Accuracy issues with Apple Watch Series 2

Hi,

 

I have had Apple watch series 2 for 3 months (and I used it every day for running avg 120km/week).  The Apple app to manage the various sport activities remain the best one and most accurate.  The Nike app (uniquely for the run) is OK altough sometime up to 10% inaccurate on distance and pace (I mean 10% especially when the pace is HOT like 3.30 - 3.40 mins / km.  I was much hoping in a good App developed by Strava and unfortunately at present this is not the case.  Strava app seems struggling to find a stable signal from GPS (when the other two mentioned Apps do it quite efficiently) and therefore all relative data is pretty much very very inaccurate.  Like this am run 6km easy and the Stava App was measuring just 1.9km.  I switched to Nike App and this is gonna be the end of my Strava app use until an update will be brought in (if ever) to fix those very macroscopic current problems.   Cmon Strava you can do it!! This is a very honest comment tried Strava over three days and basically it barely works to an unacceptable level.

Ciao Roberto 

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评论

  • Same as Aziz said. Set my iPhone 6S to Airplane mode before starting strava on the watch and it still misses the first part of my runs.

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  • Strava - would be useful to get a comment here.
    Also using Series 2 - trying to use it for road biking or MTB - in both attempts so far there's been a large straight line for a significant potion of the ride, so data being lost.
    Luckily also a Garmin aswell and just aswell.

    Strava - can you help?

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  • Have been in contact with the Strava Apple Watch 2 support guy over the last few weeks (via email) and still haven't been able to find a solid solution. Interestingly though, regarding the accuracy of the GPS he said:

    "The strava apple watch for the activity type of running uses pedometer data to calculate distance since the gps has proven to be quite poor on the apple watch. The gps function for a running activity is used for the path shown on a map and segments"

    Slightly concerned, I asked if the Strava Apple Watch app uses the watch's GPS at all to track / calculate distance, or if it relies solely on pedometer data, his response:

    "For running the strava apple watch app uses the pedometer to calculate distance."

    I'm not sure if he just didn't understand my question, or if the watch does indeed only use pedometer data to calculate distance; if the latter, that's pretty useless as my arm movements and stride length can change randomly depending on whether I'm running up / down a hill / tired etc.

    The other day, one of my runs tracked OK from the beginning for a change (looks like it finally managed to get a lock on my GPS location from the start); to force this, with my phone in Airplane mode, I started the watch app and did a couple of "fake" recordings first (pressed the start button and did a short 20 second walk in a circle, then stopped it, discarded it and repeated again). Then I started recording for a third time (for real), did my run, and it seems it had a proper lock on my GPS position. However, despite all that, it seems my overall distance was still over-estimated by 500m, I'm now wondering if this is because it was only ever estimating the distance from my pedometer data. 

    The search for accurate tracking continues...

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  • My sträva app on watch has missed off the first 2 mins of my last 2 runs. Very annoying especially as the 10k today I checked my watch at the end and the upload was 2 mins less. Perplexed as to how this has happened. I'll switch to nike run app and check that out. Perfect thread lets hope starve sort it soon

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  • Wow, I'm glad it's not just me who's having issues with Strava on the Apple Watch 2!!  I'm so disappointed because I hate running with my phone but almost everyone in my running club uses Strava to log their runs.  They need to fix this.  I guess I'll go back to Nike Run Club to see if that's better.  This morning I went for a run that I knew was around 3.2 miles and Strava said I only ran 2.8 miles.  I've also had issues with times loading up differently when exporting runs back to my iPhone.

    I find it interesting that someone farther up the thread was told that Strava on the Apple Watch 2 only uses the pedometer!  That would explain A LOT.

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  • Laurel Gaffney, I feel your frustration! I'm in the same boat; everyone in my running club uses Strava too, so I'm a bit reluctant to switch to another platform at the moment.

    Since the Strava Support Engineer told me that the watch app only uses pedometer data to track distance (not GPS) all the discrepancies I see in my matched runs now make complete sense - it really is a shame; it's even more of a disappointment to hear Strava say they have to do this because "the GPS has proven to be quite poor on the Apple Watch 2". Right now, I'm just not sure how the Strava watch app can be used as a serious running companion / distance tracker if it isn't even using GPS.

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  • I'm sorry, but the pedometer distance 'rumour' stated above is simply not correct. That only applies to the series 0/1 watches and not the series 2. Series 2 takes distance from GPS, however that is not to say that there are not issues.

    Most issues relate to the auto-pause functionality (it's effectively broken) as well as GPS lock notification. In the current version of the app, knowing when you have a GPS lock is unclear, meaning that if you don't have a lock, the time/distance is not recorded for the first X meters until a lock is established. This is the real issue rather than anything further up this thread.

    The recommended fix from Strava is to open the app for about 1-2 minutes before pressing start. Personally I don't see this as a real way forward as you still cannot know whether you really have a lock. It's also worth remembering that a GPS lock is also affected by buildings, trees and weather which can make establishing a lock more difficult.

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  • I Washington FBI Kong todo change me Apple Watch Series 1 forman Apple Watch Series 2 Nike in order to use it alone for my running but looking at all GPS accuracy problem I read in the post, I will hold a little bit my decision.

    someone tried to run using Apple Watch 2 and runtastic? Same gps problems?

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  • Like the experiences of others in this thread, I had a disappointing first experience. My Apple Watch Series 2 seemed to be working fine during the run, but the ending post was wildly inaccurate on two accounts.

    First, my start and stop point were the same, but the post seemed to show that I started later in the run. I'm unsure if I didn't wait long enough for the GPS or how that happened. How do you know when GPS is ready then?

    Second, during the run, the watch was reading the distance and pace. The pace seemed appropriate around 8min/mile during the run on the watch but ended up posting at a ridiculous 6min/mile. The post is also using moving time instead of elapsed time. I feel my post would have been much more accurate with elapsed time even though there are pros and cons.  

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  • Hi All,

     Had my Apple watch 2 for a few weeks & couldn't work out why my pace seemed down on my runs (previously used Wahoo running on Iphone then uploaded to Strava). Having exported all my Apple watch runs to .gpx to export to Training Peaks, I've also discovered that the .gpx data on every run show I have run between 500 - 700m more then is recorded on the watch, so it would appear that the data is being recorded correctly but not being read correctly by Strava.

    What is very interesting is that if you export your apple watch Strava run as a .gpx, then delete your run from Strava then import the .gpx back, you will magically see the correct distance / pace etc. Weird.

    To me, I don't think its the watch, I think it's the Strava watch app

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  • My wife and I did the 401 Challenge over the weekend culminating in the half marathon which we ran together. She is using a series 1 iWatch and the battery didn't last. As usual, my Strava App/iWatch Series 2 combination 'stole' some distance and showed me doing exactly 20km with a mins/km of 8:00. I downloaded the gpx file from my account and uploaded to my wife's so she would not lose the event altogether. It showed the distance up at 21.8km and the ave mins/km at 7:36 suggesting we didn't run it together at all. 

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  • Which to me again suggests the watch created an accurate .gpx file but the Strava watch / phone interface is screwy.

    As an aside, I ran a measured 10k today with auto pause disabled. Strava watch app recorded it as.......bang on 10k.

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  • i couldn't take not only the inaccuracy but also the inconsistency of the inaccuracies of the apple watch. 

    i switched to a garmin forerunner 935.  Now every run is spot on accurate and I have access to more statistics than i know what to do with.  Garmin connect integrates with many running apps, including strava and gps imports perfectly. 

    i am disappointed as i love the apple watch as a smart watch.  However I cant stand or accept inaccurate data when training.  

    Maybe the apple watch is ok for a casual runner who doesnt care bout having accurate data.  

     

     

     

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  • It's a real shame that Strava haven't done something about this, this has been going on for too long. There is an update to the Apple Watch 2 in a few weeks so I will hold on and see if the Strava app also updates. It's extremely frustrating when you go for a run and come home to look at your data to see it as inaccurate, it is not good enough from Strava, and it is not good enough for a premium product like Apple Watch. If the native run app on Apple Watch can give you accurate results, surely Strava can too. 

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  • I've been having similar issues. My pace is always incorrect during my runs (usually about a minute slower). Once I'm home, and the data is uploaded, the pace, segments, route, etc, are decently accurate.

    This feels very similar to the way the Nike app used to behave on my Series 2 Apple Watch when it first came out. After a few months Nike released an update, and since then their app has been very accurate during and after runs.

    Having done some minor WatchOS programming in the past, here's my wild guess as to what's going on:

    WatchOS 2 came out just before Apple introduced the Series 2 Apple Watch. WatchOS 2 added new APIs for developers to take advantage of the GPS chip in the new watches as well as changed the way watch apps are supposed interact with the data layer. But they tried to be as backwards compatible as possible. So the Strava watch app is getting some of the new GPS behavior for free, but what they really need to do is rewrite their app. But, since WatchOS 3 is releasing soon, they've deemed the current app "good enough" and decided to wait until those betas are available, so they don't have to rewrite their app twice. Which is not a terrible idea, it just sucks for current users.

    And if my rampant speculation is true, it'd be really cool of Strava to just tell us that. Here, let me show them how, "Hey awesome Strava users, sorry for the inaccuracy issues, we know it sucks, but we have limited dev resources, so we decided to wait to fix these issues along with our update for WatchOS3. We're thinking October. It's gonna be great, you're gonna love it! Thanks for your patience and being awesome, your Strava team".

    FYI, the Nike support team was silent on their accuracy issues until the day their update shipped too, so...fingers crossed.

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  • "I'm sorry, but the pedometer distance 'rumour' stated above is simply not correct. That only applies to the series 0/1 watches and not the series 2. Series 2 takes distance from GPS."

    I started this 'rumour' based on a response given to me from a Strava Support Engineer, please see the attached conversation below. As you can see, he states that the Strava Apple Watch app only uses pedometer data to calculate distance, and he knows I'm talking about the Apple Watch 2 (not the series 0 or 1 without GPS) because my original support question was regarding the Apple Watch 2 and how I'm not getting accurate start results when I leave my phone at home. He also states that the GPS has proven to be quite poor on 'the apple watch' - if he was talking about the series 0 or 1, these don't have GPS at all, so surely he wouldn't have made that comment? I'm not trying to confuse anyone here, just trying to help, and fair enough if something has got lost in translation here, but I'm just going on what I've been told.

    Anyway, for the Apple Watch 2, the workaround I've found for getting an accurate lock on GPS in the beginning, is to start a dummy activity first... so "Start" a workout, walk a few meters, then "Stop" and "Finish" the activity - if it says no movement detected (because it couldn't detect a change in location), then it hasn't found your GPS location yet, so "Resume" the activity and repeat until it detects something it allows you to save to the watch. Once you're at this point, it has found a lock on your GPS location, so "Discard" the dummy activity, then immediately start a new one (for real this time) and you should be good to go as soon as you press "Start". I also put my phone in airplane mode before I head out, so the watch doesn't try to piggyback off it's location while I'm outside and I also disable Auto-Pause on the watch. Not an ideal solution but this has been working for me.



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  • My Apple Watch 2 is only accurate on the track at the high school because the space is so open.  The rest of the time, the watch GPS and step tracker seem to be fighting g each other.  While it takes me about 1800 steps to walk a mile, the watch makes me take 2200 to 2600 step to credit one mile.  At times, the GPS and step tracker both seem to quit.  On a recent walk, I was at point 99 of a mile I walked 80 steps and was still at point 99.  I have lots of time that I can walk 40, 50, or even 60 steps and it will not credit .01 of a mile.  Tried Everything and nothing seems to help.

     

     

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  • Just please please please let us manually upload a file from Apple exercise tracking to Strava. I do not understand why Strava can have so many updates with so little results.  Your website allows us to upload Garmin files and files from other platforms.  Figure this out.

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  • I currently use a Garmin watch and Garmin Connect and Strava apps for running and cycling.  I'm SO excited about the new Apple 3 (always said I wouldn't get one until it had integrated cellular) watch that I've been researching everything i could. Found this thread and I am now soooo disappointed that a $400 watch plus monthly fees may be garbage for tracking my workouts :(

    If any one has updates now or in the near future about Series 3 I'd love to hear them

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  • I ran just now with my apple watch 2, just upgraded to watchos 4. My iPhone came along for the ride too. 

    Until this update the accuracy had been really poor, it made me look much faster than I really ran.

    With watchos 4 and ios 11 I now have really good accurate results, both in the Activity app and the Strava app. I ran 2.5km with Activity first, then 2.5 back same route with Strava to compare. Tomorrow I'll retest without the iPhone along, see how the watch manages alone.

    I think a critical thing to do is run with the phone alongside first to allow it to calibrate. I also think it only calibrates accurately if you go into Settings on the phone, choose "Privacy", then "Location Services", then scroll riiiiight down the bottom where there's a menu with no icon called "System Services" - go in there and make sure "Motion Calibration and Distance" is switched on.

    Having done all that, I now got great results for the first time with my apple watch - phew.

     

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  • Anyone have any updates with Apple Watch 3?  I'm hoping that perhaps the LTE version may help with the tracking.

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  • Here's an update for Apple Watch 3 without LTE.

    There are still issues with accuracy. I did a test run on a 900m running track.

    Data in Strava app on iPhone after syncing:

    First lap: 800m.
    Second lap: 800m.
    Third lap: 900m
    Fourth lap: 700m. 
    extra lap in the park: 1.1km? (should be 900m also)

    On the Strava website all segments (laps) are measured 900m long... but total distance and pace of my run is still wrong.

    I ran for over a year on this running track and in the park with a Polar M400 and laps always were 900m spot on.
    Next run I will try the workout app on the watch to see if results are more accurate.

     

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  • Hello, like everyone else here, my applewatch never record the first kilometer of my run. The only time it works is when i left my phone at home, I hope this will help

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  • Hello, very unhappy with the strava app on the apple watch series 2, i ran last night with apple watch on one hand and a garmin forerunner 25 on the other hand and the data totally out, Pace was 10 seconds/mile out, distance was out by 0.2 of a mile out and the time running was off by 45 seconds even when i started and ended them at the same time, both watches had auto pause off. I did this as my runs were always faster than the other lads in the running groupe even though we ran side by side, i wish i didnt buy the apple watch. Its not a system (Apple watch and apps) that can be trusted if you are working with a training plan, you think you are training at marathon pace but your actually not.

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  • David,

    Have you tried exporting the Strava run as a .gpx, deleting it from Strava then reimporting the the saved .gpx? It would be interesting to see if the data changes to something more similar to your Garmin.

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  • Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular user here, the GPS accuracy issues are still there with the new watch. I'm confident this is not a hardware issue though and solely a Strava App problem. Hoping for an update soon from Strava, it would make sense for them to at least acknowledge the problems and let users know something is coming soon. 

    On another note, exporting the .GPX data from an 'inaccurate run', deleting the run, then re-uploading the .GPX file to Strava seems to help fix at least some of the run metrics. My average pace changed from an unexpected 3:58/km, to much more expected and fitting 3.53/km, which was much more inline with the split information etc. Although moving time was still an anomaly. But this at least suggest the data is being somewhat accurately recorded by the watch.  

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  • You can use RunGap to share activities from Health to Strava or Garmin. If Strava is issuing problems to you, export to Garmin.

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  • A bit of defence for Strava on this one! 

    I've had the AW Series 2 for nearly a year and have done maybe 150 runs wearing both my older Garmin FR610 and the AW at the same time (with the AW running the native Apple Workout app usually and only occasionally the Strava AW app). My Garmin might not be totally perfect but by and large I think it's on the money. Over five years it's always felt right as the lap times correspond very well with my effort levels and feel. 

    My AW conclusions have been

    *If the native Apple Workout app is inaccurate on AW (which 80% of the time it is) then it seems very reasonable to give Strava the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up as an Apple hardware / GPS issue. Apple themselves can't build an app that records the run properly!!

    *So, as a running watch, AW2 is pretty much useless. I only wear it to capture the exercise as part of my overall full-day fitness tracking.

    *The first kilometre or mile is the main culprit, when the watch may not be connected GPS at all and simply uses your arm motion and other wifi signals to estimate distance (I believe?). But you get some funny leaps elsewhere sometimes too.

    *My personal experience is that I usually get a much more accurate result on the rare occasion I have my phone with me (I think the watch uses the phone's GPS chip when it is present which seems vastly superior to the watch's). 

    So all in all, while there might be things wrong with the Strava AW app, I think it's really unlikely that Strava are to blame for the fundamental failing of major GPS inaccuracy. 

    I am still amazed Apple have managed to keep this quiet. It's a major flaw with the watch! If I didn't like it for other reasons (and there are quite a few) then I would have ditched it by now. 

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  • OK, this morning at ParkRun I did a time of 21.38. When I finished the run, my watch face said 21.41, 3m - all good.

    When I sync the watch (Nike Apple 2) to the phone, it came up as 3m, but 19:55. So it's getting the distance but not the time. So there's not an issue with it missing part of the run... but also there is?

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  • After two years, I gave up on apple watch.  The inaccuracy got really bad this summer as my route has some streets that have heavy tree cover and lack of accurate stats was driving me up a wall.  I went to a gamin 935 and every run is now consistent and spot on. Cant say enough about gamin and incredibly disappointed that with all the resources apple has,, that they produce an accurate gps watch.  

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