Strava adds support for iPhone-free running & biking with GPS on Apple Watch Series 2

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited February 22
Via an update, Strava's signature fitness app now makes use of the GPS on the Apple Watch Series 2 -- allowing activity tracking without carrying an iPhone along, the developer has announced.




When installed on a Series 2, the app can track pace, speed, and distance without an iPhone's help, along with time and heart rate. While Strava already had Watch support, the app wasn't fully functional on watchOS without an iPhone carried in a pocket or armband.

Series 2 owners can enable the new functionality simply by updating the iPhone app.

Strava is one of the most popular fitness apps for Apple platforms, supporting distance-based activities like running and cycling. While providing stats, the app also places a heavy emphasis on mapping and social networking, including leaderboards.

Relatively few fitness apps have announced support for GPS on the Series 2, one example being Runkeeper. Another is Nike+ Run Club, which also comes pre-installed on the Apple Watch Nike+.

The latest version of Strava is a free download, but requires iOS 9.3 or later. Some functions -- namely coaching, live feedback, and more detailed post-workout analysis -- are locked behind a Strava Premium subscription, which costs $5.99 per month or $59.99 per year.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    Can any app developers help me understand why it would take 6 months to add this feature? It seems like it wouldn't be a huge transition to pull data from the watch GPS instead of the phone GPS.  

    As a side question does anyone have ideas as to why there is no Apple support for podcasts or audiobooks on the Apple Watch?  There's only one app so far that can do podcasts and it's a janky process.  

    I'd love to leave my phone at home when I run every day and not just on race day.  I thought that day would come with the Series 2, but it hasn't so far.


  • Reply 2 of 15

    As a side question does anyone have ideas as to why there is no Apple support for podcasts or audiobooks on the Apple Watch?  There's only one app so far that can do podcasts and it's a janky process.  

    I'd love to leave my phone at home when I run every day and not just on race day.  I thought that day would come with the Series 2, but it hasn't so far.


    I don't understand this, either. It seems trivial since you can sync music to your Apple Watch and listen without your phone nearby.
  • Reply 3 of 15
    Probably because podcast and audiobook apps are the kind of product Apple will very likely end up producing anyway, destroying, or at the least, severely limiting the market opportunity for third parties. So, want that kind of app on your watch, lobby Apple.
  • Reply 4 of 15
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 1,476member
    I would never consider going for a bike ride without my iPhone. Best safety device I own, this side of my helmet.
    khollarwreighvenGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 5 of 15
    cfccfc Posts: 12member
    Can any app developers help me understand why it would take 6 months to add this feature? It seems like it wouldn't be a huge transition to pull data from the watch GPS instead of the phone GPS.  



    The watch automatically uses its GPS receiver if the phone isn't present, so there is very little change needed by the developer to handle that.  

    My guess would be that the design of the watch app previously relied on the phone being present and doing some of processing.  This was quite a common approach because the first version of watchOS didn't even allow the app to run on the watch - most of the app had to run on the phone and pass data to the watch.  With watchOS 2 and 3 the app does run on the watch but not all of the functionality available in iOS is available in watchOS, so it is often still easier to leave some of the processing on the iPhone and send it to the watch.  Rewriting this functionality to run on the watch could be what has taken them so long.  It could have entailed a change to the fundamental architecture of the app from being split across the iPhone and the watch to running exclusively on the watch.

    However this is all just guesswork as I know nothing about the Strava app!
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 6 of 15
    Does the data from Strava workouts show up in Apple Activity app?
  • Reply 7 of 15
    Nike App is buggy as anything. My running works out have been stopping mid way through my runs. Pain in the neck. I have been using a tool to move my Nike workouts to Strava though, so the update to the Strava app is good. However I have a 34k run in the mountains in 2 days..... so might use Run Keeper for now until Strava bugs are ironed out. There is no phone reception where I run, I'm relying 100% on the watch GPS to record all my activity.
  • Reply 8 of 15
    Can any app developers help me understand why it would take 6 months to add this feature? It seems like it wouldn't be a huge transition to pull data from the watch GPS instead of the phone GPS.  

    As a side question does anyone have ideas as to why there is no Apple support for podcasts or audiobooks on the Apple Watch?  There's only one app so far that can do podcasts and it's a janky process.  

    I'd love to leave my phone at home when I run every day and not just on race day.  I thought that day would come with the Series 2, but it hasn't so far.


    I'm with you on this. I used Strava for ages and ended up giving it up for running because I couldn't leave my phone at home when going for a run. I can't believe it took them this long to launch GPS.
  • Reply 9 of 15
    stevo-nz said:
    Nike App is buggy as anything. My running works out have been stopping mid way through my runs. Pain in the neck. I have been using a tool to move my Nike workouts to Strava though, so the update to the Strava app is good. However I have a 34k run in the mountains in 2 days..... so might use Run Keeper for now until Strava bugs are ironed out. There is no phone reception where I run, I'm relying 100% on the watch GPS to record all my activity.


    Are you having problems when you run without the iPhone and only the Watch? I use the Nike Run App and haven't had problems with it.

    I use the app on the watch(which in the latest versions runs independent of the phone app), but carry my phone anyway.

  • Reply 10 of 15
    eightzero said:
    I would never consider going for a bike ride without my iPhone. Best safety device I own, this side of my helmet.
    That is actually WHY I bought my first IPhone.   I had been using a Samsung hybrid that combined a cell phone with a PDA and had web browsing -- but it didn't have maps.    Being out on a trail somewhere, I couldn't even call for help because I couldn't tell them where I was.
  • Reply 11 of 15
    cfc said:
    Can any app developers help me understand why it would take 6 months to add this feature? It seems like it wouldn't be a huge transition to pull data from the watch GPS instead of the phone GPS.  



    The watch automatically uses its GPS receiver if the phone isn't present, so there is very little change needed by the developer to handle that.  

    My guess would be that the design of the watch app previously relied on the phone being present and doing some of processing.  This was quite a common approach because the first version of watchOS didn't even allow the app to run on the watch - most of the app had to run on the phone and pass data to the watch.  With watchOS 2 and 3 the app does run on the watch but not all of the functionality available in iOS is available in watchOS, so it is often still easier to leave some of the processing on the iPhone and send it to the watch.  Rewriting this functionality to run on the watch could be what has taken them so long.  It could have entailed a change to the fundamental architecture of the app from being split across the iPhone and the watch to running exclusively on the watch.

    However this is all just guesswork as I know nothing about the Strava app!
    I think that is probably a pretty accurate guess!
    cfc
  • Reply 12 of 15
    Does the data from Strava workouts show up in Apple Activity app?
    Probably....  I use ICardio (aka DigiFit) and my runs and bike rides do show up automatically on the Activity app.   Interestingly, the bars on the graph even show up in a difference color for the activity data that came from ICardio.
  • Reply 13 of 15
    stevo-nz said:
    Nike App is buggy as anything. My running works out have been stopping mid way through my runs. Pain in the neck. I have been using a tool to move my Nike workouts to Strava though, so the update to the Strava app is good. However I have a 34k run in the mountains in 2 days..... so might use Run Keeper for now until Strava bugs are ironed out. There is no phone reception where I run, I'm relying 100% on the watch GPS to record all my activity.
    I was having the same problem -- it started in the fall and got worse during the winter when I started wearing a jacket.  
    Then I realized it was my sleeve (or something) hitting the watch.   I solved the problem by "locking" it after I start it running:  (Swipe left and tap the lock button at the top of the screen).   Apple suggests that this is for other purposes -- but it means you have to turn the watch dial before stopping a workout -- so it solves the sleeve problem as well.
  • Reply 14 of 15
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 1,476member
    eightzero said:
    I would never consider going for a bike ride without my iPhone. Best safety device I own, this side of my helmet.
    That is actually WHY I bought my first IPhone.   I had been using a Samsung hybrid that combined a cell phone with a PDA and had web browsing -- but it didn't have maps.    Being out on a trail somewhere, I couldn't even call for help because I couldn't tell them where I was.
    I've been assaulted by drivers. Fortunately never anything serious, but when you take their picture and a pic of the license plate, often the shenanigans desist.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 15 of 15
    eightzero said:
    eightzero said:
    I would never consider going for a bike ride without my iPhone. Best safety device I own, this side of my helmet.
    That is actually WHY I bought my first IPhone.   I had been using a Samsung hybrid that combined a cell phone with a PDA and had web browsing -- but it didn't have maps.    Being out on a trail somewhere, I couldn't even call for help because I couldn't tell them where I was.
    I've been assaulted by drivers. Fortunately never anything serious, but when you take their picture and a pic of the license plate, often the shenanigans desist.
    I LIKE that!

    I wish that Steve Jobs could come back for even just a day to see all the things his creation created!  
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