Knowledge Base & Community Forums/Strava Knowledge Base/Android mobile app

Android and external Biometric sensors

Mat Gordon
posted this on October 2, 2012, 9:58 AM

The Strava app for Android supports various biometric sensors; see the information below for details about our supported devices and how to use them.

To get started using your biometric sensors, you'll first need to enable Bluetooth on your phone's system settings.  In most cases this will mean enabling Bluetooth on your phone by going to your phone's Settings page and toggling Bluetooth to ON. You can also access your phone's bluetooth settings through the Strava app.  

Please note that if your phone does not support Bluetooth 4.0 (Android 4.3 and below), you'll be limited to the Zephyr HxM™ BT heart rate monitor. 

Next, you need to tell the Strava app which devices you're using.  To do this, tap the 'menu' button -the three dots - at the top-right of any page within Strava, and select Settings(shown below left).  Then, tap the Bluetooth Sensors option from the Settings page (shown below center-left).

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From the Sensor Settings page (shown above right), you'll be able to enable or disable the use of your phone's Bluetooth connection, as well as enable or disable individual sensors.  You can also see what devices are already connected, and learn more about compatible sensors and other advice and tips. Enabling a specific sensor will prompt the Strava app to search for a connection to sensors of that type.

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If you want your Android to 'forget' a device you've already paired, you can tap the 'Remembered Sensors' button in the middle of the Sensor Settings page, which will bring you to the 'Remembered Sensors' page, shown above.  Tap the 'x' button next to the sensor you'd like to remove and then tap the 'OK' button that will appear with that sensor.  In some cases, this can help when you are having issues connecting a device.


What is a Biometric Sensor?

A Biometric Sensor is an external hardware device that connects to the Strava Android app to provide additional performance data for the Strava activity recording process. The Strava Android app supports heart rate monitors, cadence sensors, and power meters.


How can I connect Biometric Sensors to the Strava app on my device?

The Strava Android app supports the Bluetooth protocol for connecting Biometric Sensors.  Strava's Android apps do not currently support ANT+ sensors.


Where can I buy Biometric Sensors and/or adaptors that work with Strava?

With the release of version 4.1 of the Strava app, Strava now supports both Bluetooth and Bluetooth LE (4.0) for Android.  For more detailed information about compatible sensors see this article.


Do you support speed and/or cadence data gathered from power meters?

The Strava Android app does not gather speed or cadence data gathered from power meters at this time.


Do you use the speed data gathered from speed sensors?

The Strava Android app does not use speed data gathered from speed sensors. Please see article: How Distance Is Calculated for more details.


How can I ensure I have a strong connection between my Android device and my Biometric Sensors?

The best way to ensure a strong connection is to provide an unobstructed path between your Android device and the Biometric Sensors to which you are connecting.  Bluetooth devices transmit signals to devices at a frequency of 2.4GHz, which does not pass through water very well. Because the human body is mostly water, you may encounter data transmission issues if your body is obstructing the path. To work around this, consider 1) mounting your device where it will have an unobstructed path to your Biometric Sensors or 2) putting your device in a jersey side pocket (rather than center pocket).


Connection Issues

When the Strava Android app is connected to sensors but does not receive data for several minutes it will indicate so by showing the sensor icons on a red background. This error state will persist until you reconnect to new sensors for example by toggling individual sensors in the Biometric Sensors settings page, or when you start recording an activity. For tips on troubleshooting Biometric Sensor connections, see the previous topic.


Searching for sensors

The Strava Android app will search for new sensors any time the New Activity tab is selected, for up to 2 minutes. The app will first search for sensors it has already connected to (if there are any), then for any other sensors.

The app will also initiate sensor searches when you visit the Biometric Sensors setting page. If it is already connected to a particular type of sensor it will not connect to new sensors of that type. In order to force searching for a particular sensor type you can toggle that particular sensor off and on in the settings.

If you want to the Strava Android app to forget about particular sensors you can go to the Biometric Sensors setting page and press the Edit button then delete individual devices. This will not prevent the app from connecting to these devices however it will prevent the app from preferring those devices.

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