Runkeeper 6.2 on the Apple Watch

Runkeeper 21

With yesterday’s release of version 6.2 of Runkeeper, you can now do a run without having to carry along your iPhone. That’s a relief because it seems to be what the watch was designed for. I got in the habit of using only the watch and the Workout app, but it’s painful to sync the runs back into Runkeeper, you basically have to enter them manually on the website.

But with the latest release of the app, all the boxes are ticked:

  • Runkeeper registers a workout and sends it to HealthKit, along with the basic stats for your run
  • with watchOS 2.0, 3rd party apps can now access the watch hardware including the heart rate measurement sensor, so that’s also saved
  • there’s no GPS on the watch so the distance is estimated with the pedometer/“motion co-processor”

Distance Estimation Under-Reported

On that last note I’ve found the estimated distances to be slightly under-reported, I’d estimate by 5%. I have a route I’ve been doing for ages and I know it’s 5km, and the watch reports 4.8km, both in Workout and Runkeeper apps.

Grant Access to Heart Rate

A mistake that I think everyone will make when using the app “headless” for the first time: failing to grant the needed permissions on the iPhone.

Runkeeper opens a dialog on your phone (which is probably sitting at home) requesting permission to access the heart rate sensor the first time you run the updated app. You don’t see this until after you run is completed and you’re back home. What you do see is an empty reading for your heart rate on the watch app which makes it look like something is broken. It works fine after you grant the access.

Manually Added

Another strange thing is Runkeeper reports the run as “manually added” which obviously it’s not. If was funny to see this after having to manually add so many other runs. I actually went out and bought a new armband for the iPhone 6s since the previous one didn’t fit and the day it arrived, the Runkeeper update went live in the App Store. I thought they would take ages to support “headless”.

Smart Pause/End Choices

In an improvement over the Workout app, if Runkeeper on the watch detects the phone is not present, it only allows you to pause the workout, not end it, since it can’t be saved without the networking on the phone.

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