Runkeeper

Why it sucks when fitness apps don’t share your workout data with Apple

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Who owns your workout data?
Who owns your workout data?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The workout data I log with my Apple Watch belongs to me. It‘s not Apple’s — nor is it Nike’s, Strava’s or anyone else’s, for that matter. It is mine. I paid for it with my own blood, sweat and tears. (OK, it’s mostly sweat, but there were some tears along the way, too.) Over the years, I’ve logged more than 18,000 miles of running data and it is something I’m pretty proud of.

So it really bugs me when mega-corporations try to corral my activity data into their fancy walled gardens, like they think they own it. Apple used to be just as guilty of this as all the other workout rustlers. But the folks in Cupertino did a major pivot in iOS 11. They decided to actually put users in control of our workout data. Apple made it easy for apps to share workout route maps with each other via HealthKit.

The trouble is, none of the major fitness apps are playing ball, and that sucks. Luckily, some indie devs are doing the right thing.

Runkeeper app brings innovation and minor glitches [Runner’s Week: Day 2]

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Runkeeper is one of the best running apps for Apple Watch, but it's not quite perfect.
One of the most innovative running apps for Apple Watch, Runkeeper is not quite perfect.
Image: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Runner's Week Choosing an Apple Watch running app can prove exhausting. So let Cult of Mac Runner’s Week help get you off the starting blocks.

Every day this week, I’ll review a different running app for Apple Watch. Yesterday I reviewed Nike+ Run Club. Today, it’s Runkeeper’s turn.

Which Apple Watch running app deserves to log your sweaty miles? [Runner’s Week: Day 1]

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It's Runner's Week at Cult of Mac
It's Runner's Week at Cult of Mac
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Runner's Week It takes a lot of effort to go running with Apple Watch, and not just because it gets you all sweaty. The hard work starts before you even put on your running shoes. Simply choosing which running app to use is an exhausting task.

Even if you don’t install any of the plethora of third-party running apps, the Apple Watch Nike+ model comes with two preinstalled options to choose from. So this week, to help get you off the starting blocks, we’ll be reviewing six of the best running apps for Apple Watch.

It’s time for Apple Watch to get serious about fitness

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Here's how Apple could improve watchOS 4 for fitness buffs.
Here's how watchOS 4 could improve Apple Watch for fitness buffs.
Image: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple puts fitness front and center in its advertising for Apple Watch Series 2, even going so far as to claim the device is a “superior sports watch.” But in reality, it is not a sports watch at all. It’s a smartwatch. And that’s a massively important distinction.

Sports watches, like the TomTom Runner or Garmin Forerunner, are cheaper and more reliable at logging workouts, while smartwatches are jacks of all trades, which usually means they are masters of none. Or at least, not masters of fitness.

The sad fact is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Right now, it’s mostly the software that is letting Apple Watch down. That’s why I’m hoping that with its next major software update, Apple will finally get its smartwatch into shape for fitness fans. Here’s what I want to see in watchOS 4, which Apple will likely unveil at its Worldwide Developers Conference this June.

The ultimate runner’s review of Apple Watch Series 2

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Is Apple Watch Series 2 the perfect running partner?
Is Apple Watch Series 2 the perfect running partner?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

With the launch of a GPS watch, and a renewed Nike partnership, Apple is getting serious about targeting runners. So is Apple Watch Series 2 the perfect running partner that Cupertino promises?

As an avid runner myself, I was keen to find out. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been training for the TCS New York City Marathon, and I took my Apple Watch Series 2 with me every step of the way — right up to the finish line in Central Park last week. Here’s how it measured up.

Apps vs. apparel: Can Strava compete with big sportswear brands?

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The last of the indie fitness apps: can Strava hold their own against the big brands?
The last of the indie fitness apps: Can Strava hold its own against the big brands?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Sports apparel makers clearly believe that fitness apps are an important part of their futures. Under Armour and Adidas have invested heavily in fitness apps, and Runkeeper’s recent acquisition by ASICS is just the latest in a long series of app acquisitions by apparel makers.

These companies have big brands and deep pockets. Can an indie developer realistically compete with all that? Gareth Nettleton, VP of marketing for indie fitness app Strava, tells me that like any serious athlete, his hard-charging company thrives on competition.

How to choose the right running app for you

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And the winner is… find out which running app offers the most features
And the winner is… find out which running app offers the most features
Photo: Graham Bower / Cult of Mac

There are so many iPhone apps for runners, it’s hard to decide which one to use. Should you go for a familiar brand like Nike, or a specialist like Runkeeper?

Ultimately, all running apps do pretty much the same thing: They use GPS to track how far and how fast you run. But when you take a closer look, their features and prices vary considerably. So I’ve done the leg work for you, to help you find the right running app faster.

Running without iPhone makes Apple Watch inaccurate

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Don’t leave me this way - Apple recommends you take your iPhone with you on a run
Don’t leave me this way - Apple recommends you take your iPhone with you on a run
Photo: Graham Bower / Cult of Mac

Runkeeper is one of the first big-name running apps to offer full watchOS 2 support, which means you can log a run on your Apple Watch even if you leave your iPhone behind.

The Apple Watch’s built-in Workout app has always offered this feature, but it is new for third-party apps. I had never tried it before, but Runkeeper got me curious. So I left my iPhone charging at home, put on a pair of Nikes and went out for a run.

Why you may run into trouble if you try to switch running apps

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It's not always easy to switch running apps.
It's not always easy to switch running apps.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Using a running app to log your workouts is a great way to track your progress and stay motivated. But have you considered who actually owns the workout data you are logging?

If you ever decide to switch apps, you might be in for a surprise. While some services, like Strava, make it easy to transfer your data, with others it can be difficult or even impossible.

Smart sport glasses want to be Apple Watch for your head

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Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
The Recon Jet is Google Glass for sports like running and cycling. It's highly functional and works well, but still suffers from the Glasshole effect. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
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You rarely see Google Glass anymore, but if Recon Instruments has its way, you’ll be seeing plenty more head-mounted displays in the future.

The Recon Jet, launched Thursday, is a pair of smart eyeglasses for sporty activities like running and biking. Bristling with sensors, the device shows all kinds of biometric data and social stats on its tiny heads-up display. Paired with a smartphone, it can take pictures and video, send and receive status updates, find friends and family on the piste and much more.

But sports is just a start. If Recon is successful — and that’s a big if — we may be seeing smart glasses in a lot more places. Recon is betting hard that the face is the place for smart wearables.

Runkeeper’s Breeze Is A Beautifully Designed Step-Tracking App

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As a guy running upwards of seven miles a day to get in shape for his imminent nuptials, Runkeeper is my favorite exercise tracking app, but you have to consciously remember to use it. But Runkeeper now has a new trick up its sleeve: Breeze, an activity tracker that taps into your iPhone 5s’s M7 motion processor to subtly guide you into living a more active life.

Ending Soon! Seven iOS 7 Templates To Bring Your App Idea To Life In No Time [Deals]

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The arrival of iOS 7 has not only demonstrated a whole new look to Apple’s mobile platforms, but also new opportunities for exceptional design. So if you’ve got a great app idea for this beautiful new platform, but your design skills leave a lot to be desired then Cult of Mac Deals a deal for you.

This deal is for some stellar templates that will give even the most aesthetically challenged app creator the ability to make a great-looking iOS 7 app. And you can get your hands on these 7 templates for only $29.99 – a savings of 94%!

Jawbone Up’s New Platform Lets Third-Party Apps Work With Your Wristband

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Jawbone has today launched a new platform for iOS that allows third-party apps to work with your Up wristband. The API is called the Up Platform, and provides access to all of your fitness data, including steps, calories, and distance traveled.

The Up Platform has already been integrated into ten iOS apps, including IFTTT, LoseIt, Maxwell Health, MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, Notch, RunKeeper, Sleepio, Wello, and Withings.

GymPact Teams Up With RunKeeper To Earn You Money When You Exercise

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Every morning, I scrape myself off of the bottom of my hangover’s hobnailed boot and try to make it down to the gym. About two-out-of-five times, I’ll oogily succeed and manage to douse myself in the pool until I’ve either done fifty laps or turned the water fifty proof, whichever comes first.

If only there was a way to be better motivated, I’ll often think to myself. Which is why I’m intrigued by a partnership between GymPack and RunKeeper, that will not only award me real money when I successfully drag my carcass to the gym, and actually penalize me money when I don’t.

Fitness App RunKeeper Announces Partnership With Highly Anticipated Pebble Watch

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RunKeeper and Pebble? It's an exercise geek's match made in heaven.
RunKeeper and Pebble? It's an exercise geek's match made in heaven.

RunKeeper makes fitness apps for a variety of smartphones and is widely considered the premiere platform for tracking and sharing workout information. Today the company announced that it will be the first third-party service to partner with the Pebble watch, a record-breaking Kickstarter project that has collected over $8 million in funding. Pebble sports a customizable interface that can connect with apps and smartphones like the iPhone and Android.

Thanks to the partnership with RunKeeper, Pebble owners will be able to see live fitness data and control RunKeeper without touching their smartphones during a workout.

Runkeeper Adds Nine More Partners in Its Quest for Complete Fitness Domination

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Fitness buffs love Runkeeper (and its accompanying iPhone app) for its ability to gather data from a wide variety of cloud-based services and gadgets they might use, so it can be stored and viewed in a central location; we haven’t exactly counted, but it’s a good bet that the all-knowing fitness service can import data from more fitness apps, services and gadgets than any other cloud-based fitness service on the planet. But with the nine more they added today, well, now it’s just getting ridiculous.

RunKeeper’s Latest App Update Will Help Prevent Your Heart From Exploding

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When I, through sheer exertion of will, lift this moribund pile of musky flab out of the desk chair to which it transhumanistically is trying to absorb, put on my sweatbands and take myself out for a wheezing, gasping “jog”, RunKeeper is my preferred app for tracking the whole ordeal.

The free app is already pretty great. It uses your iPhone’s GPS sensors to track your running speed, distance and route; additionally, it allows you to program different run templates, calculate calories burned and share your favorite runs with other users.

But today’s update makes RunKeeper even better, with a host of new features that widen the distance between all the other jog-tracking apps out there.