Strava flicks the kill switch on Apple Health syncing for third-party devices

Chris Hall


Strava flicks the kill switch on Apple Health syncing for third-party devices

Strava has made a back-end change to its service which effectively cuts off third-party devices syncing via its platform. That's left a lot of Apple Watch users unable to close their Rings, because data that was once flowing to Apple Health is now not.

There's nothing so glorious as having your workout data appear some else. For many years, users have been accumulating fitness devices and finding ways to get that data into one final resting place.

For many Apple users - especially Apple Watch users - that final place is Apple Health. Strava has often been the facilitator for this, allowing just about everything to sync with Strava and then providing a route to push that data into another service, namely Apple Health.

But while data will sync from the Strava app on your iPhone over to Apple Health, there's a new position with third-party devices:

"Strava will send data to Health such as route information, activity type, distance, time, and calories automatically. Please be aware that activities recorded from third-party devices (Garmin, Zwift, Wahoo, Peloton, etc.) will not sync to Health."

This has been a rather abrupt change: there was no announcement that a syncing change was happening and no justification: Strava just appeared to flip a switch and cut it off.

For some of the devices on that list, it's not a huge problem. Ideally a Garmin user should be using Garmin Connect to integrate with Apple Health, rather than using Strava as an intermediary. But the world of fitness data syncing is often far from ideal and for many people, Strava was the ideal solution.

For some players in the market - Hydrow for example - this potentially makes their product look less attractive to Apple users, because that route has been cutoff.

While the first instinct might be to shake an angry fist at Strava, the company might have a point. It syncs with just about everything and usually pretty well - why should it act as the stop-gap where other systems fail?

The reality is that third-party devices should sync to Apple Health using HealthKit and Strava, if you don't actually want to be part of the Strava community, shouldn't be the route to that. It's a middleman that no one asked for and it appears, that Strava no longer wants to be.

Ultimately, Strava has been shifting the position of its service over the past few years, wanting to be the service that people are paying for and that subscribers get the most out of.

The question is whether Strava thinks that Apple users might shift loyalty over to its platform, because it's easier to use as the end point, or whether this will just see a lot of phantom users abandon Strava, because it no longer provides the service they want.

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