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



906 comentarios
  • I agree with another user; this update makes the app useless for gen 1 Apple Watch. I used to start the app on the phone, put it in my pocket then use the app on my watch during my workout so I'd get heart rate info. Then I'd stop the workout on my phone so I could switch it to a hike; my main type of workout. Incidentally, this isn't even an option on the watch to choose a hike... another suck thing but overcome by being able to change it when I stopped the workout on the phone. Please restore the ability to use the watch tethered to the phone app. It's useless to me as it is now. I was just starting to enjoy Strava, now I'll just use the Apple Watch built in workout app.

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  • 5.12 was absolutely perfect for those of us who prefer the advantages of a tethered experience and now Strava are acting like it's not possible. I would happily pay to get 5.12 back but feel like it should be free to us Premium members.

    What a slap in the face to long time Strava users.

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  • I'm just adding my voice to the calls to being back tethering of iPhone and Apple Watch 2. Some of us rely on our phones for music and audio cues while exercising, and now the watch provides zero data from the phone while running. Having to start a SEPARATE activity on the Apple Watch just so you have some idea of how you're doing is a terrible user experience.

    A quick look shows Runkeeper has the option now to run Apple Watch app on its own, or tethered to the iPhone, so please confirm this is on the way - as a Premium user I don't want to have to migrate away from Strava - but right now it just doesn't work for me (and many others apparently).  It can be done, and SHOULD be done.

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  • Thanks for the update. I understand that you de-tethered the AW and App, but it's a bit unilateral to say 'tough that is how it is' . Runkeeper allows you to select 'watch only' or 'watch + phone'. Please, please work on the same kind of solution for strava rather than just saying 'no, get over it'

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  • Wow - what a steaming pile of garbage.  I can't believe someone got paid to produce this.  You should be ashamed.  Seriously.

    I'm a runner with 1st gen Apple Watch, who always runs with my phone for music/podcasts/etc.  The first version of the watch app "mostly worked" - and now, since the new "Series 2" update - the watch app is completely useless to me.   My distance is off by 10-20%, no more voice announcements, haptics, constant "upload failed" messages on the phone


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  • I've just checked the latest version, It seems your "minor bug fixes" still failed to address the concerns of most of the cyclists (and some of the runners). 


    In years to come, university students will be writing essays about strava and how the company's decision to rush to market a product that broke the user experience of the majority of users to appease a minority resulted in strava falling from the position of the top of the fitness companies to a laughing stock.


    Your demise will be summaries in the following:

    1. You remove functionality your customers have paid for.

    2. You ignore the cries of your customers wanting the functionality back.

    3. You start bleeding paying customers.

    4. Your profit margins drop and you start laying off staff (of course the first will be in engineering - because it is the management that need to save the dollars)

    5. Now with no engineers to restore the functionality you removed in 1, you outsource development to the cheapest bidder. Management continue to pat themselves on the back for doing a good job in difficult times

    6. The cheapest development results in an even worse app, functionality that was removed in 1 is still not there, and the functionality that was added is now broken.

    7. Management need to show that their departments are still productive, so version 8.0.0 is pushed to the store.

    9. Your remaining paying customers upgrade and are disgusted at the pile of crap you've release - breaking yet more functionality.

    10. You lose your remaining subscribers.

    11. The smart managers start looking for jobs elsewhere because they know there will be not much money left.

    12. Strava as a company is gutted from the inside out, and is now just a shell of its former self.

    13. The servers start being shut down because payments cannot be made

    14. The last of the customers uninstall the app because they can no longer connect

    15. The doors close.


    While all of the above is happening, Strava's competitors watch and learn from Strava. They hear what Strava's customers really want and they provide it. Competition between these companies is great, and suddenly there is a lot more apps in the store for cycling and of those, a few stand out as quality. Strava customers head to these few products. Eventually there is interoperability between the few quality products, the rushed products remain on the store with a handful of users, but Strava is dead. 



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  • I've now cancelled my premium with the following feedback: Sorry dudes, but the latest watch update has absolutely killed my use of strava. It no longer records my heart rate as I can't tether the app to my watch and I'm not going backwards to a chest strap. Plus every workout I have recorded via the watch app bar one has not uploaded to strava. I'm actually a software dev myself who works with apple watch apps and I cannot see how you have decided to release this, I certainly would not have!

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  • I'm sure you're sick of hearing it (although not enough to actually fix it) but as a cyclist and premium subscriber I NEED the tether. I see you've added photos to notifications (kinda low on a list really).

    I want to see the live segments to help me improve myself. However, I cannot have this as I have just found out that my cycling activity only counts with Vitality Healthcare Benefits WITH HEART RATE DATA.

    So, I'm now in one hell of a predicament. Premium and Strava has now become DETRIMENTAL to my exercise routine.

    I'm going to have to just use the Apple app instead, which I'm sure will do just a good as job as the free Strava (if not better, at recording).

    I really do hope you see fit to care about your paying users at some point, at which time I shall gladly return as a paying customer.

    Thanks again for ruining a great app and great experience. And hope you don't feel the negative impact of haemorrhaging subs too harshly.

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  • I'll add my voice to the chorus. I am rating the new Strava app one star and am rethinking my Premium Subscription. I mean it's terrible. 

    As a cyclist, I want to have the option of using my phone for maps and segments. The average speed and extra data on the watch was great. Now all that's gone. Or my heart rate is gone. That sucks.

    As a runner, I want to have audible mile stats. Since Apple still doesn't have a way to play podcasts on the Watch, the audible alerts will need to come off the iPhone.

    It'd be nice to not bring my phone, but it's not essential. And of course there are plenty of Apple Watch 1 owners who do not need the untethered feature (heck they are still making those watches!)

    I have a simple solution. Create two Strava apps, Strava Classic and Strava Untethered, with two watch apps. Yes, support costs will be higher, but maybe you only need this during a transition period until you figure out how to make a watch app with appropriate functionality. 

    Please Strava, FOCUS. It's important. FOCUS on what your users want, not on what you THINK they want.


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  • I've moved back to RunKeeper and will let my premium lapse.

    Sad to see such poor community relations here, and frankly very surprised as I thought Strava had the "inside" line on what serious runners wanted.

    Strava folks—most of us don't want to leave our phones behind—we run at night, or miles from home, or want to be connected for safety still—we simply want our watches for convenient display and control. When RunKeeper does already what you seem to have having an impossible time doing, it does nothing for your credibility.

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  • I personally feel it was a very poor decision to completely sandbox both apps and break down their communication.

    By doing so you are no longer able to use beacon and heart rate together, and the watch often stops tracking randomly ruining the whole purpose. It would make more sense to offer both versions of the app, or a single app where you can choose tethered or untethered. By adding "support" for the Watch 2 working independently you have removed features which are more important... It's easier to buy a phone band for my arm than it is a dedicated heart rate monitor just because Strava wanted to showboat an Apple feature with very little benefit compared to the valuable features that have been dropped.

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  • Reluctantly cancelled my premium subscription today. As an Apple Watch Series 2 user, the changes to that app have made Strava very difficult to use for a 'fun' runner like me.  The watch showing the data from the phone was perfect, and one of the main reasons I chose the Apple Watch. I still want beacon, music and audio cues, so I now run with my phone and headphones, and the watch running separately (and connected to my heart-rate monitor, so I have to turn Bluetooth off on my phone to stop it pairing instead) so I get SOME data on my wrist while running.  Then, of course, I have two versions of my workout on Strava, so I have to delete one of them.

    I was really hoping that the MANY comments here would convince Strava to bring back the paired use-case, like the competition have already implemented, but it seems like this isn't even on the roadmap. So, unfortunately, I'll be trying something else, which is a shame as there are many things I like about Strava, but it's simply not enough to continue paying for a user experience that is going backwards compared to the competition.

    I'll be happy to pay once again if the user experience ever matches what it was back in February.

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  • I understand the desire to expand the capabilities of the Apple Watch by itself but please allow us to use the built-in Heart Rate Monitor on the Watch when using the iPhone as primary display and recording device while cycling.

    Currently I need to run the App on both devices at the same time which records two sets of events. This messes up all Interval timings etc during the ride and then once complete, I need to delete the event recorded by the iPhone and Watch event which has all of the Heart Rate info... It's a mess right now...

    Thanks in advance!



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  • Really looking forward to trying this out.

    Has this fixed the bug that keeps duplicating activities in the Apple Activity app? I thought it had been resolved as it hadn't happened in a couple of weeks but then yesterday it duplicated my entire activity again after I'd previously deleted the duplicates. It is driving me crazy. No other activity app (RunKeeper, Nike Run Club, etc) does this. If you can't find the bug could you ask Apple for help?

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  • Update:

    GPS tracking was better the second time, but still not great.

    Elevation is ready 0 Meters (on a fairly hilly route)

    Run wasn't syncing to the iPhone app until I opened the app on the watch again.

    I tried using auto-pause and it was pausing a lot when looking at the watch while running - not sure if that affected the tracking

    Really missing audio cues



    Hi Elle,

    Firstly - thanks for getting this over the line - I like the revised UI and it seems to be working very responsively.

    I've just done a 5K without my tethered iPhone which I've been doing regularly using the Nike + and the native running app on the Apple watch so I can accurately compare.

    There seemed to be a problem at the start of the run. I got a "free" 200m which means my first KM is inaccurate. Looking at the map, it looks like there was an issue picking up my GPS, not sure if I'm remembering correctly, but I was expecting a countdown to start (not that I want one). I started the run as soon as I stepped outdoors. Next run, I'l wait a few seconds before heading off - hopefully that will sort the GPS issue.

    No audio alerts? I wasn't getting KM, starting or finishing alerts. I had music streaming from the music app to some BT headphones - just checked and the alerts are turned on in the iPhone app

    No completion screen post run? I had the alert from my apple watch that I'd hit my active minute goal so not sure if that disrupted it or if it doesn't exist - not that big a deal but nice to have.

    I'll follow up after my next run in a couple of days.


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

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

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

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

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

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


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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Use Cyclemeter instead!

    I read @Anthony Bush's comment and gave Cyclemeter a go. It restores the tethered functionality and adds more features with a superior interface. Yes, there's a one-time $10 fee to get the Elite features (including the coveted ability to bidirectionally tether watch and phone), but no recurring subscription. It will upload your data, including heartrate (from watch), GPS (from phone), cadence/etc. (from devices) to Strava automatically.

    I have my history with Strava, so I imagine I'll keep using it for stats. But for recording and real-time views, ditching the justifiably-maligned Strava app seems to be the way to go for cyclists. No, I'm not a shill for Cyclemeter - I hadn't even heard of it before today.

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  • Since the 5.13.0 update, activities started on my Apple Watch (series 1) do not start on my iPhone. The update release notes simply say "bug fixes", when in actual fact you have completely redesigned the Apple Watch app and in the process, broken it.

    Before this update, I would start recording my run on my Apple Watch, which would automatically start recording on my phone. This means that I would get audio cues to my headphones from my phone and be able to glance at my watch for updates. I could also look at my phone for live segments and more detailed data, if I needed to. I could pause and restart the run from either my watch or my phone.

    After the update, If I start the activity on my Apple watch, it does not start on my phone. So I do not get audio cues to my headphones or live segments and activity data displayed on the phone (it just behaves like it's not recording).
    But If I start the activity on my phone no heart rate data is recorded and no information is displayed on my watch.

    This is crazy. It's a massive step backwards and have rendered my Apple Watch useless.

    Can you fix this so I can get audio cues AND record heart rate data like I did before the update?

    An option to keep the series 1 Apple Watch app teathered to the iPhone app is essential!

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  • I've never been so disappointed.

    Where are my audio cues through my headphones? This is really annoying and I will go back to Nike without these audio cues.

    Also, I used to like having the phone and the watch "synced" so that I could start it on my phone and tap it on my watch later. It Is the only way my original Apple Watch made it through my marathon.

    I'm REALLY disappointed in this app.

    This sums up my disappointment nicely:
    Bernard Fischer
    Tuesday at 19:02
    Does this version change the behavior of the phone app? It seems like it used to be when I'd start a run on the phone, the watch app would spring to life showing my stats. Now the phone and watch apps have nothing to do with each other.

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  • I love Strava. I am a Premium user.
    But. I am sorry to say that I hate the new Apple Watch app.


    - If using the Apple Watch I don't get spoken feedback (time/distance etc) from my iPhone anymore

    - The beacon function (a BIG reason to be Premium) is worthless. That only works when I use the Strava app on my phone (so not on my watch).

    - The summary (nice to have) with time, pace and small map is gone.

    This one is clearly made for the Apple Watch 2. For me, with my Apple Watch 1, it just fails.

    Please add an option to choose to use either with an Apple Watch 1 or 2.

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  • Basically, you broke everything for Apple Watch 1 users to cater to Apple Watch 2 users? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

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  • I can't use my wahoo cadence and speed sensors with AW2. Those sensors were sync with the iPhone and don't have the option to use standalone with AW2. Ok, maybe now it's not possible, but we need the option to use as past app version: start and watch with AW2 and record on the iPhone all parameters ( heart rate, speed, cadence, etc). The option of use standalone is good, but many people always use iPhone and need the record of all parameters. Maybe would select the options or blend the data of both devices ( AW2 and IPhone).
    Thanks in advance,

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  • @ Matt Kornegay do then please explain how someone is supposed to AVOID being a beta tester for Strava? When an update is released to the app store, when do I then apply it to ensure I am not considered a beta tester and it is a "production" update? If there was a notification that the update was considered beta, I would not have applied it. And the "golden rule" of beta testing is that you should be able to go back to the mainline production code, which we cannot. Your statement is completely inaccurate.

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  • Not a happy bunny :(

    I've been using the Strava watch app to start the recording of a ride activity. Which was great.

    I have my iPhone on a bike mount like nearly all other strava users to easily show Route, Cadence, Watts etc..

    Linked from other external devices i.e...Power meter and Cadence Sensors.

    Having the Apple watch was great as it allowed the HR to also be linked to the same activity and simultaneously 

    Show all this data on the iPhone while on a ride.

    Why on earth would a developer think that removing the linking of the display of this data for the activities be a good thing ?

    We are not all runners on Strava

    Some of us Cycle bikes !

    Please give us the option to display this data on the iphone again during an activity !

    Surly one of the main reasons of Strava is of simultanious Data Collection giving an athlete the option of what to do at a given moment during their activity.

    If only I could put the old version back on my apple watch.




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  • Strava, you need to act fast.

    Every single comment and criticism on here is true. I guess there's a lot of stressed people in your offices right now, so I sympathise. I also guess that at least one of the developers wasn't happy for this to be released, but ignored. Listen to that developer in future. Promote him/her. Have a word with your PR team – and whoever the hell wrote that iOS update description. Moving on..

    You really need to address the following, in no particular order and without any exclusions.

    • Watch app should be at least as fully functional on AW1 as it was previously. This really should go without saying. I'll end all AW1 stuff there, because realistically it'll never be a good sports tracker without the iPhone present.

    • AW2 app should utilise GPS on AW2. You've done this - kind of - so well done.

    • AW2 GPS co-ords need to be smoothed (or some other algorithm – this is your field of expertise!). Basically, no more zig-zagging around. This is so utterly crucial to your service and you've got it way wrong.

    • AW2 should have the option to mirror the iPhone app OR be self-contained. It should be smart enough to know when Strava is running on the iPhone, when a recording on the iPhone has started, etc.. and react accordingly.

    • AW2 app should show which bluetooth devices, if any, are connected and being recorded.

    • AW2 app should allow for more activity types. At the very least swimming.

    • AW2 app should give audio cues and taptic feedback. Options should be included to change the settings for this.

    • AW2 app should have a better (more detail) post-activity screen. Not necessarily as much as the iPhone app and certainly not as much as the website, but enough to provide food for thought before jumping in the shower. And much faster syncing to Strava.

    • Once the above is done, the AW1/2 apps should have a settings panel on the iPhone (within the Watch app) to control most of it.

    • Auto-pausing needs addressing. Auto-pause and subsequently auto-start.

    • As well as the fixes, there are plenty of 'default' features you could add (laps, intervals, etc.) and a little innovation would be welcome for us paying members who've stuck by you despite this blunder. i.e. give us a tap on the wrist when we're entering a segment we've starred - stuff like that. How about an optional tap every x minutes to remind us to hydrate? Win us over again Strava :)

    I'd also like all records from the faulty GPS to be flagged/wiped from so nobody has false stats to live up to. Keep the activities but don't allow PRs, KOMs, QOMs, whathaveyou. Of course, users can do this themselves, but many won't.

    More than anything, I'd like more updates from your development team about their plans and progress. We really won't beta-test forever without knowing what our money is paying for.

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