Synchronizing running data with Apple Watch and Garmin

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by PatrickNSF, Jan 20, 2016.

  1. PatrickNSF macrumors 6502

    PatrickNSF

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    #1
    Has anyone come up with a way to synchronize data between the Apple Watch and a Garmin GPS watch? I'd like either the Activity app or Garmin Connect to store daily activity, including runs with the Garmin and daily steps with the Apple Watch. I've been wearing a Garmin 235 (with activity and sleep tracking) and it's been great being able to see the entire day's activity in one app.

    I've tried running with the Apple Watch but it's mediocre for that, at best. But during the rest of the day I prefer it to the Garmin. Thanks for any suggestions.
     
  2. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #2
    I wear my AW during the day and run with my Garmin 225 and have the same issue.

    The Activity App on the AW is considered by Apple to be a discrete tracking device, and as such, it does not update with activity recorded from other devices, including the iPhone. If you sync your Garmin with Garmin Connect on the phone (I'm not sure if it also happens if you sync via usb on a computer) your steps and total miles are added to the Health App (so long as you have granted Garmin permission). Unfortunately the Health App does not currently provide a very good view of your data, but it should all be aggregated there for you. So far as I know there is no straightforward way to bring 3rd party data into Garmin's software.

    Unfortunately we're in a position right now where the AW isn't a great fitness watch, and the best fitness watches aren't very good general purpose watches. I'm waiting a couple of months longer to see what else might come out, but have been thinking of replacing my 225 with the 235, but would be in the same boat as you - unable to really aggregate all my data into a single dataset that is easy to use. All of my run data goes to Strava because they are hardware agnostic - but they don't deal in activity and sleep data.
     
  3. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #3
    Garmin Connect uses industry standard TCX and GPX files. The :apple:Watch has no way of exporting this type of file (or any other). For me I run (and do all cardio) with my Garmin and my :apple:Watch (this is why mother nature gave us 2 wrists;)). I consider Garmin/Connect as my 'official' run/cardio records and use my :apple:Watch as my over all health/fitness tracker.
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #4
    Apple has no facility to import/export its data and I don't think there's an app that will allow this.

    Just wear both watches if you want both to capture your runs.
     
  5. Bob190 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    #5
    This app will allow you to export runs recorded with the AW workout app as a .TCX file to import to GC or Strava.

    www.spectarun.com

    Downside is that you have to do it thru iTunes and sadly the developer appears to have abandoned it as no updates have been made since it was released. Additionally, the Wahoo RunFit app will allow you to run without carrying your phone, and export pretty much anywhere. It also updates your Activity stats on the phone. Sadly again .. it is very buggy.
     
  6. PatrickNSF thread starter macrumors 6502

    PatrickNSF

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    #6
    Thanks for the replies.

    I sold my 620 and "downgraded" to the 235 at the end of last year and I've been pretty pleased. The notifications are better than I expected, though not as good as the AW's. Not having to wear the HRM strap is terrific, which is one of the reasons I bought the Apple Watch on Day 1 (before coming to the conclusion that it's a terrible running watch). I've worn the 235 as my daily watch for about 3 or 4 weeks while considering whether to sell the AW and I'm tempted. It's really nice having all of your health data (runs, steps, sleep tracking) stored in one app and with web access.

    I've tried that but it's not really an option for me, especially when I'm marathon training. Also, it looks ridiculous ;-)

    I'll just wait it out and see if the software improves or if someone comes up with a better system.
     
  7. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #7
    I do it, and personally, I'm not worried what other think as I wear two devices ;)
     
  8. Bob190 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    #8
    I wear a Garmin 225 and the AW also when I run. Not really concerned how it looks personally. Use the AW to track my steps and as an iPod. As a Apple Music member, the AW is great for playing a playlist downloaded from Apple Music.
     
  9. PatrickNSF thread starter macrumors 6502

    PatrickNSF

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    #9
    Ha! I guess given how I look when I'm seriously training whether I'm wearing two watches should be the last of my worries ;-)

    But it's more of a comfort issue for me.
     
  10. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #10
    Ditto, and I'm training for a half iron. I wear two watches all the time just to have the rings on my AW. The only bummer is that there is no way to get swims into the AW.

    I have found that Fitbit is the best all around package for health, wellness, and activity analysis in my world. I have my Garmin activities sync into FB, I bought a FB scale last week, and I have the FB app on my phone getting steps from my phone's motion sensor. The AW is really just an outside novelty toy ignorant of this universe of health and wellness going on around it. I wish that the AW could offer something even remotely comparable to FB, but I do not see that coming for a very long time, if ever. (I like my AW, but it is borderline useless for activity and fitness, compared to everything else on the market.)
     
  11. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #11
    If you wear both watches, does your mileage get double-counted in the Apple Health app? (As I stated above, if you give Garmin access to Apple Health, it will report mileage and steps logged when wearing their devices).
     
  12. nicho macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #12
    in short, no. same as watch vs phone.

    health will pick one of the sources in order of priority in the "source" list. if there's nothing from that source, it'll go to the next one and so on. the data will be in healthkit, but ignored if necessary.
     
  13. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #13
    I use a FitBit Surge, and that doesn't have any integration with the health app.
     
  14. xcrunner macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    #14
    Why not just run with one of the apps...for example iSmoothRun just went native for the AW and it syncs with lots of services, including Garmin Connect. The data would be shown in AW as a workout, but you'd get all your data. Or Runkeeper, Strava, etc. and the syncing that Garmin provides.
     
  15. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

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    May 20, 2015
    #15
    My experience is that the apps are not ready for prime time yet. Strava and Runkeeper both crash frequently. Last week, I couldn't even get RK to work until I removed and re-added it to the AW. And RK, at least, does not record the workout to AW. And the phone GPS with the running apps is neither as accurate nor as reliable as a Garmin running watch.
     
  16. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #16
    Strava has been pretty reliable for me, with the exception that sometimes the watch doesn't recognize that I've ended the run, even though the iPhone app shows that it has been ended. The two big issues I have at the moment (well, besides the fact that I have to also carry my phone) is that the screen does not update in the background, so every time I want a glance at some information, I have to wait a couple of seconds for the data to update - even longer for HR information - and that HR info is not accurate enough and not updated enough. I often run with just the HR screen on my Garmin which updates constantly and is available immediately at a glance - and can be programmed to alert you for exceeding a given threshold.
     
  17. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

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    May 20, 2015
    #17
    Ditto. I have the same problem with RK. It takes the screen a few seconds to update, which feels like an eternity while running. The mystery is that HR and other data seem to be real-time up-to-date with the Workout app. So, RK (and Stava) are not taking advantage of something that the Workout app is doing.
     
  18. PatrickNSF thread starter macrumors 6502

    PatrickNSF

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    Jan 24, 2011
    #18
    When I've run with AW, I've used iSmoothRun as it's the best of the bunch. And I used it when I started running 4 or 5 years ago before buying my first Garmin.

    But the apps aren't really close to good enough compared to running with a proper GPS watch. Apart from relying on the phone for GPS (which I'm fine with), there's too much of a delay in the info coming over from the phone to the screen. And too much of a delay in getting any kind of screen readout. WatchOS 2 didn't really fix this. I also find the touchscreen not ideal for a running watch, and the display is difficult to read in full sun. The more I've run with AW, the less I've liked it.

    If I was trying to pack light for vacation and wanted to make the AW work for casual runs, it'd be OK. But once you're used to a proper running watch – especially if you're training doing speed or interval work – the AW doesn't come close to cutting it.
     
  19. xcrunner macrumors regular

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    Dec 17, 2007
    #19
    Not true. However, you may need to turn of Wifi to force it to always use GPS. I get correct results that way.
     
  20. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

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    May 20, 2015
    #20
    DCRainmaker is awesome, and I love his reviews. And I had read that particular review. However, that article is way out of date. That is a 2011 article with some very old technology by today's standards. Also, he has a very small test data set versus dozens of runs and accuracy over time.

    I have hundreds of runs with a relatively current Garmin 910XT. A 5.07 mile run has a standard deviation of less than 0.01 miles. That is pretty freaking awesome. The SD of Runkeepr is more on the order of 0.07 miles. And, Runkeeper occasionally records distances significantly out of bounds where the Garmin never does (or like once per year). DCRainmaker's test scenario would not have caught that type of consistency and reliability problem.
     
  21. xcrunner macrumors regular

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    Dec 17, 2007
    #21
    Did you do these tests with Wifi off? Also, Runkeeper I don't believe samples as much...I think an app like iSmoothRun mentioned would be more accurate.
     
  22. PatrickNSF thread starter macrumors 6502

    PatrickNSF

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    #22
    At the risk of moving the thread back to topic, all I was looking for was to see if someone found a way to incorporate their Garmin running activity into the AW Workout app, or get AW step data into Garmin. For my purposes, the AW is a mediocre running watch (at best) regardless of how accurate the GPS is or what app it's running.
     
  23. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

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    May 20, 2015
    #23
    No, I did not turn off WiFi to test that scenario. First, I am not convinced that WiFi materially affects phone GPS accuracy, and second (and most important) the app and device need to meet me where I am-- I will not reconfigure my phone before and after every run; therefore an app that would require that is not viable. I used the apps as I would in everyday life, not in an artificial configuration that I would not repeat. Also, I have not run with iSmoothRun; I have run with Nike, Runkeeper, Strava, and a couple others I cannot remember.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 21, 2016 ---
    Getting back with you, no, as far as I have found, the AW Activity and iPhone Activity apps are one-way only. Neither will accept information from any other source. This adds to the "mediocre at best" position-- every other activity tracker I have ever seen allows bi-directional transmission of information, even if it must be manually entered somewhere. Apple apparently overlooked this as a requirement.
     
  24. PatrickNSF thread starter macrumors 6502

    PatrickNSF

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    Jan 24, 2011
    #24
    Agreed. But Garmin also is "closed" from what I've been able to determine, which is also what led to my question. I can't even get weight data from my Withings scale into Garmin Connect consistently anymore.
     
  25. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #25
    Garmin Connect will import industry standard TCX and GPX files.

    [​IMG]
     

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