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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    Recent updates: 

    - You can now record three additional activity types on the Strava app for Apple Watch: Indoor Runs, Hikes and Outdoor Walks.

    - We have plans to re-do the integration with the Apple Health app in 2018. This would fix the issue with duplicate data syncing from Strava to Health and enable activities such as swims to sync from Health to Strava. Stay tuned! 

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  • A few requests:

    1) Please read the stride rate (running cadence) from both the Apple Watch and iPhone (using the motion coprocessor).


    2) Please allow Premium users to send beacons from the Watch.


    3) Please keep querying GPS location as long as the app remains open, even before starting an activity. Using the Watch app, I often have to crop the start of my activity, which may be half a mile away.


    4) Give us the option to use the GPS from the Apple Watch Series 2 exclusively, even if we’re carrying our iPhone.

    The reason is some of us carry our phones in a belt/pouch/pocket, with things like magnets/clothing/our body creating interference with reception. The Watch, being on the wrist, has a much more reliable connection to the satellites. Also, I’d like to keep carrying my iPhone for the larger music library and audio cues.

    Apple Watch Series 2 has a large-enough battery that, starting from full, it can easily accommodate a half-marathon using its builtin GPS. You could even add a fallback so that if the battery drops below eg. 20%, it will switch over to the iPhone’s GPS.


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  • Thanks Elle, for letting us know about the release. I was a beta tester,(which I appreciated!) and assume the new release is the same as the released version. 

    That being said, the first mile of every beta version that I tested consistently gave me a faster pace than I ran (I ran with a Garmin watch on the other arm) EVERY single time. Because of this and possibly the way that Strava calculates moving time, I have PR's every time I run, which I know is not accurate.

    I also notice that the auto pause is slow to reactivate after stopping. I think you have to run, not walk to get it to kick back in. 

    I know there are several features that are not quite available yet like mile marker notifications. I appreciate Strava's hard work on the app and look forward to the improvements that are to come.

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  • Thanks Elle, Watch complication support would be nice. Going for a longish run tomorrow and will get back with my initial thoughts.

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  • That might tied to reason #3 in my post above. That’s been an issue since Strava has had an Apple Watch app. The app doesn’t reliably query the GPS until you start the activity, at which point it gets a very rough estimate of your location. This causes a super fast first mile every single time.

    The way I fix this is to load the Strava app on my iPhone, make sure it’s got a location lock, and THEN start the activity on my Watch. Needless to say, that defeats much of the purpose of using a Watch app to begin with.

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  • Good news!! Let's hope it was worth the wait. Will try soon and feedback.

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  • Just been out on a 2 mile test run with both AW2 and TomTom Runner Watch both recorded about the same distance and about the same duration but the Strava app average time and splits were really way off.

    Strava 17:47 - Average Pace 8:31 - Distance 2 miles
    Split 1 8:25
    Split 2 8:32

    TomTom 17:49 - Average Pace 8:52 - Distance 2.01 miles
    Split 1 8:53
    Split 2 8:52

    Overall really happy with the Strava app. Early days, well done Strava for all the hard work that has gone into the Watch App.

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  • Thanks Elle..

    Just finished an after work bike ride and used the new Strava AW2 app to track it along with my Garmin 520. Just to be sure .. I left my phone at home. The Strava app tracked perfectly with the Garmin .. here is the Strava activity completed with the watch app. 

    I was pleased that the bike auto pause worked very well.  Will give it a try running tomorrow.



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  • Lack of nice shortcut on the clock face (maybe custom STRAVA clock face, its possible?)... App testing in progress... 

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  • Just gave it a try.  I was walking, not running.  The GPS is a bit all over the place, but then it is with Runkeeper as well.  I recorded on Strava going to my destination, and then Runkeeper coming back.  Note Strava said I went 1.7KM but Runkeeper says I only did 1.56.

    I didn't try auto pause yet, though looking forward to doing that on a run.  It is good that you can turn it off mid run if you like.   

    The major disappointment is the lack of configurability of the Metrics (unless I can't find how to do it?)  I prefer distance as my "big" metric, and then time, and then pace and heartrate as a smaller one.  With Runkeeper I can do this easily.  With Strava I'm stuck with pace as the "big" metric, which may well be what others are after, but not me.

    The other thing would be some kind of beeping/vibration for each Kilometre or 5 minutes of running, or, even better, the same voice announcements we get using the app.  If Nike can do that, then why not Strava?  

    I guess it's a good first effort but I'm looking forward to more features being added over time.  

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  • So How I can choose if I want to use the Apple Watch GPS or the iPhone GPS? Please add this option.

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  • 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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  • Just tried it on a short far so good!  Thank you!!

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  • Just completed a running workout with the updated app and an Apple Watch Series 2. Very pleased that Strava finally supports the watch's built-in GPS.
    However, I'm a bit disappointed that there doesn't appear to be a Lap functionality and if there is, the means of activating it are not obvious. Also, an alert every mile- like a tap from the Taptic Engine- would be nice. Finally, the summary of the workout is quite lacking. All that I found available for my run was the total time and distance- avg. heart rate and pace at a minimum should be available after you "finish" a workout.
    I did not notice any of the issues with initial GPS lock that other users have mentioned.

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  • One thing I would find useful for the app that I didnt notice was that, there is no notification of when you hit your automatic split (i.e. 1 mile) I would find it helpful if the watch would notify when that happens like when the Nike+ app voiceover tells you how far you have run. 

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  •  Great to have available for Apple Watch a few problems

    in auto pause would not start once running had to turn auto pause of

    heart rate indicated 69 beats the whole run

    would be great to see other activities ie open water swim

    be great to have another display with average pace as well as current pace


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

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


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

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  • Thanks for the heads up Elle.


    I still have the original (non-gps) Apple Watch. Has the new update solved the wobbly gps data problem (takes about 500m to lock on accurately) when using AW with iPhone?


    If so will give it another try,



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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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  • Ok. I've been looking forward to this and I know my expectations may be a bit high, but I figured the 3 month timeline was due to perfectionism from a company that makes a great product.

    So far, I am disappointed with this product.

    1. There is no metric customization (although the standard one is not bad)
    2. No mile/km notifications/Taptic (this one really bites! I can't do 1/2 mile interval training. Monitor splits during races. Looking at my wrist every 30 sec is not a reasonable option)
    3. No option of still using your phone for gps (I'm doing a 50k in two weeks that I would like to track. I was going to use my phone b/c of battery...but now I have to choose)
    4. No swimming option (tri season this spring!)
    5. Post run summary is so basic. Not even average pace. (I really liked the old one!)

    Outside of these options. The GPS did seem to work well and there was a quick phone sync and upload. The basics are there, but the end product sets the entire Strava ecosystem back.

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  • Just used the watch without the phone, no issues and the measurements appear to spot on

    I know this has already been mentioned, but I really need average pace, either as a notification with a mile/km markers or on   a separate screen. Get that right and it's perfect

    Thankoror on

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  • Thanks Ellie 

    Just tried it alongside a Garmin watch for comparison. There was a slight difference in the run length but nothing to get too worried about. The run matched up fine with previous outings on the same route.

    well done & thank you! 

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  • Please add watch face complication. Not sure why it was left out. Thanks 

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  • Congratulations to the Strava team! A great app and a great improvement the latest update! I'm very happy! good job!

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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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  • Thank Elle. I love to see that the aw2 support runs now. It was a great experience to run without the iphone and strava. My thanks go with a premium membership. 

    Everything runs good, and the built in gps of the apple watch does its job. There are three things, which should be optimized.

    1. The auto pause is very delayed and the dark modus in auto poause is difficult to read

    2. I miss the altitude, as it is in the nike app. If you compare with runkeeper, the altitude runs very good in this app.

    3. There is no language in the apple watch app.




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  • Went for a ride today with the updated Apple watch app. After saving the activity I was told to open ny iPhone to sync it. But it is still not visible on my phone.

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  • Hey Elle, 

    the new AW Strava app looks good so far. Very basic, but the pace calculation is very good and constant. A huge improvement over the Nike app. 

    Some minor things, that would be great in feature versions:

    • Taptic Engine, when auto pausing, starting/stopping and maybe every km/mile
    • Intervall training (distance, duration, maybe heart rate based)
    • complication for watch faces
    • customizable metrics
    • Heart rate alerts
    • and of course swimming

    I know these things need time, but maybe one or two of them will be included this year. It would be amazing! :) 


    All in all I am very happy, that I don't have to use the Nike running app anymore! Thanks you and the dev team a lot for your work! 

    Best wishes,


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  • Elle,

    Lots needed on the app. There is hardly no configuration. You can only see the distance in miles. What happened to tenths? You can only see your split times? Where is the current pace and avg. HR doesn't work properly. I'm trying to figure out why it took so long to create 2 screens with less than five bits of info on it? Times take forever to update and it inherently inaccurate. Thanks, but unless something drastically changes I don't see this as a bit useful. Bummed!!

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  • For me, the independent app is a complete fail!

    previously, I would start my ride with my Apple watch (version 1) and would be able to view all the data live on my iPhone which is mounted on my handlebars. At the end of the ride I would be able to view my HEART RATE, speed, power and CADENCE (from an external sensor) in the ride analysis.

    now the apps are separate and I am forced to either use my Apple Watch and have NO live data visible on my iPhone as I ride and NO cadence data from my external sensor or I use my iPhone and have NO heart rate data at all!!


    On a different note, I experience problems with strava actually detecting my heart rate on the Apple Watch! It can take up to 20 MINUTES sometimes! I can view my heart rate data on the Health app which it constantly collects throughout the day but when I use Strava there is a massive gap between its last reading (before starting Strava) and whenever Strava decided it wants take a reading!

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