Strava has announced in the release notes for its latest app update that it has removed the ability for users to pair Bluetooth or ANT+ external sensors to its app.
Fortunately, most smartwatch users won't be affected by the change. External sensors paired to devices such as Apple Watches and other paired watches will still be able to feed their data to Strava directly, though.
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Strava says it has had to kill off the feature to solve widespread crashing issues for users whether or not they were actually pairing external devices. It says that stability for all its users should improve as a result of the change.
For smartwatch and fitness tracker users, this might not be too big an issue - you're likely using your device's sensors to track your activity and then syncing that action to the Strava app to record it over time. In fact, Strava has clarified that "sensors built into a watch or cycling computer are not affected by this change".
However, if you use the smartphone app itself to track your exercise, paired with a sensor and nothing else, you're in a bit of trouble. Strava says that anyone that paired a sensor with the app before 28 August has a stay of execution - it won't turn the feature off immediately, to give you time to find an alternative solution.
New users and those who haven't ever paired a sensor, though, are out of luck - they'll be unable to as of now. Strava's recommending Wahoo's Fitness app as the best way to feed data into Strava's own app. That makes some sense to us - the Wahoo Tickr X is still one of our favourite heart rate monitors, and Wahoo's service is easy to use.
There will no doubt be a lot of Strava users out there who rely on being able to use external sensors with the Strava app for that extra hit of data. It's a surprising move and maybe in the future the company won't rule out bringing the support back once it can make things work in a more stable fashion.
You can read Strava's full release notes here to see all the details.