Apple Watch Series 3 accuracy

I am using Strava on my iPhone (6) with the original Apple Watch (no GPS). Apart from the inconvenience of having to take my iPhone in an armband it works very well for running and the activities are pretty accurate. Live HR, accurate routes and distances. (Only downside is lack of Beacon when I start tracking on the watch).

I’m coming up to my 40th birthday and my wife wants to get me a new Apple Watch Series 3.

There are (or were) reported problems on this forum with using the Strava standalone watch app with Apple Watch Series 2 – pretty serious problems like missing location data and truncated routes.

Presumably at least some of this was down to limitations of the Watch itself.

My questions are:

1. Was this resolved on Apple Watch Series 2?

if not:

2. Does anyone have experience with Strava on the new Apple Watch Series 3 - and does *that* track location accurately?

I’m keen on upgrading for swimming use but won’t do it if my Strava running experience is worse than with the original Watch + phone combination.

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Comments

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  • I can confirm that the gps tracking on the series 3 is excellent and is on par, if not better than my previous Fenix 5. There are many great running reviews of the Watch on the net, also on YouTube. DesFit on YouTube does a great review. Also a website called Believe in the run https://www.believeintherun.com/2017/10/02/apple-watch-series-3-review/ has a great review. There are others. I have looked at previous runs I did with my fenix 5 and compared with the series 3 and see next to no difference. Used in conjunction with Rungap the watch is an excellent running watch. I recall recently reading a review from a triathlete who is using the watch to train for triathlons with no issues, sorry can’t recall the website. 

     

    Needless to say, I highly recommend the watch

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  • Also have a look at this https://the5krunner.com/2017/10/27/apple-watch-triathlon/

     

    Thanks

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  • Thanks Mark. Certainly the watch itself sounds good. The first reviewer's reason for not using the Strava app is "It currently [only shows] three fields, time, current time and distance". That is no longer the case, it actually shows: Time, Avg. Pace, Distance and Heart Rate which for me is perfect.

    What is *your* reason for NOT using the Strava app? (you said you use Rungap - do you record with Apple Workouts?)

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  • I use the AW workouts app as I can access my music easily mid run. I can also lock the watch screen and still use the app. You can't do these with the Strava app. I also find the layout just easier on the eye. Like I say the main reason is the access to other watch features whilst running or biking.

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  • Hello , running with my AW3 LTE is not as accurate as I thought ,a 7.6 km run was calculated like 9.2 km by the Apple Watch...

    Did you needed to do a calibration to have such accurate results , or to have all "system services" checked on your iphones ?

    ( like here :https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT204516 )

    Thank you

    Daniel

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  • I did not calibrate the Watch. I do however always walk for a few minutes before starting a run, just part of my routine. This then disconnects the watch from the phone, I have never had an issue with any runs in relation to gps quality. Apple does say that you should calibrate it for a minimum of 20mins with your phone before using the watch on its own. 

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  • I have the Apple Watch 3 and was using the Strava app for this watch to track my running, however I found that the distances were very inaccurate.  Example, two weeks ago I ran a half marathon (13.1 miles- certified distance).  the Strava app via my watch tracked my distance at 13.5 miles.   This caused me to go back and view my training runs.  Turns out all of the runs I did via the app were way off.  I have begun using the Apple activity tracker app on my watch to track my runs.  I then upload/sync that data into strava using a 3rd party app (HealthFit), but I don't get the segment info or even sometimes the mapping.  I only do this because I want once place to view my running/swimming/cycling training info as I prepare for an Ironman.     

    I really hope Strava can/will do an update.  I love the app, except for this major problem!

    The Apple Watch 3 is awesome! love it.  first Apple watch, and everything with the watch is excellent.  The cellular use is great unless you are deep in a building, but I expected that.   

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  • @Dan M - that calibration info is for "Apple Watch Series 1 or earlier". Given that the AW3 has GPS this should not be necessary.

    @Dan McCaffrey - I also use the Apple Activity tracker app and I'm pretty happy with it. FYI - I sync it to Strava using RunGap and I get all my segment info GPS (including elevation and so on). That works very well. I have not actually compared the same route using the Strava watch app, though it sounds odd if the distance calculated is different to that from the Apple app.

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  • Hi @danmccaffrey Have you tried RunGap to sync data over to Strava. You get all the maps etc with RunGap.

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  • @mark greaves- thank  you.  I actually learned about RunGap this weekend and set it up.  Have not used it yet.   

    @ Ade Rowbotham- the strava app def has GPS distance issues when running through apple watch 3. I have done several direct comparisons of exact same routes using strava, then using the Apple activity tracker.  Strava is way off.  

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  • I’ve gorvthe Apple 3 with cellular data. After using several watch apps, I’ve concluded the apple 3 Watch is useless to runners. It’s too inaccurate. I’ve seen radical differences in distance and avg pace. It makes me miss and appreciate my Garmin 235. Further, the run apps including strava app are really poor. It’s beyond me why you cannot customize data fields and screens. FYI I’ve tried RunFit, Apple workout, strava. All of them have data discrepancy on the aw 3.

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  • Using Apple's Activity app and posting to Strava via RunGap it seems *to me* pretty accurate. Insofar as – I do a recorded 5k on Saturday mornings (Parkrun) and it's correctly measured as 5k a few times. The watch time is pretty close to the official time. This is on an AW3 *without* cellular.

    So Bryan I have the opposite conclusion, very happy with the AW3 here. (Lucky me!)

    But – interestingly –  if I post the *same run data* to Runkeeper I get different split times. So there's obviously a discrepancy there between how different apps process the same raw data as a factor in all this.

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  • There is a big and known problem with the Strava app on Apple Watch. And doesn't matter whether is the Series 2 or Series 3. They are not able to correctly sync the data recorded on the watch to your iPhone.

    It's happened to me several times. I completed a run, it showed a time and distance on the watch. And it was different after sync on the iPhone app. They say they're not able to correctly record the first few dozens seconds because the watch is searching for the GPS signal or whatever. Didn't even help if I brought my iPhone with me (than the phone's GPS is used to track the route). Sound like bullshit to me because other apps do this perfectly.

    For me the Apple Watch app is useless and I have to run with my iPhone which is exactly what I wanted to avoid when buying the Apple Watch. 

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  • I have been running with strava on an AW for months now. First the AW2 and now the AW3 for two months. All was working fine and as intended. The AW was paired with an Iphone 6s.

    This week i got the Iphone8 and there the trouble started. I just can't get the heartrate to show on my AW Strava app while running. Sometimes when i start the run it shows a heartrate and then after a few seconds it turns grey and won't come up anymore.

    I have tried all possible solutions found on the forums. Reinstalling on phone/AW. Unpairing AW from phone and setting it up as a new AW. Toggling health authorisations for strava in both the health app as through the strava app. It is doing my head in and now I am thinking of stopping with Strava. It is a pitty because i realy liked the analysis i could do on the webversion(i am premium member).Without the heartrate i can't analyse the runs the way i want to analyse them.

    So long Strava i am afraid....

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  • Hi Pjotr,
    Did you ever solve the issue you were having with the watch and the heart rate not showing? I’ve tried everything.
    Thanks,
    John

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  • I too find issue with Strava using my AW3. I did a 10 mile organised run and my Strava picked up 11 miles! Despite it being 2 laps of a 5 mile route, and the first 5 mile seemed to be picked up fine, by the time I’d crossed the finish, I’d apparently ran 11mile 😤
    Since then I’ve either used the built in Apple activity tracker, or the Nike+RunClub, which seem to track distances a lot better. Only thing I don’t like with those apps is the ability to share multiple details from your run, such as map of route, time, distance etc, something I liked with Strava and also FitBit
    Wish Strava would sort it 😕

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  • The GPS on the Apple Watch 3 is way off when I use Strava.   It's off by a full kilometer.   I don't like it.  Even the pace is off.  I had a Garmin Forerunner 235 before and sadly I'm thinking that I'll have to ditch my Apple watch and go back to my garmin for marathon training.  I was hoping Strava would of been my go to run app on my apple watch.    

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  • Wow, a full km based on what total distance?

    I've recently had a few timed + measured 5k runs be measured as 5.1km. Even this imaginary extra 100 metres is enough to set my pace completely out. Starting to think I need to get a Garmin.

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  • I ran 15K with my friends...we all finished the same time...mine showed 16K and the pace is out of wack too!! I have a Garmin and will be using it for my marathon training...sadly my $700 apple watch is useless for what I want it for.  or maybe Strava needs to update something to fix this issue.  

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  • I found some inaccuracies were fixed by going to the strava website and bringing up the run. Under the distance there's a small link labelled "Distance ?". Click on it, then "correct distance" and let us know what happens. Does that make it more accurate?

    Thanks,

    John

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  • This is DEFINITELY a Strava issue.   I have newest Apple watch and have been using RunGap and RunFit (for my Wahoo heart monitor) and there are ZERO discrepancies in distance or pace.     Strava has a known problem (read other threads) yet they refuse to fix it!    I like the social sharing features of Strava so I use the other apps for tracking and then have them uploading to Strava.   The data gets changed when I send to Strava, but it's close.  I don't care, since I use the other apps for accurate tracking my training goals.   I wish Strava would just fixed the issue

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  • @JohnCunningham. I have just tried this and it does indeed ‘correct’ the distance, or Atleast make it seem more accurate. The 11miles recorded on my 10mile run that was arranged by a running club now shows as 10.06mile. And another run I did in a group that showed 5.44miles on mine is now much closer to their data and shows 4.5miles

    How bizarre!!

    Can Strava explain why this has to be done?

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  • @SteveWilliams yeah I agree. I don’t understand why it needs to be done, and why it doesn’t happen automatically. It seems to be more necessary when I run in surroundings where the GPS is going to be less accurate such as in built up areas or under a tree canopy. Otherwise I find the accuracy already pretty good.

    Never the less, if Strava made this happen all the time it might fix some annoyances.

    John

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  • Agree - I think it's to do with the auto-pause function on AW Strava App which can't be disabled. .I routinely get say 8k recorded on a 9k route, which I put down to my speed dropping to a walk. However, when I correct the distance in the browser my times/km are bonkers. Ran 10k last night with a group, I was at the back most of the way round. Watch tracked 9km. Strava corrected to 9.9km but has my time as being faster than the lead runner. It's all nonsense.....

     

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  • Also getting issues on Strava, last year done GCM half marathon, distance recorded was 14.3. That was on A.W series 1.

    Today, ran 18miles and was a mile out within first 6miles compared to mates watch this is on new A.W series 3

    Anyone recommend a good watch for tri-athlons, A.W is now gonna be demoted to a fashion watch rather than a functional, something that is able to update to starva so I can keep up with my community?

    Cheers in advance

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  • @Laura I turned off auto-pause for runs on the watch and it made the run much more accurate. Have you tried that? Swipe left and under settings you can turn off auto pause for rides or runs. 

    John

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  • I was having problems with Strava showing different distances to those recorded by a friend using a Garmin Watch. Using Strava’s distance correction gives a much closer distance but for some reason it changes the time too. I can understand correcting the distance but why does it alter the time too? As was said above, this messes up the speeds and you end up with an entry as a PR that you will never be able to beat. 

    I have started to use HealthFit. I now use the Apple Watch workout app and then upload it to Strava using the HealthFit app. This gives a Strava entry that is indistinguishable from a normal Strava activity except that it is accurate. I have compared it with a Garmin Watch and also with plotaroute.com and the Apple Watch seems to be as accurate as any now.

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  • I have an iPhone 8+ and an AW3 that I bought recently to replace my trusty Polar RC3, and I use the Strava app.  I used to upload the gpx file manually to Strava purely for a tidy data source that is visible to my friends etc.  I started using my AW3 on my MTB on trails I frequently ride and the results regarding distance etc were basically the same as that from my Polar watch, so no problem. Today however I used it on a trail run for the first time and something strange happened.  The watch (it had run auto pause on) was recording and working fine and I was using a bluetooth Polar HRM.  When i was about 3km into the run, the watch alerted me (vibrated) and when i looked at the face it was showing a Strava logo (is that a km split indication maybe?).  The next thing is it started again automatically and at the end of the run, its showed 2.6km for a 5.4km trail run!!!  I read this thread which all sounded similar to my problem.  I clicked on distance? in Strava and it changed the distance to 5.4km but the pace was way out.  So, basically the same as what you guys are saying in this thread. I believe that if riding a bike, the watch uses GPS for route, distance and speed but for run/walk it uses the accelerometer and GPS? I'm a bit confused now on what to use. 

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  • Following on from my previous post:  If you switch auto-pause on in Strava and you are using the run activity then if you walk (like i do a lot) then its highly probable you will get an incorrect reading for distance.  I found that if you walk, it stays in pause.  I did a test, I switched auto-pause off, selected outside run and started a short walk around our office park.  The watch ran, gave the correct distance as well as average pace for the distance (200m).  I then switched auto-pause on and repeated, again walking.  The watch stayed in paused mode and did not record the walk unless i unnaturally waved my arms simulating a run.  So my trail run only recorded the running components detected by the accelerometer and not when i walked.  So, I guess auto-pause is off for me - I walk a lot. Auto-pause on outdoor ride is not a problem.

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