Apple Watch S2 GPS Workout Question

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by Macaddict16, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. Macaddict16 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    #1
    For those of you that have received your Apple Watch S2 already, I was wondering if your phone had to be disconnected for you to set up the Apple Watch to use it's built in GPS?

    For example:
    If I am at home and I leave my phone by the door and head outside to go for a run, if the Apple Watch is still in range of the iPhone will it try to use the iPhone GPS or will it intelligently use it's own after I leave the range of the iPhone? Or would a better option be to turn the iPhone into Airplane Mode before heading out?

    Thanks!
    Macaddict16
     
  2. XFactorer macrumors regular

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    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Eugene
    #2
    It'll use it's own GPS when iPhone isn't in range. When iPhone is in range, it uses iPhone's GPS to save watch battery life.
     
  3. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #3
    That is a great question. I is definitely worth the test to see if the watch does a clean hand-off from phone GPS to internal GPS. I could see a case where it loses some of the run, or just craps out entirely.
     
  4. igrover macrumors regular

    igrover

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    #4

    How about just turning off Bluetooth instead of putting the iPhone into airplane mode - that way you can disable communication between the watch and phone and still receive calls if necessary.
     
  5. Bob190 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    #5
    Doesn't seem to be a clean handoff. I tried a quick run and started with my phone in range and connected. It didn't track any distance since the phone as sitting still, but the strange part is that the map of the run showed in Workouts with a distance of 0. Admittedly, this was right after I took it out of the box (silver alum Series 2). Gave it another try and made sure I wasn't connected via Bluetooth and it worked fine .. tracked distance and showed the map.
     
  6. Macaddict16 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 7, 2002
    #6
    I was hoping it would be able to be a clean handoff between phone and watch. Having to turn off bluetooth to guarantee utilization of the watch GPS is very un-Apple like. There isn't a spot in the workouts that says use Watch GPS is there?
     
  7. Bob190 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    #7
    This may have been an anomaly. Started an outdoor walk within range of the phone, and it seemed to handoff fine this time. Distance was tracked accurately and the map appeared on the Activity app. I am thinking the issue may have been that GPS was not acquired by the watch the first time since it was right out of the box.
     
  8. TonnyJoost macrumors newbie

    TonnyJoost

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2016
    #8
    It failed today for me too, when taking the bike to the gym. I missed some 200 meters at the beginning of my ride? It showed my ride as if I went right through the roundabout too?
    --- Post Merged, Sep 17, 2016 ---
    I agree... There's no indication whether you have acquired a GPS fix or not
     

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  9. Bob190, Sep 17, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016

    Bob190 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    #9
    File Sep 17, 5 45 36 PM.jpeg

    Just went for another test run around a local hospital that has a multi-use path. Since the loop is about a mile, a ran past my truck at one point. My phone was sitting on the seat. As you can see by the attached, the watch lost GPS right when I got close enough to my phone in the truck near the red finish pin. Looks like it connected briefly, and then the watch picked up the GPS again. Also strange in that I was running about an 8:20/mile pace throughout the run, and at the point where I came into range of the phone it shows a 11:00/mile pace.

    This isn't good .. Apple needs to fix this. There should be a toggle for each of the workout types on the order of something like this..

    Always Use Watch
    Always Use Phone
    Use Phone if Connected

    I don't like seeing my pace messed up.

    As a workaround for now I am going to disable Bluetooth on the phone before I run. That's kind of a hassle that shouldn't be necessary.
     
  10. TonnyJoost, Sep 17, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016

    TonnyJoost macrumors newbie

    TonnyJoost

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    Sep 16, 2016
    #10
    Yeah, but I think it's an known issue with connected devices. Same misterious start - the route has been messed up at the beginning? I didn't run to the left at the beginning - but to the road?

    I played around with the Samsung Gear Fit 2 before my AW2 arrived. It does exactly the same thing when I'm close to my android phone or wifi network at home before running - the tethered connection messes up my GPS fix, and sometimes I'm missing 100-200 meters of my run.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Bob190 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    #11
    The thing is that the Series 2 can be an amazing running watch once the bugs are worked out and some good 3rd party software is available. It is incredibly light, provides you with music, the screen is now incredibly easy to see even in direct sunlight. The watch is now super responsive, so almost no lag when when raising your wrist to view stats.

    As an early adopter .. I will certainly put up with having to use a few workarounds .. but I am excited about the future of the watch especially once Runmeter and iSmoothRun have versions compatible with the watches GPS.
     
  12. TonnyJoost macrumors newbie

    TonnyJoost

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    Sep 16, 2016
    #12
    Ditto - I'm counting on Runkeeper for that...
     
  13. xcrunner macrumors regular

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    Dec 17, 2007
    #13
    Pound their feedback form with the issue, maybe file a radar (I have gotten responses from them before!).
     
  14. Brad Smith macrumors regular

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    Oct 13, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    #14
    I'm going to try to test this out tonight. I referee soccer, and I'm trying to use my Series 2 as one of my watches for tracking time (and activity) during the match. Usually my phone is in my bag at the halfway line along one of the touchlines, so during a match the watch usually is constantly connecting and disconnecting. I'm guessing the GPS won't work properly unless I turn off bluetooth on the phone for the duration of the match. Added benefit is I really don't want any phone notifications on during the match anyway!
     
  15. Macaddict16 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 7, 2002
    #15
    Let us know how it goes!
     
  16. purpleparrotuk macrumors 6502

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    Jun 26, 2010
    #16
    Does anyone know what the red, yellow and green parts are on a route? Is it your speed?
     
  17. TonnyJoost macrumors newbie

    TonnyJoost

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2016
    #17
    Jep it's your speed shown in colors.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 30, 2016 ---
    I would put the phone in flymode or turn of the Bluetooth.
     
  18. Macaddict16 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 7, 2002
    #18
    You are correct. I like the routes, but I wish it had more info on them. Mile markers, elevation, etc.
     
  19. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

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    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #19
    Not much chance of elevation since this would require your iPhone unless Apple mysteriously enables the barometer.
     
  20. Bob190 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    #20
    Looks like we finally have a 3rd party app that utilizes the integrated GPS. The app from Pear sports has been updated and now let's you run without the phone using GPS. It also syncs to Strava with map and elevation data and gives configurable audio feedback while running.

    Unfortunately, Pear is a subscription service but there is a 30-day trial.

    I tried it this morning and it seemed to work well.
     
  21. Macaddict16 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Oct 7, 2002
    #21
    It could also use elevation based on the map when it reconnects to the phone. Not as accurate as a barometer, but would be closer than nothing.
     
  22. Brad Smith macrumors regular

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    Oct 13, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    #22
    So I didn't try it with it connected to the phone, but simply turned off Bluetooth on the phone and ran the match that way. The watch was connected to a Wahoo Tickr X for heart rate.

    I was an AR on this match, so my stomping ground was limited to the touch line. The GPS tracked for the whole match with no apparent issues. Running back and forth in a straight line always yields some interesting GPS tracks. The watch seemed similar to my old Garmin Forerunner's track, but slightly more erratic. I would say it's not quite as precise as a dedicated fitness/GPS watch.

    As for battery, I ran about a 15-20 minute warmup workout, and two halfs as separate workouts — one 46 minutes and one 47 minutes. All told, it was just under 2 hours of GPS tracking. The battery on my 38mm watch went down by 36%. This seems almost exactly in line with Apple's 5 hours of GPS use estimates.

    One final note... since it was not connected to the phone when any of these workouts started, it doesn't pull in weather conditions. I'd love it if it were able to do that after the run when it syncs back to the phone.

    Overall, I'm pretty happy with how that worked. My next match I will keep Bluetooth on on the phone and see what happens.
     
  23. Brad Smith macrumors regular

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    Oct 13, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    #23
    So I've run more matches without turning off Bluetooth and it does appear to rely on the watch GPS a lot, though it's tough to really see if there are any gaps with all the overlaps on the soccer field. I'll keep testing, but my experience makes me think it was smart enough to know I was moving and the phone was stationary and thus prioritized the watch GPS.
     

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