Treb's Running/Sports Apps Reviews

Trebuin

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Original poster
Jun 3, 2008
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Hello all,
As I'm constantly training to run, I'm building this series of threads to actually break down how different apps interact with the watch with features such as on watch GPS, pace, audio cues, and display. I currently have the series 2 and am very close to returning it due to the lack of audio cues to help me pace and not knowing what apps actually use GPS vs motion sensors for distance.

definitions
Onboard audio cues: App can provide pace, heartrate, time, and other information without connection to the watch
Uses S2 GPS: short for uses the watch's built in GPS
***Note: if you use GPS, it will burn through your battery like a kid through candy***
If it's not listed next to the app, I don't have the answer yet.

no phone needed, but still testing:
Workout (included /w Apple Watch): Functions without phone connection; no onboard audio cues
Runkeeper: Functions without phone connection; no onboard audio cues; does not currently use S2 GPS, GPS start point can be significantly off until it gets locked on. Auto pause does not work.
No phone needed and still testing:
Nike+ RunClub: Can function without phone connection, does not have independent audio cues, gives only average pace, auto pause is currently not working correctly.
Pear - Personal fitness coach: audio cues works. According to their support, it uses "triangulation." I've had issues with my bluetooth headphones receiving the cues at times.

Currently does not function without phone connection-
MapMyRun:
Runtastic:
Running (aka Weightless):
RunGo:
5K Runmeter:
iSmoothRun Pro GPS: expect end of 2016
Starve Running and Cycling GPS: appears to load, but everything runs on the phone
Runtime:
Runmeter:

Haven't tested yet for anything:
RunGap
 
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Bob190

macrumors 6502
May 21, 2015
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The Pear Sports app uses the Series 2 GPS and gives audio feedback without the phone. The only caveat is the audio feedback stops music playback and you can only restart it from the music app. They say they are working on that.
 
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cmbauer

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Sep 27, 2016
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irunsmooth is an awesome app. Audio cues you can customize and a great app for the watch
 

Trebuin

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Jun 3, 2008
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I have use Runmeter for the last 5 or 6 years so am very interested in any progress here.
I'll encourage everyone to send the developers of their favorite apps a request for the features you want. Runkeeper responded to me saying they were caught off guard by the built in GPS but also loved the idea of an onboard audio cue so they forwarded that one. This thread will help show who has it first.
 

wx4olf

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Jun 15, 2010
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irunsmooth is an awesome app. Audio cues you can customize and a great app for the watch
Plus it's got a great workout builder function where you can build all kinds of interval workouts and then during the workout it tells you when to start/stop an interval, speed up/down, and other useful statistics. I do export all my workouts from irunsmooth to Strava for the social and logging aspects.
 

Trebuin

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Original poster
Jun 3, 2008
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Just use strava.
I finished with Strava and it does not work correctly without the phone connected.
[doublepost=1475690144][/doublepost]
irunsmooth is an awesome app. Audio cues you can customize and a great app for the watch
I also tried this iSmoothRun and it also needs the iPhone connected to start the run.

The first fully functional app is Pear Sports. I'm sure more will fix their support and if I keep this up, I will update them as applicable.
[doublepost=1475690682][/doublepost]
The Pear Sports app uses the Series 2 GPS and gives audio feedback without the phone. The only caveat is the audio feedback stops music playback and you can only restart it from the music app. They say they are working on that.
Thank you for bringing this up...this is the first app that I have seen with iPhone free audio cues!
 
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goat5570

macrumors member
Jul 9, 2008
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I finished with Strava and it does not work correctly without the phone connected.
[doublepost=1475690144][/doublepost]

I also tried this iSmoothRun and it also needs the iPhone connected to start the run.

The first fully functional app is Pear Sports. I'm sure more will fix their support and if I keep this up, I will update them as applicable.
[doublepost=1475690682][/doublepost]

Thank you for bringing this up...this is the first app that I have seen with iPhone free audio cues!
iSmoothrun said they hope to have the app working on the watch without the phone by the end of the year.
 

goat5570

macrumors member
Jul 9, 2008
39
5
I could use more recommendations if anyone has more. Looking for Watch GPS and Watch Audio cues.
I don't think an app that does both exists. May have audio clues, but I think only the workout app uses the GPS on the watch. Most other apps are working on it.
 

Macaddict16

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Oct 7, 2002
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I currently use Runkeeper to track all of my runs. Since I received my Series 2 AW though I have been tracking in the Workout App and then using RunGap to transfer it to Runkeeper. It doesn't pull many metrics over though and no map is brought over. Would love a GPS and Audio Cue from the watch that integrates with Runkeeper!
 

Bob190

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May 21, 2015
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According to their support, it does not utilize the GPS but rather hotspots. I've had issues with my bluetooth headphones receiving the cues at times.
I got this from one of the Pear support people too .. I find it hard (in fact impossible...) to believe since I have run in areas that would have no WIFI, but still had mapping with my Series 2 and no phone.

Another support person said it does use GPS. Here is their response to a question I had:

"Make sure you set your privacy settings to show "Always" show location for the PEAR app. That setting will allow the Apple Watch Series 2 to access the watch's GPS in stand alone mode and export it to the iPhone app when the workout is complete. If it is not set to "Always," then the watch will use steps to estimate distance, and may not be able to generate a map. If it does show a map, the data would be based on whatever information could be gathered from WiFi towers and hotspots."

So I think it does use the GPS if you have the Series 2 .. if not, than it uses other methods. As a aside, I tried it with my Series 0 and got no mapping.
 
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Trebuin

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Jun 3, 2008
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I got this from one of the Pear support people too .. I find it hard (in fact impossible...) to believe since I have run in areas that would have no WIFI, but still had mapping with my Series 2 and no phone.

Another support person said it does use GPS. Here is their response to a question I had:

"Make sure you set your privacy settings to show "Always" show location for the PEAR app. That setting will allow the Apple Watch Series 2 to access the watch's GPS in stand alone mode and export it to the iPhone app when the workout is complete. If it is not set to "Always," then the watch will use steps to estimate distance, and may not be able to generate a map. If it does show a map, the data would be based on whatever information could be gathered from WiFi towers and hotspots."

So I think it does use the GPS if you have the Series 2 .. if not, than it uses other methods. As a aside, I tried it with my Series 0 and got no mapping.
I'm going to do more digging because I actually think they do support GPS on the watch alone. I did a run Sunday at 2AM & cues didn't work. The start was off but after that, it shacked the track. I was also dodging sprinklers.
 

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Bob190

macrumors 6502
May 21, 2015
442
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I'm going to do more digging because I actually think they do support GPS on the watch alone. I did a run Sunday at 2AM & cues didn't work. The start was off but after that, it shacked the track. I was also dodging sprinklers.
The conspiracy theorist in me makes believe that they weren't supposed to release an app with Series 2 integrated GPS support just yet (per Apple prior to the big Nike Run Club update) and it somehow fell thru the cracks and now they are denying it has GPS.

But the realist in me just believes the support person was just clueless. It is most certainly using the Series 2 GPS. There is no way WIFI triangulation could produce tracking this accurate. If Pear Sports cracked the code, DARPA would be buying them out. This map is from the Pear app.

IMG_1085[1].PNG
 
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BlueMoon63

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Mar 30, 2015
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I believe the Nike + Watch was delayed so that Nike could get their integration to work and it will take advantage of the GPS without the phone. Just my gut.
 

Trebuin

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Original poster
Jun 3, 2008
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The conspiracy theorist in me makes believe that they weren't supposed to release an app with Series 2 integrated GPS support just yet (per Apple prior to the big Nike Run Club update) and it somehow fell thru the cracks and now they are denying it has GPS.

But the realist in me just believes the support person was just clueless. It is most certainly using the Series 2 GPS. There is no way WIFI triangulation could produce tracking this accurate. If Pear Sports cracked the code, DARPA would be buying them out. This map is from the Pear app.

View attachment 664788
Thanks for the map...There is no cell integration as it has no cell and I agree, wifi integration would only work if wifi is there...where I ran, there is no signal...it's the desert.

I didn't think about Apple strangling GPS to give Nike the launch edge so as of now, I will not list it as "triangulation" to help the company out...but of course, we both agree otherwise. Thanks again for that map.
 

avkam

macrumors regular
Jun 9, 2014
141
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Thanks for the map...There is no cell integration as it has no cell and I agree, wifi integration would only work if wifi is there...where I ran, there is no signal...it's the desert.

I didn't think about Apple strangling GPS to give Nike the launch edge so as of now, I will not list it as "triangulation" to help the company out...but of course, we both agree otherwise. Thanks again for that map.
Not a running app, but Gymaholic runs fine with Apple Watch only and shows heart rate during exercise. Syncs to iCloud. Great app for AW.
 

Trebuin

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Original poster
Jun 3, 2008
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Central Cali
Not a running app, but Gymaholic runs fine with Apple Watch only and shows heart rate during exercise. Syncs to iCloud. Great app for AW.
Thanks, I will look into some gym apps soon. Personally, I use "Reps & Sets" but that has no apple watch functionality
 

anthonymoody

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Aug 8, 2002
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The conspiracy theorist in me makes believe that they weren't supposed to release an app with Series 2 integrated GPS support just yet (per Apple prior to the big Nike Run Club update) and it somehow fell thru the cracks and now they are denying it has GPS.

But the realist in me just believes the support person was just clueless. It is most certainly using the Series 2 GPS. There is no way WIFI triangulation could produce tracking this accurate. If Pear Sports cracked the code, DARPA would be buying them out. This map is from the Pear app.

View attachment 664788
Not sure if you were part of the early OS3 beta threads, but there was quite a long one about location tracking *without* GPS with Apple Watch "series 0" i.e. the original Apple Watch. For the first two (or three?) betas of OS3, the original Apple Watch was fairly accurately tracking running, walking, and biking routes for users with the original Apple Watch. The little map would appear in the workout page in the Activity app once the data reached the phone.

Most speculated that it was wifi triangulation in conjunction with the various motion sensors. By beta 3 or 4 Apple removed it. But it is possible, and was exciting there for a moment for those with AW0 :)
 

Macaddict16

macrumors 6502
Oct 7, 2002
284
128
Not sure if you were part of the early OS3 beta threads, but there was quite a long one about location tracking *without* GPS with Apple Watch "series 0" i.e. the original Apple Watch. For the first two (or three?) betas of OS3, the original Apple Watch was fairly accurately tracking running, walking, and biking routes for users with the original Apple Watch. The little map would appear in the workout page in the Activity app once the data reached the phone.

Most speculated that it was wifi triangulation in conjunction with the various motion sensors. By beta 3 or 4 Apple removed it. But it is possible, and was exciting there for a moment for those with AW0 :)
I would be very curious to find out exactly how Apple (and possibly Pear) achieved this. I am not a developer so I don't know if this is even possible, but would someone be able to access the code from one of the early Watch OS 3 betas that did this on the AW0? I don't know if there would even be anything in there indicating how this was achieved. Again, not a developer so this might not be possible at all. Haha
 

anthonymoody

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Aug 8, 2002
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I would be very curious to find out exactly how Apple (and possibly Pear) achieved this. I am not a developer so I don't know if this is even possible, but would someone be able to access the code from one of the early Watch OS 3 betas that did this on the AW0? I don't know if there would even be anything in there indicating how this was achieved. Again, not a developer so this might not be possible at all. Haha
That's above my pay grade :)

Here's the original thread. Starts off slowly (owed to confusion, mostly) but people really got into it, did all sorts of tests, etc. to try to figure out how it was working, before Apple pulled the plug on the functionality. My best guess is that the functionality is more or less a back up to GPS itself - another way to make sure the route tracking is as accurate as possible, but not *so* accurate that it could be released as a standalone feature. Plus, I might not upgrade to AW2 if my AW0 could do it!

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/native-route-tracking.1977951/
 

Macaddict16

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Oct 7, 2002
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That's above my pay grade :)

Here's the original thread. Starts off slowly (owed to confusion, mostly) but people really got into it, did all sorts of tests, etc. to try to figure out how it was working, before Apple pulled the plug on the functionality. My best guess is that the functionality is more or less a back up to GPS itself - another way to make sure the route tracking is as accurate as possible, but not *so* accurate that it could be released as a standalone feature. Plus, I might not upgrade to AW2 if my AW0 could do it!

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/native-route-tracking.1977951/
Thanks for the link! Very interesting going back and reading some of those posts. Even one that mentioned a water droplet when the screen was locked! Very interesting how Apple sneaks the development of some new features into their betas for unreleased hardware. Also very interesting how accurate the non-GPS watches were!
 

anthonymoody

macrumors 68030
Aug 8, 2002
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Thanks for the link! Very interesting going back and reading some of those posts. Even one that mentioned a water droplet when the screen was locked! Very interesting how Apple sneaks the development of some new features into their betas for unreleased hardware. Also very interesting how accurate the non-GPS watches were!
No prob. And yup they're sneaky :) Probably either slipped through at first, or, they didn't think that people would sniff it out before they pulled the plug.
 
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