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Tuesday Chat with Team Strava - Commonly asked questions about Apple Watch integration

Moderator Moderator

Hello and welcome to Tuesday Chat with Team Strava!

Strava integrates with a wide range of devices and platforms.  Today we're going to talk about the Strava/Apple Watch integration and share some commonly asked questions.

You can record and upload activities from your Apple Watch to Strava one of two ways: using the Strava watch app or the native Apple Fitness app

AppleWatchGraphic3 (1).png

With the Strava watch app, activities are synced directly to the Strava mobile app on your phone. Using Apple Fitness, activities are stored in Apple Health and synced to Strava once a connection between the two apps has been established. 

3rd party activities (from Zwift, for example) uploaded to Strava can be synced to Apple Health, however 3rd party activities synced to Apple Health will not be available for import to Strava. 

If you are using the Strava watch app and have a Strava subscription, you will have access to Beacon functionality, which when enabled will automatically send a text to your chosen safety contact during your activity.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • I want to record using my Strava mobile app for routing and my Apple Watch for heart rate, is this possible?
    • No, the mobile app and watch app operate independently and the watch cannot be paired to your phone as an external heart rate sensor.
    • If you’d like to record activities with heart rate, please use the Strava watch app or the native Apple Fitness app.

  • I saved my activity on the Strava watch app but it is listed on my watch as ‘un-synced’ and is not appearing in my Strava feed?
    • The watch app can only upload activities once it is in range of your mobile device and connected via bluetooth.
    • Please ensure that you are in an area with sufficient cellular/data reception and that bluetooth is enabled on both devices.

If the activity is still not appearing in your feed, please record a short test activity and save it to see if that helps push through the missing upload.

  • I saved my activity on the Strava watch app but it is not showing as ‘un-synced’ and is not appearing in my Strava feed?
    • There could be several reasons for this issue. It is possible the watch was unable to record sufficient data during your activity or there were errors in processing. 
    • This may also occur when the watch can write neither GPS nor heart rate data to the file during the recording process.
    • Verify permissions are enabled via: Settings app > Health > Data Access & Devices > Strava. Heart Rate should have a green toggle to indicate that we are allowed to read this data. 
    • If you are still having issues please submit a support ticket so that our team can investigate this for you.
  • I’ve synced my activity from Apple Fitness but there is no map or GPS data displayed on my upload?
    • This may be due to missing permissions for reading and writing routes.
    • Verify this via: Settings iOS app > Health > Data Access & Devices > Strava (Please make sure that Strava has access to read/write Workout Routes)Screen Shot 2023-04-11 at 12.05.29 PM.png
    • You can toggle this setting off and on. Please note that once toggled back on only new activities will display GPS/map data as intended, we cannot add in this missing data for historical uploads.
  • I’ve recorded an activity using the Strava watch app but it shows zero distance on the upload?
    • You may need to grant Motion & Fitness permissions to Strava


    • On your iPhone go to the general settings: Settings -> Privacy -> Motion & Fitness -> Fitness Tracking
    • If the setting is already enabled, please try toggling it off and on again.


  • I’ve recorded and saved an activity using the Strava watch app but I was in an area with low or no cellular/data reception and/or did not have access to my mobile device and now it doesn’t display on my profile?
    • Please note that if you did not have sufficient reception during the time of saving the activity, that will cause issues with syncing once saved.
    • Try and force quit both the Strava watch app and the app on your mobile device.
    • Press and hold the side button on your watch until the shutdown screen appears, and then press and hold the digital crown until the app closes. You must be in the app to force it to close.

This should force a sync of any missing activities.

  • I’ve recorded a running activity using the Apple Fitness app and synced it to Strava, but am not seeing cadence or power? 
    • Strava does not support running cadence and power metrics from Apple Fitness at this time and those will not be present on the upload. 
    • If you’d like to see cadence and power for your running activities, your best bet is to utilize an external sensor like Stryd’s footpod. 
  • I am trying to set up Strava on my watch and keep receiving a prompt to complete the process on my mobile device but no further options appear?
    • This can occur when your device tokens are mismatched.
    • Option One: First, force close Strava on both your watch and phone. 
    • Access Motion & Fitness settings on your watch and toggle Strava off, then on  MandF2.png

    • Open Strava on your watch, followed by your phone.
    • Complete the installation steps as intended.
    •  Option Two: Use the Watch app located on your iPhone to force an uninstall of the Strava Watch app. Note that it may take some time for the app to be fully uninstalled from the Watch face.
    • Next, uninstall the Strava app from your mobile device. Make sure to force close all other apps on your device.
    • Restart both the watch and mobile device, then re-download the Strava app and ensure you are logged in to your account.
    • Confirm the Strava app has been re-downloaded on the watch, then unlock your phone and load the Strava app on the watch. 
    • The installation prompts should then work as intended.
  • I’ve enabled permissions for my Apple Watch and granted Strava access to my health data but my uploads are not displaying heart rate?
    • Verify if you’ve granted permissions for Strava to access heart rate on the watch by opening your phone and going to Settings > Health > Data Access & Devices > Strava.
    • Under ‘Allow Strava to Read’ you will see the following options, ‘Heart Rate’ should be toggled on:



  • I have old activities stored in Apple Health from before Strava, can I sync this data to my account?
    • Only the past 30 days of activities can be synced from Apple Health to Strava.

If you have an Apple Watch/Strava related question that we haven’t covered in our FAQ, feel free to drop us a reply to this post and we’ll do our best to help you out.  Or, if you’re currently using an Apple Watch with Strava and would like to share your experience, we would love to hear from you!

Jane (she/her)
STRAVA | Community Hub Team


Mt. Kenya

Hi, why are my strava and Apple Watch pace different? I ran with someone else and their strava matches their Apple watch, which also matches with my Apple Watch. But my strava is showing 30 seconds pace faster. 

I used the native Apple Watch fitness workout and then imported to strava 

Mt. Kenya

Hi Jane!


  • I have been a paying member since 2014
  • I have been using Strava with iOS devices (Apple Watches, iPhones) since 2014
  • 2020 I picked up trail running using Strava on my Apple Watch and iPhone

Current Pace Dropped from Apple Watch App

Starting in 2020 I used the current pace functionality of the Apple Watch app. Sometime after 2020, the current pace function while running was dropped from the Apple Watch app. Because of this, and some other quirky things, I started using a secondary app to keep track of current pace.


  1. When and why was the current pace for running functionality dropped from the Apple Watch App?
  2. Is there any plan to bring this functionality back?

Thank you for the help! 😁

Mt. Kenya


How do i need to record my swim session with the apple watch? Do I need to record if by 'work-out' and will it then connect with strava? Because when I directly use strava on my watch in the pool i doesn't record the length (only duration and heartrate).

Thanks in advance

Hi @stefrogiers 

Thanks for posting about this and apologies for any confusion.  The Strava app for Apple Watch can record swimming activities but without GPS (distance and pace will not be reflected on the activity.)

Check our our blog article on recording Swim activities here

Jane (she/her)
STRAVA | Community Hub Team

Hey @Jane ,

Thanks for the quick response. Is there no other possibility that i can record the pace and distance in strava? I see other users use the apple watch and record everything on strava? Maybe they use the work-out programme from the watch and post this on strava? 

Mt. Kenya

Hi. I use Apple fitness on my watch for recording my runs and then sync them to Strava.

Why is different information showing in my Apple data compared to Strava data? Surely if Strava is getting the info direct from my watch it should be the same?

For example, this morning I set the pace on my watch to run 5k in 34:00. When I got to the end of my run I was pleased that I had done it in 33:59 and this is the time shown on Apple. However, Strava is showing 34:04 making it look like I just missed the pace set. Similarly, workout time is showing as 34:06 on Apple and 34:08 on Strava.

At no point have I used Strava until the end when I opened the app on my phone to sync with my watch, so why are the times different? 

Elevation gain was way out as well although I did manage to adjust that. 

Hi @Clevs 

Sorry for the differences you're noticing. These data discrepancies could either be a result of the way your file is formatted or the way your Apple Fitness is choosing to analyze the data.

To provide context, Garmin set the industry standard with FIT and TCX file formatting (read more here and here). We use Garmin's file formats in order to upload and analyze the data in your file. If your device/app isn't following these standards or if the company has made file formatting modifications to accommodate device or app specific features, then we may not be able to correctly parse the files. This could lead to differences in your activity stats when compared between platforms.

One thing you can try is to switch your distance stream:

In some situations you can change the distance that is shown for your activity. Changing the distance stream may also update the pace or duration of an activity. If your device created a distance stream using sensors such as a speed sensor, pedometer, or accelerometer, you can switch your distance on Strava to use GPS data rather than the generated distance stream.

To swap your distance stream:

  • Go to your activity page on the website (this feature is currently not accessible in our mobile apps)
  • From the activity page click on (◦◦◦) the more options menu > Correct Distance.
  • From the pop-up, click "Correct Distance".
  • When the status changes from "Calculating" to "Updated," refresh the page.

If you would like to revert the change, you can click the same link and click "Revert Distance".

For more information, see our article on How distance is calculated for your activity

Jane (she/her)
STRAVA | Community Hub Team

Thank you! The technical stuff is a bit over my head but I understand the jist of your explanation!

Mt. Kenya

Apple has now opened third party access to the action button for Apple Watch Ultra. It would be nice to have native integration for starting a strava activity instead of having to map to a shortcut.