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
  • The new functionality seems to be great for one specific segment of users (Apple Watch 2 runners who run without their iPhone) and major step backwards for everyone else. As a cyclist and runner who owns an AW2, the trade-off in experiences is a real disappointment. 

    On my first run without my iPhone, I felt free. Can't wait to pair with a pair of AirPods, will be a significant improvement to go on a run without a clunky armband, and headphone wires all over the place. (Although I could do this months ago through Apple's workout app, and given my experience below, maybe I'll stick with that for now?)

    As great as the first run was, my first ride experience was equally terrible with the new features. About 5 min in I had this suspicion that the Watch and iPhone were no longer in sync/presenting the same data. And sure enough, when I got home, I didn't have all of the data. Since I started my activity from my Watch, my powermeter never connected to the iPhone. No power data. Ugh. The next ride, I started from my iPhone, but it doesn't display on the Watch unless I start a separate activity. Both of which Strava tries to upload as a separate rides.

    I have an AW0, so I was tempted to try using it, but on our ride today, my girlfriend's AW0 was all over the place.

    I think I'll use Strava while running, but in the mean time until the cycling experience is fixed I'll be using another workout app (Cyclometer).

    Wish I would have known this update was coming, I would not have updated my Strava App on my iPhone and waited to see if users were having issues. As other users have mentioned, previous attempts at major updates by Strava have typically bricked or killed other critical functionality. Regression testing.

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  • As a premium user, I have to add my voice to the others: this 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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  • Hi! 

     

    I have pressed the orange start button (Watch2) ,but nothing is happening ( without IPhone7) . 

    What am i doing wrong? 

    Thanks!

     

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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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  • Does the AW2 use the watch's GPS or the iPhone's, if the iPhone is available? I lost 10% of my run this morning - it is a weekly run and has always recorded reliably with the previous version of the app.

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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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  • I’m with most everyone else here. For the extremely tiny niche of users whose ONLY priority is to run without their phone, this is a good update. For everyone else—the overwhelming majority—this new version is a MAJOR step back.

    Essentially, this update made the Watch app unusable for me (whereas it was okay before):

    • Have to choose between heart rate monitoring vs. basic functionality such as audio cues
    • Loss of paid Premium features such as Beacon and Live Segments
    • Run Auto-Pause is way too sensitive, pausing when you check your stats
    • No workaround for the inaccurate starting point (previously, you could open Strava on the phone, wait for a lock, then start it on the Watch—no longer possible)
    • App instability and syncing issues leading to lost workouts

    I cannot believe this actually went through a test phase, and actually got approved in its current state. Absolutely horrible update. Please revert to the old version ASAP, and only rerelease once you have an actually usable update.

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  • I've summarized some of the largest feedback trends for the new Apple Watch app and shared responses from our team. 

    A quick note: **If pressing the record button on the Apple Watch does not start the recording, simply get close enough to your phone to grant location permission (should only need to be done once)**

     

    Add option to keep watch tethered:

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

    Previous:          "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."

    Updated February 28th:         "For those cyclists using the Apple Watch as a second display and HRM while recording from other sensors such as cadence/power - we understand that this use-case is essential for you. We are looking into a solution and will post an update after further research."

      

    Features we are already working on, look for them in upcoming release notes:

    • Missing run audio announcements (km/mile)
    • Add average speed to display
    • Add an Apple Watch complication
    • A better activity summary after recording
    • Cannot discard an activity on the watch

      

    Other notes:

    Activity does not sync to Strava: "We've seen this happening very sporadically and are actively working on fixing this. We hope to push a fix soon."

    Beacon doesn't work: "Beacon requires a cellular connection to work. Since the Apple Watch does not have a cellular chip, if you want to use Beacon, you will need to record the activity using your phone."

    No Live Segment notifications: "We are considering adding the ability to send Live Segment notifications to the Apple Watch but the feature would still require recording using the mobile device."

     

    What did we miss? Leave us your comment below. 

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  • Elle, thank you for the followup.

    But the Watch app really needs to interface with the phone app. This is critical for cyclists, and anyone using an earlier version of the Apple Watch.

    Even I, as a Series 2 owner, would like this functionality. A Phone+Watch functionality, using the Watch’s GPS, would would restore Beacon, as well as any other lost functionality.

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  • Short update: Did a long run today. Strava on my Apple Watch was 800m off the actual distance. That's way too much. I took the Garmin from my girlfriend for comparison. The Garmin was also a bit off, but nothing like the Strava app. When you zoom into the recorded track, you can see why. I wonder why the native Apple Training.app is really accurate, but Strava is not, although it's using the same GPS chip (Watch wasn't connected to the iPhone).

    Below you can see the difference between both, the run recorded with Strava and the one recorded with the Garmin. You can guess, which is which ;-)



    Edit: The reason, why the Garmin watch was a bit off is, because I didn't wait until GPS was ready. So the first meters are estimated with the stride length of my girlfriend.

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  • Ciao Elle,

    your summarize is the "needs" in the short time.

    By my side, and about the post I read, I believe there are other two important points:

    - opportunity to switch what display in evidence (heart beat, pace, distance) like native apple app

    - opportunity to send at the watch the training plan

    Regards

     

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  • I went for my first AW-only run yesterday, a route that I do often. Whenever I looked at the watch during the run it seemed to be recording my distance accurately, but when I finished the activity it bumped me down to about 1km less than the true distance. Over a 5km run this is quite a significant shortfall! I also agree with posters who say the auto pause is too sensitive. Finally, has anyone else had problems when pausing an activity and then resuming it later? (i.e. run to the gym, pause the watch, resume to run home?).

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  • Overall I am glad that the new release is here and nice seamless upload to Strava right after the run. I have had no missing mileage issues whatsoever. Overall, the app is great for my easy runs, and saw Elle's comment this morning on other features in the works.  Here is my incremental feedback:

    1) For any sort of hard running workouts, we absolutely need lap / split functionality and I did not see it in Elle's list of features being considered.  Please help! Trying to be dramatic here :)

    I was trying to use the Apple Watch basic stopwatch functionality and switching back and forth to Strava this week and it was tough. I think generally it's nice to keep workouts in one continuous run record vs. new ones for each interval.  Thus, after a couple of mile warm up for a workout with 8 x 400 meters, I want to split to from warm up to the workout then know my 400m splits. Or 8 x 3min fartlek w/ 2 min jog in between, I want to see my lap time to know when my 3 and 2 intervals are done.  Especially late in a workout when you can barely think, it becomes virtually impossible to do the math in your head and need to see actual splits. (any tips for what others are doing would be appreciated in the meantime!)

    - Also, I like the ideas on customizable faces - it would be nice to even just customize down to just time.  During a hard workout in the dark (early mornings), it becomes hard to even see the small lines on the watch and a simple screen with the lap time might be all I want to see.  Thus, as much customization as possible would be nice. 

    - I see the missing audio announcements on the list - great! Just to clarify, what sort of audio?  Voice or just beeps.  A choice would be good.  When running with groups and no headphones, you dont want to be the person with your watch talking at each mile.  Also are you adding taptic vibrations as well? That would be awesome

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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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  • Thanks, Elle.

    In your most recent comment, it looks like you are saying to cyclists who use any other Bluetooth sensors or Premium Strava features to get another heart rate monitor, use the iPhone app, and forget about using the Strava Apple Watch app for the foreseeable future.

    I'm not very happy with that response. You have a previous code base that worked well for many of us. Would it be possible to provide the previous version and make the choice user configurable? Otherwise, you will have a lot of paying Premium users needing to rethink our commitment to Strava.

     

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  • My first suggestion would either be to roll back the update so the phone and watch app are tethered or republish the app as a separate app so if people want that functionality they have it.

    As it stands right now I can start my run from my phone and get audio cues and safety beacon and no HR or start it from my watch and get HR but no audio cues and safety beacon.

    As a premium user I'm paying for features that I can't even utilize that I could before.

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  • The new update using the GPS seems to be working well. On a 6 mile run in the boonies without my IPhone, on a fully charged Applewatch2, used about 11% of battery. So if that is the norm, could easily handle a marathon! I like the idea someone posted though, about a fallback to switching to IPhone if you have it with you to finish the run. Not sure how that would work, but the IPhone battery could not handle a full, very slow marathon, so the longer battery life is appreciated, and it is always good to have a fallback. GPS was pretty much spot on. I do miss the call out/notification for mile splits, but that should be easily worked out. I understand the dilemma of needing the phone with to get notification of segments, directions for following course and can live with that limitation. Not sure if it is a watch thing (likely) or strava software thing (unlikely), but HR is way off or spotty with Applewatch 2. Very happy with this first effort Strava!

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  • Thanks for the update.    As to what you state about tethering:  The issue for many is checking status on the watch (i.e., average speed, etc...what you had before) after starting Strava on the phone, and not "checking recording on phone" as you state in your response.   As many have stated, unless we now start an activity on the AW, this change renders Strava on the AW (those of us with a Series 1 ) rather useless.  If you could clarify things specifically for people who don't have any AW series 2 -  That would be appreciated.

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  • Is it possible to do one run, take a break for an hour say to do an activity (while still wearing the Watch) then go on a second run if I haven't got my phone with me to sync the runs?

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  • I'm new to Strava and after getting an Apple watch 2, It seemed great and the update seemed to add to it all....

    But this update has removed the valuable audio cues function, which as a lone runner is really annoying, as that was my training buddy; was helpful to hear them in my headphones to drive me on, and or to stay on cadence.

    - Why have you removed the audio cues?

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  • I did my first run with the Strava App and my Apple Watch 2 today.  I ran a route I have done often and that I know to be just a few hundredths of a mile below 10 miles.  I wore my Garmin Forerunner 220 on the same wrist as the Apple Watch.  Both were on auto pause (and I had several pauses for traffic lights on my route).  I hope the table below shows up but the bottom line is that the Strava app showed the run to be 10.2 miles while the Garmin 220 showed it at 9.96 miles.  The Strava app consistently showed faster splits (by mile) as compared to the Garmin. The map created in Strava is extremely accurate so I am not sure why just over 0.2 miles was added by the Strava.  I have ridden this same route on my bike using RideWithGPS and it is just under 10 miles. 

     

    Garmin Watch

    Strava App

    Splits 

    Avg Moving Pace

    Splits

    Pace

    1

    8:44

    1

    8:27

    2

    8:27

    2

    8:31

    3

    8:46

    3

    8:33

    4

    8:28

    4

    8:29

    5

    8:35

    5

    8:29

    6

    8:32

    6

    8:19

    7

    8:25

    7

    8:11

    8

    8:23

    8

    8:14

    9

    8:27

    9

    8:17

    10

    8:11

    10

    8:09

     

     

    0.2

    7:45

    9.96

    8:30

    10.2

    8:37

     

    Strava 1:28:20 moving time

    Garmin 1:24:23 moving time

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  • Was very happy to see the update. Today's run mileage was off by nearly 2 miles, recorded as 11 but was more like 9.2. Have not noticed that wide a discrepancy on other runs, though this was in a state forest, but on access roads, not single track through the woods.

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  • 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."

     

    Is this what I think it is? Didn't we already have this? Why then take it away and then tell us we will not be getting it back? The 5.13 update BROKE the first generation Apple Watch!! If you cant make it work, give us back an app that work! Repost Strava 5.12 as a separate app if you have too. 

     

    Without proper data logging my runs are useless. 

     

    Don't leave us behind!!

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  • Thank you for the update. Appreciate the communication. It is greatly valued.

    J.

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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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  • This is a very disappointing update.

    If the objective was to create a simple app for the masses that is easy and enjoyable to use, then why is the UI so poor, and the summary screen so limited.  And why such poor support for cycling.

    If the objective was to create something for the more serious athlete then this is way behind other apps such as ISmoothRun and other watches like those from Garmin.

    So this to me feels like a rushed through app, half-hearted in it's implementation; but it took months to make?  It makes me question Strava's commitment to the Apple platform, especially with statements such as "We want to better understand the use cases and how the Apple Watch itself will evolve this year before we make any concrete plans" - so I would guess that is at least Sept until we see Apple Watch updated, and Strava taking 3+ months after that - so approaching a year from now?  And I would think the use cases would be fairly easy to understand - it's not a new market.

    I get the general feeling with Strava that they are becoming complacent with their market position and somewhat arrogant in their development approach (how much longer do we have to wait for decent Swimming and Triathlon support) - it's a classic failure pattern for tech companies, and I hope that Strava does not follow that well worn path into irrelevance.

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  • @Rob Tobias Runkeeper, but it has it's only issues. Main GPS is whack. They have an know issue when starting. Secondly, there standalone app functions similarly to Strava as far as it's a standalone. Though the watch and phone will talk back and forth. They have a setting for this. It' way ahead of Strava. The downside it that you cannot edit you data points (maps, HR, etc) on their website if it was recorded with the Watch only. I think if it was recored with the phone app and the watch was used it can be. They said that their website operates independently of the watch app which is ridiculous. However, you can export data later, but I do not know about data that was recorded just with the watch as only pace, HR, steps are shown in the iPhone app, but not the website. It's really confusing and messed up. It looks like most app devs just pushed something out and instead of trying to get all the devices to talk to each other, they just focused solely on an IOS 3 app.

    I like that on the Strave site that you can edit map data that was recorded on the app. They got that right. Looks like Strava needs to learn from Runkeeper and Runkeeper from Strava. I will go with who ever can get it right, but I'm tired of logging activities in two different places. Not to mention MFP and Health kit to contend with.

     

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  • @Monte H. The HR for Strava is very slow almost pointless if it pulls from AW. When I connected my HR strap its more consistent and shows much quicker. That't how I know.

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  • Hi Elle,

    How about the duplicate entry bug in Health kit that I posted screenshots above (sorry they were so big)? It doubled my data in the Health app, but showed correctly in the Activity app. This does affect my overall distance for the day. I had to delete is manually. Don't think I'm going to continue to have to do that each time as this is a big issue. 

     

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  • How about the ability to use a Bluetooth cadence sensor with the Watch.
    It was good using the phone and with a cadence sensor and the Watch as a display. Problem is now the Watch will only use gps and not the phone there is no option available I use sensors now.

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