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



  • Elle - the auto-pause is too sensitive. It shouldn't pause the run if you're looking at your Watch whilst running. 

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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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  • Today I wanted to test how excact the strava spp works. After having read DC Rainmakers AW2 review I was very pessimistic.
    I went for a short run:
    - on my left wrist my AW2 with Strava new standalone app
    - on my right wrist a Tomtom Spark 3 GPS watch
    - on my upper arm my Iphone with Runtastic Pro App.

    I started all at the same time (within 5 sec.) and stopped all at the same time after the run. No autopause selected. The run eas on open fields, so good GPS connection and I waited about 2 minutes outside before starting the run to be sure all 3 devices had GPS connection.

    Well, the results:
    TomTom watch: 5.00km in 36:17min.
    Iphone+Runtastic: 5.05km in 36:18min.
    AW2 + Strava: 5.60km in 35:31min.

    Well, TomTom and Runtastic nearly identical; Strava 600m more in 40s less.
    And looking at lap times Strava did the big mess during the first km.
    Actually I think it's less Strava's fault and more Apple's unteliable hardware.

    The best app is useless if the hardware (GPS --> pace) is crap.

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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".


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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 " 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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  • as mentioned before, the app is now useless to me on original watch series, so I am no longer using it, I have paid for another year on cyclometer (which I had stopped using), a far superior app, with automatic uploading to Strava. Your comment

    "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.""

    This Elle says it all, complete lack of understanding on how you've destroyed an app for a lot of users, and no regards to fixing it, so glad I didn't pay for premium as I'd now be asking for a refund.

    unhappy camper....

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  • Dear Strava,

    Could you please make the previous version of the iOS app available, perhaps through the same method you release beta versions to the community? From your summary comments on this thread, it seems as if you either don't grasp the impact of this change on cyclists or you just don't find it very compelling.

    You state that it's challenging to restore the basic tethering feature that was there on every release up until Feb 21, and maybe there is a solid technical reason behind that. But I'd be happy to use the pre-Feb 21 version until you overcome that challenge.

    Between this and your recent unceremonious drop of Wahoo RFLKT support, you keep pushing me away from Strava as a cyclist.

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  • Hi

    So you've updated Strava Watch app for the Apple Watch 2 - unfortunately this has broken Version 1 functionality. In the past I could start my run on my phone after confirming GPS acquisition, then the app on the watch would automatically show the progress of the run, speed, distance, HR etc.

    Since the update, if I start activity on my phone, all I ever see on the watch app is the big START button. If you hit that then it  duplicates the recording. Really unhappy with this and will seriously be reconsidering my premium subscription. The major issue with using the watch primarily is that sometimes it just doesn't link to the phone - using the phone as the primary device was much more useable in my scenario.....

     It would appear that I am not alone in unhappiness with this update - please roll back for those of us who still use first gen AW.... 

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  • Reading all these posts, I think this is the summary of one of the biggest issues and problems we'll have in the next few months and years.
    Until now app-developers like Strava, Runtastic, Runkeeper, Nike, ... had their own apps for iOS and Android-phones.
    They had to programm 2 versions and they optimized them with every update and put in more and more features.

    With first generations of smartwatches nothing changed. The smartwatch-apps were nothing more than external monitors of the native apps running on the smartphone.

    But now smartwatches get better and better. In-built GPS makes it possible to have standalone-running-apps. Such apps have to be programmed from zero. You can't just copy/paste the smartwatch-code. And you depend 100% from the hardware of the watch-manufaturer.

    But the variety of smartwatches is much bigger than just the 2 options "iOs or Android". Now we have the Apple-Watch and a lot of different Android-watches. Some with GPS, some without, some with cell-connections, some with in-built HR,...

    For each version you could create an own app but - of course - you won't! It would be impossible to update many different apps. So Strava & Co. have to find the best way to satisfy most of the users.

    With AW2 people (runners!) asked and appealed for the standalone app! Strava did it, maybe way too good! The actual app is really standalone! It doesn't communicate with the phone anymore. Now the cyclists and AW1-owners are upset. Strava probably didn't realize this problem before and didn't think so many cyclists use the Apple Watch next to the phone.

    Strava will improve the app in the near future (read Elle's post). But what happens when AW3 is released? Maybe this year? Maybe next year? And AW4? Maybe with a cell-integration? Maybe without? Strava now depends on Apple. And Apple is not excactly known for providing a lot of infos months before. 
    With a cell-connection users want live-segments, Beacon, maybe a chat, music-streaming,....
    That means: start over again!

    LG already has some Android 2.0 smartwatches with cellular-connectivity. Strava's new Android App doesn't support it (cell) yet. But people will ask for it soon!
    Look at Runtastic! They decided to update their Android app to Android 2.0 but they did nothing standalone for iOS yet.

    I don't know; I'm not a tech-pro but I think it can't last long like this. I mean Strava & Co. can't built a new app every time new hardware/smartwatches are released.
    They will find a way with very basic apps that work for most manufacturer/systems.

    Or they produce their own GPS-watch. New Balance RunIQ + Strava is a first step in that direction but way too limited yet.
    Apple+Nike is another example. Runtastic+Adidas is another new partnership. Maybe the result will be a running-watch sooner or later. 

    Strava now has different platforms:
    you want live-segments on your wrist? Choose the Garmin Forerunner 735XT
    you want audio-cues? Go for New Balance RunIQ
    you want everything: take your smartphone + app.

    The AW2-app is version 1.0. It'll improve soon. I personally will be happy with audio-cues and configurable watch-faces.
    But everybody has other preferences.

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  • Just used the strava app with my Apple Watch Serie 2. 

    Instead of a 10k run it indicate, 11k. On the map it seems to be OK.

    So it's a big difference.

    On top of this, it doesn't track my heart rate. Nos measures at all on the screen!

    So I'm very disappointed. Looking forward for a big update soon to repair these bugs. 

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  • watchOS 3 lets fitness apps run continuously in the background. Strava needs to take advantage of that to refresh stats and make them instantly available upon wrist-raise, like Runkeeper and the Workout app do.

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  • New applewatch Strava app is terrible.
    - no accuracy so I lose al lot of km
    - no more hartbeat in results
    - automatic pause stops and nevers starts again
    Can not use the app at all anymore

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  • Like Phong Lê and Dionne Allison above, I get wildly inaccurate 1st kms with Strava and until this solved I can't take it seriously as a running app. No other apps have this problem in my experience so it must be a fundamental error in the way the app was initially created.

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  • The lack of audio cues while using my Apple Watch is a huge disappointment, is this likely to be resolved soon?

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  • So, I'm next to my phone, connected to Wi-Fi network and Bluetooth is on. Starting a ride on my Apple Watch 2 no longer starts on the phone.

    Starting from watch: I don't get live segments or any other stats as I'm riding.

    Starting from phone: I don't get heart rate from the phone or a suffer score.

    The TWO features I use from Premium now don't work anymore.

    Fix it fast please. This is a massive downgrade in my eyes, and makes Strava Premium pretty useless to me.

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  • I am one of those who have the apple watch 2, but would much prefer the old version of the software.  I used to, like everyone else it seems, open up the app on my iPhone, then once it had a signal, put that in my holder and then start my run from my watch.

    As my training has progressed, I had reached the point where I was about to purchase Premium, so that I could use the beacon, that way my wife knows where I am when I'm out on a long run.  That will now not be happening at all.

    As a software developer myself, please don't use excuses like 'It's a significant engineering lift' as you will still have all the old code for the old functionality and one of the most basic rules of releasing new versions is 'make sure you don't screw up the old way of working'.  Even if you don't want to merge the code, then just have it as two different apps, its not rocket science.

    Another disgruntled user!!

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  • I love that Strave is innovating and updating to add standalone use of GPS with Apple Watch 2  but I have to say I really don't like the new app. I went for a run with it today (original Apple Watch) and found many issues. I know they are being addressed but wanted to get them on record anyway.


    1) No audio cues even though because I use the original Apple Watch I have to have my phone tethered.

    2) No way to delete workout. I realised that it was recording a ride in miles so stopped the workout which only gave me an option to save it. Then had to change the settings and continue.

    3) summary at the end is terrible. Just time and distance. I need average pace and average HR. I know how long I have been running for. I need metrics that I can't get otherwise.

    4) User Interface is now very ugly with that big circle with start in it.

    5) I accidentally started a workout because the button is so big and the screen so sensitive  why not use 3D Touch  and deep press for start/stop. Also because I'm sweaty my finger doesn't always register on the screen. A deep press using 3D Touch would completely eliminate this as an issue.

    6) when doing interval training I still have to swipe and then tap to pause. I want a 3D press on the main screen that automatically pauses/resumes for those that want to do interval training 


    The good thing is that when I raise my watch to see where I'm at it is a lot more responsive. Previously I would have to wait for the sceeen to load. Now it's loaded and then takes a second or two to update. I much prefer this. 


    Otherwise keep eel up the good work

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  • Strava Premium CANCELLED! Any recommendations that cater to cyclists?

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  • Hi,

    I would love to see the app on the Apple Watch and iPhone talk together like they did. Today I totally false started 6-7 times in my 16km run, as there was significant issues mainly being that the app no longer talk to each other.

    1. I loved starting the app on my phone and putting it away and using my watch. The reason why this is is that I can get audio ques and make use of the larger battery on the phone. Not sure if I am wrong but the Apple Watch even series 2 does not calculate evelevation gain? (Sorry if I am wrong in this). Thus I liked my phone to be there to calculate this.

    2. Now I have to choose between the Apps on the phone and watch. I want to record my HR and elevation and make use of my iPhone battery for music and tracking. Now I have to choose.

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  • Really happy to find this update this morning after finding my iPhone didn't charge over night. I finally could run with the watch only and leave the phone behind. But now I find out it didn't upload the run. I got the message saying it was ready for upload but several hours later it's still not on my profile :(.

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  • I have a Series 1 Apple Watch, so the update doesn't seem to provide me with any benefit. After completing a walk with the new app, the activity does seem to have uploaded to the Strava web site but is not showing on the feed on my iPhone App. The activity doesn't show up on my workouts on the iPhone workout app like it used to do before the watch update.

    Altogether a retrograde step for us Apple Watch Series 1 owners :(

    Edit: So the activity did eventually turn up on the Strava app on my phone (and in the phone workout app), but well over an hour after the activity finished. This is not really acceptable compared to the previous experience where my activity was available almost immediately on the app.

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  • First run today with the new app. Worked well for me with decent accuracy on a known run. 


    • average pace for whole run not current split as a main display option
    • voice over at the end of each split stating time, distance and average pace
    • Less sensitive auto pause 

    other than that it works well for me. But I can understand the issues other users have, especially with series 1 watch and not linking to the phone. 

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  • big big NO.
    You have forgotten AW1 users and cyclist. what a big disappointment. i may think you may be aware of battery issues when long riding with the watch i always need to finish my workout on the iPhone because the watch ran out of battery but with this so called update is no longer possible. Please bring back the previous version.

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  • I'd like to add my voice to the many many who've already voice the opinion that you've gone and taken a fantastic apple watch app and rendered it more or less useless for those of use without the latest and greatest watch.

    I am an Apple Watch user (not series 2) that was extremely happy with the app as it was.  Having the watch tethered to the phone app and having the phone using the heart rate monitor was absolutely brilliant.  

    I'd use the phone app for a heads-up display in front of me, and the watch app for when I wanted to save some battery, or to check my heart rate on the fly, or for when I had to put the phone away due to a particularly bad downpour.  

    Now, with the AW app acting completely independently, I can't have the display in front of me echoed on the watch, and the distance recorded by the watch was about 2/3rds that shown by the phone app.    The watch HR monitor effectively no longer works if you use the phone as your primary device.  

    What the heck were you thinking guys???  You've ruined the experience for what is probably the majority of your Apple Watch users.   The statement about it not being on your roadmap is quite frankly ridiculous, as it worked absolutely perfectly previously.  Surely a setting in the menu to turn 'tethered' use on and off can't be that difficult.  Hell, even greying it out when it detects an AW1, and just allowing tethered use.  

    Please sort it out - I've currently cancelled my premium membership, as it's no longer the wonderful tool it was.  Let me, and everyone else,  have it back.  The AW1 is still very much a going concern, and will be for a long time yet.  

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  • I feel sorry for the people from Strava. For months all they heard was that they need to release a standalone Apple Watch Series 2 app, they do, and now everyone seems to be complaining that it doesn't act as a display for the phone app.

    Personally I have no desire to run with my brick of an iPhone 6 Plus .. but I guess I am in the minority.

    Problem is that Apple in its infinite wisdom won't let developers release watch apps without an accompanying phone app. If they did Strava could just have two separate watch apps that interfaced with the phone app.

    Probably the best solution would be to have a button when you first launched the app on the watch that allowed you to choose Use Watch GPS or Use Watch as Display then branch the code appropriately. Other running apps do this, but it seems to confuse people for some reason and they respond with bad reviews.

    I hope Strava continues to add features to the standalone watch app as I have no interest in carrying my phone on runs .. but for those that do, I hope they can find a solution that allows the watch to be used as a display for the phone app.

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  • Terrible update for First Gen Apple Watch users!  

    Before:  I could start my activity using my watch or my phone and both would sync in real time.  Thus, I could view speed/distance on my watch with my phone in my saddle bag.  I could also pull out my phone during a rest stop to see an expanded set of stats, map of my ride, etc.

    Now:  The watch and phone do not live sync during an activity.  Either I start the activity on the phone, and can't see any stats like speed/distance live on the watch, or I start the activity on the watch, and can't see the ride in real time on the phone.  I've tried starting an activity on the watch and the phone at the same time, but then Strava records them as two separate activities.  

    Also I'd like to be able to have the option to discard an activity from the watch.  If I inadvertently start recording using the watch I can no longer discard and start a new activity -- the only option is to save the activity and then discard using the phone after it syncs to Strava.

    Here's a solution that shouldn't require a feat of engineering -- give users who dislike the Apple Watch Series 2 update an option to revert to the old app.

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  • Hi,

    Today I went for a 10.6km run, starting it from the Apple Watch Series 2 - I wasn't even aware of the latest update supporting AW standalone so, as usual, I brought the iPhone with me. Both reported duration and pace are completely off by 3 minutes:

    Reported: 49min and 8sec at a 4.36min/km pace

    What should be: 52min and 52sec exactly at a 4.56min/km pace

    Seems that for some reason the app is bugged and subtracted a few minutes to my workout, which is kinda awkward. Well, I'm usually happy to get kudos and compliments from my friends and colleagues at work concerning my running pace, however, I don't usually lie and this is bothering me a bit. Seems that when synching data to RunKeeper, this app was able to recover the correct duration and pace so I guess the correct data is there.

    Please do something about this bug Strava Engineering Team ;) Thanks.

    Best regards,

    Tiago Campos

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  • I have tried the app on two runs without the phone and in both cases the app cut off the beginning of the run, overstated the distance of the run significantly and overstated my pace. I have not had this problem with the other apps using the native GPS on AW2. I love Strava and want to keep using it so I hope these accuracy issues can be resolved.

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  • I'm really sad, this latest update has really messed up what I used to like about Strava - I have the original (non GPS) Apple Watch, and now it doesn't track what's happening on my phone.  If I start the run on my phone, then I get the audio cues, but my watch doesn't think Strava is running.  If I start the run on my watch, then the watch appears to be tracking the run but the iPhone doesn't think it's running and I don't get audio cues.  I also want to keep the iPhone running because it's reliable, at least 1 out of 5 of my runs lately the watch app stops working and I don't want to lose my run data.

    If you can't keep them tethered, I'm going to have to switch apps, and I really like Strava.  I hope you'll change your mind about abandoning the tethered mode, or offer a way to get the old app?


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  • Just went for a run that I know the exact distance - 5.3 miles. 

    I wore both Apple watch 2 and my Garmin Forerunner 220 with HR strap.

    Good new is that HR graphs were very similar.

    Bad news is that Garmin accurately recorded distance as 5.3 miles


    the standalone AW2 strava app recorded a distance of 6.1 miles with a very wiggly track.

    I will compare the distance again next week with the standalone run keeper app on AW2 that I have been using successfully.

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