Apple Watch Series 2 Nike+: Essential guide to the run-friendly smartwatch

Everything you need to know about Nike's take on the Watch Series 2

Along with the the Apple Watch Series 2, Apple unveiled a special Nike+ edition of the new smartwatch.

Apple has teamed up with the sports giant to give its smartwatch more of a focus on running, tweaking the strap and software to make it easier for runners to strap it on and put the built-in GPS to the test.

Update: We've now published our Apple Watch Nike+ review

We're yet to put the Apple Watch Nike+ edition through its paces, but until then here's a lowdown on what you can expect from the special edition of Apple's new smartwatch.

Apple Watch Series 2 Nike+: Design

Apple Watch Series 2 Nike+: Essential guide to the run-friendly smartwatch

On the face of it, the Nike+ Edition looks like a simple paint job, but there's a little more to it. You do still get all the same Series 2 Watch features including built-in GPS and a waterproof design (up to 50 metres). It's available in 38mm and 42mm watch case options, but it also comes with a band that's made of the same elastomer material found in the Apple Watch Sport band.

Jog on: The best Apple Watch running apps

Apple worked with Nike to design the strap, which features a perforated finish that will apparently make it more durable and offer a more breathable fit when you're getting a sweat on. It also looks a lot like the strap that Nike used on its Nike+ SportWatch, made with TomTom many moons ago. Like the standard Watch, you can change the straps out in the same way as you could on the first Apple Watch. However there's bad news if you're hoping to get one of the straps for your current Apple Watch - Apple has confirmed they will only be sold with the watch and not available separately.

The Nike+ Watch is going to be available in four different case and band combos. There's a space grey aluminium case with either a black and neon yellow band, or a black and grey band. There's also a silver aluminium case that comes in either a silver/white band combo or a silver and neon yellow option. Basically, if you want something that's bright and sporty, you're well catered for here.

Apple Watch Series 2 Nike+: Watch faces

While watchOS 3 will be running the show, Nike does puts its own spin on the proceedings. In the watch face department, you'll be able to select from two Nike themed watch faces that includes a Watch complication which will directly launch the Nike+ Run Club app. These watch faces are only going to be available on the Nike+ edition.

Apple Watch Series 2 Nike+: The apps

Speaking of apps, the Run Club Watch Watch app will come pre-installed and will offer all the usual features like tracking your runs, viewing running history and getting reminders when friends have shared activities.

Unlike the exclusive watch faces, you can download the Run Club app to any of the new Apple Watch smartwatches.

Apple Watch Series 2 Nike+: Price and release date

The Nike+ Watch went on sale on 28 October, and the good news is that whatever design you go for, the prices will be the same as the regular Series 2.

It's $369 for the 38mm version, which jumps up to $399.99 for the 42m one.

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  • DCDude·

    I hope they improved the touch screen to be more responsive when sweaty. The current app is awful when out and about.

    • nikonguy·

      This is just a guess, but on your watch app, GENERAL....turn on wrist detection

  • Digitalembassy·

    has anyone successfully used the series 2 watch with the Nike+ RunClub app? I tried it yesterday and the app gathered exactly ZERO data. I tried it while not tethered to my iPhone. The timer didn't start, the distance didn't log. Nothing. Crickets. 


  • rexapollo·

    I used the app yesterday with my series 2 watch and no phone. The GPS worked great. I was able to listen to music on bluetooth headphones as well. The problems are that the app interface is not finished. You can only see one piece of data at a time while running i.e. elapsed time, pace, distance etc. They need to make it where they are all on one screen. My Microsoft Band did this. Second, while the run synced with my apple health app on my phone it has yet to sync with my nike+ app on my phone, so I had to manually enter it. I have not been able to look at a map of my run and see how I was doing in various places. Overall, it is functional, but it needs to make many improvements to make it the runners goto app on their apple watch. 

    • joegreen1999·

      I see you mentioned listening to music on bluetooth.  Does the series 2 store music locally or do you need to carry your phone?  A while back I was looking at the iWatches and they didn't have gps or music,  I figured if I had to carry my phone for music, I might as well just use my phone.  I did end up buying the TomTom, but don't use it much because its kind of unreliable (many runs get lost), bluetooth connection is flakey at best.  My wife really wants the series 2 nike watch if it will allow her to listen to music without her phone.

      • Praveen·

        I got the Series 2 Nike Edition a couple of days ago and still exploring the various apps and options/features available. I have noticed that the Watch can store up to 2 GB of music(or approximately 500 songs) independent of the Phone, you just need to create a new playlist (on the phone), add your choice of songs to that list and sync it to the Watch. You can play this synced music using Bluetooth headset/earphones/ear-pods and DO NOT need to carry your phone with you.

  • rexapollo·

    I used the app yesterday with my series 2 watch and no phone. The GPS worked great. I was able to listen to music on bluetooth headphones as well. The problems are that the app interface is not finished. You can only see one piece of data at a time while running i.e. elapsed time, pace, distance etc. They need to make it where they are all on one screen. My Microsoft Band did this. Second, while the run synced with my apple health app on my phone it has yet to sync with my nike+ app on my phone, so I had to manually enter it. I have not been able to look at a map of my run and see how I was doing in various places. Overall, it is functional, but it needs to make many improvements to make it the runners goto app on their apple watch.

  • NigelQ·

    I'm in the same boat, I used my series 2 yesterday independently from my phone and it recorded nothing, I was about a half mile into my run before I noticed that the time & distance counters weren't registering anything. I registered a fault with Nike and I'm waiting for the reply.

    • jamban·


      I don't think the Nike Run Club App works with the internal GPS on the apple WATCH 2. Would love to be proven wrong though, as it's why I bought the damn thing!

  • Melw1·

    I wonder if they are waiting for the launch of their NIke version Apple watch.  I can't get it to use the inbuilt GPS on the watch either.  Also if you go to settings on the NIke Run app there in an option under Tracking for Apple Watch but so far this doesn't take you anywhere - no further options, slide bar or anything.  I assume this feature just hasn't been switched on yet.

    • WERUN26·

      I just bought the Apple Watch with the Nike NRC app/screen/version loaded into the watch.  Spent a half hour on the phone with the Nike help center along with a couple hours of my own online research (and additional trial and error) and I can't get it to log one single one hundredth of a mile.  I bought it specifically for its gps capability.  I've got 10 days left of my trial period while I can still return it.  If not successful with the help desk tomorrow, it goes back and I go back to the other, more reliable gps watches.  So much for better technology.  This thing has been a bust.

  • jamban·

    OK, I figured this out. The only way to get Nike Run Club to use the internal GPS (without my iPhone) Is to TURN BLUETOOTH OFF on the iPhone BEFORE starting your run . Then Nike Run Club uses the watch's GPS.

    next up on the early adopter blues digest: 

    Anyone getting maps to upload from a NRC run via the apple watch GPS? right now it only syncs data.

  • Scott549·

    You shouldn't have to turn Bluetooth off -- if that is the case it is a flaw in the software. I've got an Apple Watch on order but I have tried the Nike app on my phone and it was terrible. It missed two miles of my run (while Strava recorded it correctly). It's really inexcusable for a company the size of Nike not to be able to figure out how to make an app that runs smoothly and reliably.

    • jamban·

      I totally agree. nike does not have the right software engineers / product managers on this, especially for a product that is so integral to the identity of the company.

      Interesting that there is a "source' button greyed out on the apple watch NRC app. Right now it does nothing, but I wonder if that will eventually be enabled to allow us to choose the GPS source with an upcoming app update.

  • stdout·

    Makes absolutely no sense if I have to bring the iphone (1 bulky 6plus) strapped on the arm if I have a GPS enabled watch 2. For those whom have managed to get the inbuilt GPS working, couple of qns - without the tagging the iphone alone, will standard stuff like voice feedback work? Also - i reckon the run route map, including run data will all be synced nicely once we are back home and the apple watch 2 gets connected to the iphone nicely again? 

  • Madan·

    is ter any difference between apple watch series 2 and apple watch series 2 nike +..

    • MagnificentGS·

      As far as I know, Nike addition comes with nike run app inside different from the other series 2 watches. But I don't know, if there are any lacks than the others. 

      If anyone knows details about this issue, can tell us ?  

  • TimeforWhisky·

    The one thing I want to know (which has been implied, and seems obvious, but hasn't been answered anywhere definitively that I've seen) - does the NRC app use GPS? Can I run with the watch's GPS and upload my run and map to my Nike+ account?

    Seems obvious, but up until now 3rd party apps haven't been able to use the GPS.

    If the answer is yes, does that apply to the app that anyone can download for their Watch2?


  • Tbird27971·

    I thought I had the same issue. Came back from my first run, couldn't really tell if the gps was working. I checked the app on the phone a few times after and nothing. Then was going to get onto apple support, went into the Nike app on the phone and all my information was there. My exact route, time, and heartbeat graph. Everything looks good just took about 20 min for it to transfer the information.  

    • angrybaby·

      Hey tbird! Just wanted to confirm you were able to see map/route data on your phone after your run. I just went for my first run with new Apple Watch 2 Nike edition and used a different app (Runkeeper) only to find out it doesn't show map data. This is when running without the iPhone, only wearing the watch. Thanks!

  • shpyda·

    When using the Nike running app to log your runs on the Apple watch does it still allow you to acquire the accolades within Apple's own fitness app or do you have to choose one or the other. I'd like to use the Nike app as well for the training aspect, but don't want to negate my accomplishments in the activity app. Stubborn I know, but it really does keep me motivated. I have the first gen Apple watch if it makes any kind of difference.

  • quonzilla·

    Here's some comments that might prove insightful.  

    I've logged almost 300 miles using Nike's running app since 2012.  I must say this from the start.  The Nike app has seen many updates - some good, some bad and some, the most recent ones, very ugly.  

    With that out of the way, I had high hopes for the Series 2 watch, and the thought that the Nike version of the watch would bring seamless integration of the iPhone's app with the Series 2 watch's built-in GPS was too much to pass up.

    So now I have the watch and wanted to see how the app on the watch was going to work, but before that, I needed to ensure that this run was going to be like a run using my phone.  Music.  Have to have music.  How to get the music on to the watch.  You have to sync a playlist from your phone to the watch, and there's a catch.  You have a 2GB limit.  I synced a playlist with 124 songs (approx. 1 GB of data stored locally to the watch).  It took about 4 hours to complete this task, which requires the watch to be charging and at 50% or higher on the watches current charge to perform the sync.  

    Okay, got the music out of the way.  Now how am I going to listen to the music?  With my wireless Jaybird X2's, of course.  Pairing these bad boys up was simple enough.  I do have a complaint about listening to music from the watch but will get to that later as I was able to remedy the problem on my second run.  

    Ready to run, I think.  After stretching, I walk out to the street and start up the app.  I had not fiddled with the app prior to this point and was in awe of what types of runs you can log.  There are literally four types of runs you can choose from: Match It (matches distance of last run), Distance (you enter your distance), Time (enter your duration of the run) or Pace (enter your desired pace).  Now, I am genuinely concerned about why the F can't I just start the run and end the run as I please.  After 10 minutes in the street, I just picked Distance and entered my normal 5.5 mile run.   

    I'm running now and the music is playing.  I'm thinking, "Yeah, this is what I was expecting (kind of)."  Then the music starts breaking up and I am quite astonished that the bluetooth signal from my watch to my X2's is being blocked by my head.  I wear the watch on my left wrist, but the receiver for the X2 is behind my right ear (wearing the X2's over ear).  There's only 24" of distance from device to device and they can't even get a strong enough signal to maintain a skip-free experience.  Now, I'm feeling a little disappointed, but nonetheless, the run must go on.

    As for the built-in GPS, I know the milestones on my run route and I have the app set to chime off every 0.5 miles so it seems pretty accurate from phone GPS and watch GPS.  

    Got home and trying to stop the run was another challenge.  The controls to pause the run and stop the run are very similar from phone app to watch app, but there is a delay and can be slightly annoying when trying to stop the run.  Stopped the run and saw the data and the map of the run come up, and I was elated that the run info was on the watch.  Get back inside and immediately go to my phone's app to see the run data sync and nothing's there.  Not after 1 minute.  Not after 5 minutes.  Not after an hour or even a day.  Check the watch and the last run info is the last run I completed using my phone's app.  Now I'm starting to get discouraged, but since this is the Nike Run Club app, I am not completely upset.  This is the status quo with there most recent incarnation of their running app.  

    On to the second run two days later, and I switch thing up a bit.  I disconnect the phone and watch prior to starting the run app.  I place the watch on my right wrist so direct line of sight between the devices is unobstructed.  I am running.  Music is not skipping!!!  Get home, stop the app and see the run data and the map display.  I get inside, turn on the bluetooth on the phone and viola.  NO VIOLA!!!  No damn run data is syncing,  The watch is displaying the same last run data from my phone.  Tried looking up info on the internet as to how I can sync my runs, and found this site.  Now I'm telling you my story about the Apple Series 2 Nike edition and the Nike Run Club app.

    Realistically, the only difference in getting the Nike edition is that the NRC app is pre-loaded and you get some exclusive watch faces, but aside from that, the Nike edition is similar to any other Series 2 watch.  Hopefully, Nike gets their shit together and makes the watch app more user friendly and update this inability to sync runs.  Hope that helped some of you that are on the fence.  

    • Tomlin19915·

      I had been a Nike app user since 2008... received my Apple Watch (Nike series on Oct. 31) thanks for sharing your experience  - similar to mine with my runs this week - music skipping (thanks for letting me know it is because the watch is on my left wrist); delay in stopping the run; not syncing.  

      I called Nike support and was told that the next update should fix the problem as well as the other issues I have with the Apple Watch - Nike series and NRC app... 

      1 - If I want to play my Apple Music through the NRC app, I have to have my phone with me during the run (ability to play my PowerSong) - otherwise you have to open the music app in addition to the NRC app.  

      2 - If I want the NRC app to measure my mile split times - I have to run with my phone (the watch kept crashing when they uploaded that function of the app, so they removed it)

      Why advertise, "You can leave your phone at home and work out with the watch" if I need my phone in order for the watch to have the functions of the phone???

      What good is the Apple Watch - Nike series then??? Feeling frustrated and scammed...

    • jonwalton·

      "There are literally four types of runs you can choose from: Match It (matches distance of last run), Distance (you enter your distance), Time (enter your duration of the run) or Pace (enter your desired pace). Now, I am genuinely concerned about why the F can't I just start the run and end the run as I please. After 10 minutes in the street, I just picked Distance and entered my normal 5.5 mile run."

      I am replying because I appreciated your detailed explanation of using your Apple Watch with NRC.

      Instead of selecting one of the four run types that you mention, don't press any of those. Just press the much bigger START button that appears in your NRC watch app as a "volt" colored circle with the word START in it which sits above the four types that you mentioned. Depending upon on how you have your countdown set (9 seconds, 6 seconds, 3 seconds, or Off), your watch starts tracking your run and won't stop until you swipe right, select pause (and soon thereafter, after you are more composed, selecting stop).

      Now, if I can only understand why I can set the NRC watch app to give me verbal split information from my watch during the run yet the split information/history is not ported over to the NRC app after my run.  

  • stdout·

    @quonzilla that was pretty good insight. thanks. let me share what I have. 

    We all run. Like you, I have been using the nike app since the good old days. The old app without a doubt was way better. That said, it is what it is now. I still can do what I wanted to do on this yellow interface. My requirements are simple. 1. Voice feedback (every 5 mins). 2. Standard run info - race, splits, distance, map - easily accessible. 3. Music with bluetooth - no wires. 4. No need to strap the phone and struggle with controls on a arm strap at weird angles during runs - this simply means leaving the phone (a 6+) home. 5. seamless sync when I get back, so that i can review using the bigger and more informative NRC interface on the phone. 

    I have been holding back my watch 2 purchase till today, but will do that now. Its always out of stock where I am (Singapore). This is after I have clarified with the NRC support over twitter on these info - which I thought would be useful here

    1. I wrote to NRC Support via twitter, back end Sept - reply was GPS function on the Nike+ Apple Watch Series 2 is not currently available in the Nike+ Run Club app, but it will be in a future update. These explains the issues most see here

    2. Fast forward to last week. I wrote again, stating my requirements above and was told that I should now be able to run with my phone at home, and should feedback after I have tried. 

    3. There was also a NRC app update sometime early this month i reckon. There is a paragraph in the release notes that informs that GPS works now and ends with "Apple Watch Nike+ watches will fully track your route using GPS - whether you run with your phone or not". There is no mention of sync though, though i would imply its implicit - which your post worries me a bit given that it says GPS works indeed but not the latter. Anyone else with experiences on syncing please share. 

    That said, i will still go ahead and get a unit once its available. Either way, i think the folks at Nike will eventually sort it out, given its a dumb-free need to have feature to sync runs on the watch onto the phone/website and not keep everything local within the phone

  • Evenpar·

    I am not able to set the nike app on my phone to shuffle music on the watch.  I have to start the nike run app then go start my music.  I know there is a setting on the phone to chose Apple Music it needs to allow an option to select the playlist on the watch.

  • Kvoige·

    can you use Spotify or pandora on your watch while running without your phone?  Anyone swim with it yet?

  • stdout·

    I thought of sharing my experience after weeks on the watch 2 - the NRC version, especially with the reported issues shared previously. Note i have downloaded and installed the latest NRC app on the iphone - a 6 plus. I am using the Nike watch 2, 42".

    To date i have done total of 7 runs using watch ONLY. 1 indoor threadmill run, 6 outdoor runs (Avg 10km per run sub 55)

    I leave the phone home when I leave for my run. All i bring is my bluedio Q5 earphones + the apple watch

    1. Starting the run is simple - i usually just touch "start" from the NRC app unless i have time/distance targets (which is fairly straightforward as described in 1 of the posts earlier). Countdown and off I go. Note if you set the countdown to 9. the screen will darken after 3-4 counts as the watch goes into screen saver mode. But the app will continue to work and you will get the usual voiceover on the earphones. 

    2. Prior, I start the music on my watch and it gets off on the bluetooth right away. force touch to shuffle and select source as Apple watch (Note - a 1 time sync has to take place to sync a playlist from the phone to the watch - i also realize the watch can only hold ONE playlist, so even if you have couple on the phone, you can only sync 1 over)

    3. I wear the watch on the left wrist while the BT receiver is on the right ear. No experience of skipping. I am roughly 6ft'1 to give a distance gauge between wrist and ear. There are times the BT battery died halfway into the run, no music but you still get NRC voice feedback blasted over the watch speaker. 

    4. voice feedback during runs (I set it at every 5 mins) works just like when running with the phone (non watch days). To sum up the voice over feedback + music playback experience, no different as when you have the phone physically when u run (Unless you need to shuffle across playlist or stream using apps like spotify)

    5. Setting watch face to show all metrics. I get to see pace, BPM, distance and elapsed time at 1 glance. Enough for me. U can set the watch to show just a singular metrics too. I am having a 42" and the stats shows nicely. A swipe up down navigates between distance / pace. 

    6. When runs end, swipe left to pause the run, and when composed, touch stop to stop the run. I dun get the previous "well done, new record, blew last week's mileage etc messages" that i previously got when running with the phone. Not a big issue.

    7. Screen response fairly well with sweat, still touchable and swipe'able with sweat trickling down the finger, on the screen.

    8. When the run ends, a simple map appears, with your run summary and split pace appearing. Note, once you hit DONE, everything disappears (Until you sync it onto your phone). So if you want to scrutinize further, leave the DONE clicking till you have reviewed everything.

    9. Got home. On the BT on the iphone. Make sure the watch is connected.  This is the interesting part. Start the NRC app. On the iphone NRC app, go to Activity. Hold the screen and drag down, you will see a "Last updated...". this will usually be hours before your current time. Hold the drag and you will experience a refresh. A new entry then appears, and you can see more info popping and syncing after a while. Usually once i see the new record appearing on the phone, i leave it, let it sync on the background, have my shower or do my stuff and review much later.

    10. To date - only minor issues. Out of my 6 outdoor runs, 4 had full maps captured, including all data. 1 had the thumbnail showing no map, but map is shown when you enter the run details and select route. the other one had a truncated map, my last 3km was missing, but SPLITS all nicely captured.

    11. GPS is spot on, including elevation, distance, pace etc. I did a compare with history runs using the phones only and the match is near 99%. 

    12. Integration with health + activity app is seamless. 

    Overall, the NRC watch sets out to perform nearly 95% of what i envisage, I guess the issues between the syncing of the watch and NRC app on the iphone has more or less been sorted out with this latest release. 


  • Moosebrew·

    when I start a run using my Nike Apple Watch and I am using earbuds the voiceover for my runs only comes thru my watch speakers and not on my earbuds. Has anyone else had this issue and do they know how to correct it?

    • BabyWhatWhat·


      I may have had the same situation as you today. Voiceover was coming out of the speaker, though music would play over AirPods. What fixed it was syncing a playlist specifically to the watch from the iPhone. Not sure if that's because only one device (watch or phone) can use the AirPods at a time, or if it's more about only one app at a time (NRC vs. Apple's Music).

  • Allybaba·

    did someone use it to swim in open water and also cycling