RunMeter on Apple Watch – issues and possible fixes

FullSizeRender (5)

It is amazing how quickly the Apple Watch has become a fixed part of my (running) routine. Once you get used to being able to see your distance and time on your wrist, it’s really hard to go back to not having that. And yes, I know I am light years behind all you Polar, Garmin etc users… The fact is that I just never needed another tracker in addition to RunMeter – it does it all. And it still does it all – just on my phone.

After the iOS 9.3 was rolled out the issues started. iOS 9.3.1. did nothing to fix them despite me hoping there was a sneaky patch in there somewhere for this. The issues I have been having:

  • App on watch will not start tracking despite starting a new run on the phone and this will not get fixed during the run
  • App on watch starts tracking but then freezes mid-run, making you feel like “this 18.3km mark is fecking long”
  • App on watch is stuck on an old run (either the full run or a point mid-run where it froze)
  • Data transfer from watch just will not finish after a run has frozen

So sadly a few reliability issues.

I tried all the usual things of rebooting the phone, rebooting the watch. Resetting, starting runs, abandoning them etc.

I tried googling for a solution (or even just to find fellow sufferers) but came up with a blank. An email to Abvio support (support@abvio.com) however returned a fantastically detailed and long email mere hours after contacting them. I have pasted the bulk of it for you below, hopefully this will help you out.

Despite doing everything (except uninstalling and reinstalling RunMeter on my phone – I just won’t do that…) my issues sadly persist. I look forward to the version 10.5.5. with baited breath and hopefully it shouldn’t be too far in the future with the version 2.2 having been recently launched for the watch.

Email from Fran at Abvio support:

It sounds like your Apple Watch and your iPhone were not communicating properly. I’m going to give you a bunch of information and suggestions for how to try to improve your performance. We have seen issues with the synchronization between the iPhone and the Apple Watch. We believe that there are still some unresolved issues in watchOS 2 and 2.1 that Apple needs to address. (Our competitors are reporting similar issues.) However, we have found that if you take some of the actions below you can improve the communication between your devices. In addition to these suggestions, we have recently made a change in the app that will help to maintain communication between the devices. That change that will be coming in version 10.5.5, which will be available very soon.

In the meantime, here are some things to try…

1) You might want to evaluate where you keep your iPhone in relation to where your watch is. Bluetooth may be having a hard time keeping the connection if it has to pass through your body. For example, if you are currently storing your iPhone in a back pocket, you might want to try moving it a front pocket. Or, if it is on your opposite side of your body, try switching it to be closer. It’s worth a try to see if it helps.

Just FYI… when you are having synchronization issues between your watch and your iPhone, if you look at your watch face and see a red iPhone icon with line through it in the center of the top of the screen, that would indicate an outage. That will at least give you a indicator about the cause of the problem.

2) Turn Wi-Fi off on your iPhone, and try to use our app on your watch. For example, tap the settings button (gear icon) in our Apple Watch app and try to change the activity. If it actually changes, then you’ve restarted communications. You can then turn wifi back on.

3) Launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then go to General > Wake Screen, and change “On Tap” from 15 to 70 seconds. That will help to improve the responsiveness of the app. With this change, during your workout, you can tap the watch face (even when you’re not looking at it) and that will give us a whole minute to get caught up. In other words, tap the watch face before you are actually ready to look at it to improve the speed of the updates.

The reason you need to do that is due to a severe limitation of how watchOS 2 third party apps can access heart rate. We can only read information from HealthKit when the app is displayed on-screen and running on the watch. Therefore, we can’t transfer that heart rate information info unless you raise your wrist and keep it raised long enough for the data to transfer.

4) Also in the Apple Watch app, and go to General > Wake Screen, and make sure that “ON WRIST RAISE” is set to “Resume Last Activity”. This can make the app look like it has crashed, but it continues to run in the background.

5) I’d suggest that you try restarting both your iPhone and your Apple Watch. Sometimes that can clear up “mystery” problems.

If you find that you are still having trouble, you can do the following:

– Try uninstalling our app on your Apple watch. To do that you’ll need to open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap on our app and then turn off “Show App on Apple Watch”. Wait for the app to be uninstalled, meaning that you no longer see our icon on your Apple Watch. Then, restart both your iPhone and your Apple Watch. After they restart, turn the “Show App on Apple Watch” back on again to reinstall on your watch. If needed, try doing this step a few times to see if it improves.

If the steps above didn’t fix the problem, I’m going to suggest that you remove and then reinstall our app on your iPhone. Before you do this, you’ll want to make sure that you have backed up your data so that it will not get deleted when you remove the app. For instructions on how to safely back up your database, below is a knowledge base article from Apple on using iTunes File Sharing to access data within apps:

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4094

Follow the steps in the article to location and save the file called “Meter.db” from your iPhone to your computer.

Also if you are using iCloud, go to More > iCloud in Runmeter on your iPhone, tap Save Now, and wait until the backup has finished. Your data should now be doubly backed up.

If you’d like to be triply backed up, you can go to More > Register, register our app, and then tap “Support Upload”. This will upload your data to our servers, and if an issue occurred, we could help you download it again.

After you have backups, delete our app from your iPhone. Confirm that our Apple Watch app is deleted as well. Once done, you can download our app from the App Store again and use the iTunes File Sharing instructions to move your saved database back on to your iPhone.

This process should re-establish the communication between our iPhone and Apple Watch app.

Finally, if the problem is still occurring, then let’s take one further step and unpair and then repair your Apple Watch with your iPhone. This can take at least a half hour, so do it when convenient for you.

First, unpair your Apple Watch:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204568

Then repair it again:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204505

I am so sorry we don’t have a really clear solution here. Sometimes it’s mostly about persistence and varying what you’re doing to try to get your communication back into place.

Hopefully you’ll be successful before getting to the bottom of the list, but at least you have all the info, if needed.

Let me know if you would like any additional help with this.

Happy running!

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s