineering lift to ensure a seamless experience. We want to better understand the use cases and how the Apple Watch itself will evolve this year before we make any concrete plans."

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  • @ Adam plus 1 here. I certainly didn't join any beta program, and everything just updated automatically per a normal update cycle.

    The updated comment from Elle doesn't reflect other issues around the lack of a tethering option, including no access to active segments and navigation. There are other use cases than just access to cadence. As a workaround, I tried starting an activity on both the watch and the phone, and then deleting the activity on the phone, but that has now screwed up all my best times and achievements, as Strava "remembers" both activities from an achievement perspective.

    I am really annoyed at Strava for this. I purchased an AW2 and Strava Premium just after xmas for the express purpose of adding heart rate to my rides. I did not particularly care about leaving the phone at home, and I certainly did not expect that the addition of this capability would so badly break my existing Strava experience.

    I'm watching this thread and Strava's response to it with interest. I'm thinking of dumping Strava and asking for my Premium subscription to be refunded.

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  • Have to agree with the other cyclists that this is a step backwards for those of us that use iWatch 1 to start activity and monitor real time segments on the iPhone. The only options seem to be 1) recording from the iPhone, and missing heart rate data in the activity, or 2) recording from the iWatch and not being able to see real time segments on the iPhone. No point paying for premium membership until this is fixed!

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  • I gotta say to the folks who are claiming we are all beta testers - that is baloney! I should not have to assume that ordinary app store updates of an app I've used for well over a year is suddenly a beta version. There are other mechanisms in place for beta testing where apps can be distributed to willing participants outside the app store process.  The app store update mechanism is supposed to be for finished, working software.

    I was perfectly happy with version 5.12.0 of Strava for iOS and Apple Watch which came out February 6th. When 5.13.0 appeared on February 21st, the version notes say NOTHING about beta, and only mention changes to Apple Watch Series 2 support. Since I don't have that device, why should that clue me in that I should NOT update?  And why should I have to jump through hoops to keep that one app from updating?

    I actually do NOT have auto-update on, I actually look at the updates. But you who are claiming this is a beta are being unreasonable - NOTHING marks it as a beta.

     

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  • Any way to revert back to the original app? even if i could download two different ones to have on my watch.  or at least choose that I want to just use the watch to control my strava on my phone like if originally did, because I can't use my cadence sensor now with the apple watch. so now i have to hit start on my phone and my watch and record two simultaneously routes and one will have my cadence and one will have my heart rate, not very useful any more.  the main reason i bought an apple watch was so that i could control my strava on my phone without having to pull my phone out : ( and average mph is more useful than instant mph when your mountain biking, i already miss that feature now in this new update.

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  • I've found a solution to this mess. It's called downloading Cyclemeter and cancelling my Premium Subscription. It really is excellent for cycling and has all features of the old Strava app had prior to this disaster of an update. It automatically uploads to activities to Strava as well. Thoroughly recommend it.

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  • Disappointed with the standalone App for AW1. My first ride with it half the ride did not record.

    I used to start my activity on my AW1 and then pause on my phone (on handlebars) send a Beacon text to my wife and then restart my activity with my watch.

    This is the main reason I am a premium member. I am more patient than others, I will give it till the end of April and if this is not fixed then I will cancel Strava Premium.

    Please make my AW1 mirror my iPhone like it was before.

    Thanks.

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  • So how does it work - it uses the Apple watch GPS even if the phone is there too or uses phone GPS to save watch battery? Is there a comparison of battery life either way?

    Does having your phone with you make any difference to operation of GPS tracking/final sync/health data?

     

    Would just be good to understand what is happening underneath - thanks

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  • Hi Elle,

    I have an Apple Watch Series One, and this update was automatically pushed to my iPhone & watch, so I now have a little issue, actually as its losing track of distance a big issue. I used to be able to start Strava on the watch, check everything as I went (heart rate recording), at the end of the ride I'd open Strava on the iPhone, change ride name, change to correct bike, add photo, add other info etc, then finish & upload. I cannot do this anymore, the phone is locked out from that current ride, it does not show I have one in progress, even to the point I can start Strava on my watch and another on my iPhone! I understand this is how it is supposed to work for Apple Watch series 2 but surely that is not the intention for the Series 1 as they have to be tethered to work? I also lost 3k's ride length this morning, I know this as I have done the same ride twice a week for 5 years, and my wife was using Strava (no Apple Watch) beside me all the way. Not particulary happy, please can you clarify if this change is correct and is meant to work this way now.

    best regards

    Luke

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  • So, for anyone with the original Apple Watch or need to integrate watch data (HR) with other bluetooth sensor data (cadence, power) or use beacon or other premium features, this release is a major loose-loose. Is there any way to turn it off?

    I understand that runners and swimmers (eventually) would prefer a stand-alone Watch app, but most cyclists would probably be better served by just being able to pull Watch HR data into the iPhone app. Any way to do that?

     

     

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  • Sorry guys this version is a complete fail for cyclists. 

    You should rename this new version Strava run for which it's suitable and am sure appreciated by people who only run, but for a cyclists it's a fail. 

    Use phone and have cadence and phone screen but lose heart rate from Apple Watch OR

    use watch and no cadence etc and no screen but get heart rate. 

    Massive backwards steps

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  • I have one of the original Apple Watches and for me this seems like a huge backwards step. There is no practical advantage to this update but it means I can no longer get audio cues. No advantage only reduced functionality. Can only assume nobody has thought this through properly. Very disappointed. 

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  • Dear Elle,

    I am afraid your response is most upsetting for cyclists

    > Add option to keep watch tethered:

    > (Recording with power/cadence sensors, checking recording on phone)

    >          "This is something we're considering but it's not on our immediate roadmap. It's a significant engineering lift to ensure a seamless experience. We want to better understand the use cases and how the Apple Watch itself will evolve this year before we make any concrete plans."

     

    It means that it will not happen soon. But it also means, I can no longer use my watch as a HR monitor, and I have to go back to an annoying strap. This was one of my main motivations to buy an Apple Watch in the first place.

    I think that you have to, at a bare-minimum, allow iOS users to install the previous version, ASAP, until you figure out a "concrete plan". Otherwise, I will have to reconsider my use of Strava altogether, along with my Premium membership.

    Best regards,

    Yair.

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  • Hi Elle!

    First of all, I'd like to proclaim my deep, deep love for Strava. And thank you to you and the development team for attempting to stay up to date with users' needs and desires.

    I'd like to immediately follow that up by stating that Strava is no longer a relevant app for me. I do not have an Apple Watch Series 2, so the "without iPhone GPS" capability is inconsequential. When I did use it for a run, it was more frustration than it was worth. The live stats took too long to update, and the grayed-out auto-pause screen was impossible to read. 

    For cycling, the app simply doesn't work. Period. I went for a ride yesterday and had to start the app on both my phone and my watch. Fine. Not a big deal. But when I completed my ride, my watch showed a 20.4-mile ride, while my watch showed a 14.6 mile ride. Additionally, when I uploaded the activity, my account thought I had "ridden with one other." The "one other" was, in fact, myself.

    Least importantly, if Strava is committed to "understanding...how the Apple Watch itself will evolve," I assume Strava wants to stay consistent with Apple technology and, theoretically, design; however, the interface on the new app feels like an early 90s Nickelodeon logo.

    Overall, if the previous Strava app was a 7/10, we've now recessed to a -2/10. I look forward to getting an extra $7/month return from my Premium membership while I search for an app that functions properly and suits my needs. 

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  • Asking people to turn off updates is a horrible idea, that's the only way to keep things as up-to-date from a security perspective as possible, and it's unrealistic to expect the average user to remember (or care) to update them manually on a regular basis.  That's why those updates are on by default.

    Apple does have an entire ecosystem for beta testing called TestFlight, that's how legit Apple developers beta test.  They don't push something experimental to their entire install base to see what happens.  The problem here is that Strava had an old app originally written for AW1 users, that AW1 people loved.  And instead of adding new AW2 features to it, they created a whole new app for AW2 users that threw away the features for AW1 we loved.  Instead of creating a new app "Strava for AW2", or renaming the old one "Strava Classic" or something, they just decided that all of their users got the new one, chasing the cool, shiny features of the AW2, and the AW1 folks are just out of luck, with no warning, unless we want to go spend $500 on a new watch.  Or switch back to NRC, MapMyRun, or most of the other (less nice) running apps that still support tethering.

    Disappointing for sure.

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  • I agree with the other AW1 users. This was an update that broke the functionality that I was using. I liked the mirroring between watch and iPhone and this was working flawless.
    With the update I cannot use the watch anymore as the location being sent to the watch is not as accurate as the iPhone. I went for a run where I started the recording on both devices and the one on the watch was not accurate.
    I pay for a service where I expect high quality software. I think there are a lot of AW1 users at the moment that doesn't want to support your product anymore. Please find a solution quickly or revert to the old app that was working. You could maybe use previous release from your repository and send out as a Strava for AW1 app to the app store?

    Until I see a new update I will use RunKeeper and I'm considering cancelling my subscription when it's time for renewal.

    A UX error in the latest WatchOS app:
    Before I could stop the recording by tapping hard on the screen but now I'm changing record type. When it's raining it's hard to swipe on the screen but the hard touch did alway work.

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  • @Matt Kornegay...wow...this comment..."I don't think people understand that if they are commenting on this post, THEY are beta-testers...If you have your apps to update automatically, that's your fought...blah blah blah...Wake up people"

    For me, the update read "bug fixes". That's it. So I accepted the update as some bug fixes, and then suddenly my cycling experience was upside down. Maybe you should "wake up" and read/comprehend this thread before posting a condescending comment like this. There are ways to beta test an iOS App. It's not misleading everyone and hoping for the best.

    I absolutely would not have updated if it said:

    "-completely redesigned app that has only been conceived for standalone AW2 runners. -Cycling experiences not even remotely considered -AW0 or AW1 experiences not supported -tethered functionality broken - AW heart rate monitor for cyclists broke -external sensors (powermeter, cadence, etc) broken -premium features like beacon no longer work -Running distances not correct -audio cues broken -etc etc etc -P.S. everything is broken - P.S.S. this in beta state -P.S.S.S. download at your own risk"

    Yep should have been a Test Flight first because the current state is not acceptable for a public release. Period.

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  • Please bring back the ability to start recording from the iOS phone app, and then use the Apple Watch 1 as the HR monitor & a tethered screen for real time stats. Everything was fine with version 5.12. It's not common a product would break existing functionality without any warnings. Unless there's any workarounds, the watch app is currently useless to me.

    On version 5.12, I could:
    1. Start recording from iOS phone app
    2. the WatchOS App would automatically start recording too, and show real time data like pace + distance, as well as record my heart rate during a ride.
    3. I can stop the ride on either my watch or my phone, all the data is compiled into a single ride. 

     

    Since version 5.13:
    The phone and watch app no longer talks to each other until the end of a ride, this means it no longer records my heart rate unless I kick off the recording with my apple watch.

    However, if I record with my apple watch 1, since there's no GPS signal, the pace and distance on the watch is practically useless, it will only try and somehow calculate everything after I finish recording on my watch and wait for it to sync to my phone app.

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  • You have created an apple watch app that solves a problem that I didn't have, and broke my use of the app in the process. If you really "can't connect" the watch and iOS apps, you should have separate versions of the watch app--I was quite happy with it being tethered to the phone, and now that it isn't I don't get the data that I want. What's the point of an app like Strava--and premium in particular--when you can't get the data you need?

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