Attention treadmillers: iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus no longer support Nike+ Sensor

If you don’t like holding your iPhone in your hand while you run indoors on a treadmill, you’ll have to learn to like it if you’re getting an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. (Good luck hanging onto that iPhone 6 Plus during a run).

Runners and users of Nike+ know that, when they run outside, they use the Nike+ Running app which tracks their run via GPS, and when they run inside on the treadmill, they use their iPhone’s built-in Nike + iPod app in conjunction with the Nike+ Sensor in (or on the laces of) one of their running shoes. All of the information – distance, pace, duration, NikeFuel, etc. – is transmitted by both apps to the users’ Nike+ accounts.

Not anymore. Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus do not contain the ability to communicate with the Nike+ Sensor. Apple Store Online’s Nike + Sensor page iPhone compatibility list stops at iPhone 5s (even though, in the description text, the page still erroneously claims the sensor works with “iPhone 3GS or later.” It does not work with the latest. MacDailyNews tested an iPhone 5s running iOS 8.0.2 and the Nike + iPod app is available and works with the Nike+ Sensor as usual.

There is a discussion on Apple’s Support site about this issue from rather surprised owners of new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units that, in total, explain the issue. In a nutshell:

If you don’t like carrying your iPhone in your hand when running, how do iPhone 6/Plus owners use the shoe sensor without the iPhone? The answer is: They don’t. Treadmillers can no longer track their runs with their iPhones safely laid on the treadmill console via the Nike + iPod app which is no longer built-into the iPhone 6/Plus. Therefore, the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus must be on your person while running in order to track your runs via the Nike+ Running app in “Indoor Mode,” and as Nike’s support pages clearly state, users must:

Carry your mobile device in your hand, which will ensure that your motion is captured. If you carry your device in a pocket or armband, your motion may not be fully captured. If you place your device in the treadmill tray or cupholder, your motion will not be captured.

One user of Apple’s support bard relayed an email from Nike:

Currently, there are no plans to make Nike+ iPod available on the iPhone 6 or 6+. Regarding the Running Sensor, it of course can still be used with iPhones older than the 6 and 6+, as well as iPod Touches and iPod Nanos that feature the Nike+ iPod App. The Running App, which is available for the iPhone 6 and 6+, is designed to use a GPS signal when running outdoors, negating the need for a Running Sensor. When you run indoors with the Running App and disable the GPS feature, the app will rely solely on your iPhone’s built-in accelerometer. No sensors required.

So, it seems that, for now at least, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users must carry their now larger iPhones in their hands while running inside on a treadmill if they want accuracy. Otherwise, an iPhone armband, which many runners find to be even more irksome than holding the iPhone in their hands, will have to do. (We can’t wait to see iPhone 6 Pluses in armbands!)

Yes, you know where this goes: Apple Watch Sport, with its built-in accelerometer/pedometer, is likely to become even more interesting to millions of treadmill runners who, by the time Apple Watch ships, will be yearning to not have to carry their iPhones in their hands while running.

Was pushing people to Apple Watch the reason why Apple silently dropped Nike+ Sensor support in their new iPhone hardware?

Regardless of intent, the gap between iPhone 6/Plus and Apple Watch is like the gap between iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. It leaves users with a significant gap in functionality that they are forced to weather. Apple Watch is rumored to have slipped a bit from its originally intended release. Some say it was supposed to ship along with iPhone 6/Plus in time for Christmas. That would have made things a bit more palatable for treadmill runners who have now been left without an option other than carry their iPhones in their hands in order to get an accurate measure of their activity while running indoors.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews reader “Jupit3r” for the heads up.]


    1. It sounds like a Nike problem. It’s just Bluetooth, right? It sounds like for whatever reason Nike’s app isn’t compatible and they’re choosing not to upgrade it. I’ve heard rumors that they’re killing the Nike+ sensor altogether, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t want to dedicate resources into an End Of Life product. From Apple’s perspective, if they wanted to kill off the Nike+ as a way to push people to the Apple Watch, you’d think that they’d remove the product from their own stores… as well as not provide HealthKit to 3rd parties.

      1. The season is not Bluetooth but I totally blame Nike. They gave apple exclusivity that’s why there weren’t any apps on any other devices that support it and Nike does not connect their data to any other app like MyFitnessPal so your running data from Nike lives by itself.
        I guess time to move away from Nike. There are many other devices now we can use.

    2. MacDailyNews tested an iPhone 5s running iOS 8.0.2 and the Nike + iPod app is available and works with the Nike+ Sensor as usual.

      So, Apple did something in the iPhone 6/ Plus hardware that kills the ability to use the Nike+ Sensor.

      1. Apple has always ‘thought different’ about Bluetooth. I have a Bluetooth GPS and it has a little switch on the side. One position is for ‘everyone else’ and the other is for Apple. Maybe Apple is dropping their proprietary version of Bluetooth, and now devices made to talk to their stuff can’t anymore? Maybe?

      2. I run daily with the nike sensor outdoors too. Time Cook sits on nikes board of directors, and in an interview said that nike is working with Apple closely to integrate the new nike app into iOS 8 and health kit. The phones have the m8 in them and don’t need the sensor anymore. If you don’t like the size of the iPhone 6 Plus buy the 6. I run with my 5 s every day on the road and it does not bother me in the least.
        The new 6 is only 1/4″ wider and 3/4″ taller than the 5s.
        Big deal./s

      1. For those that didn’t read… read the article MDN links, It WAS Nike’s decision.
        “They discontinued the app”
        Apple came out with Healthkit and M8 in the iPhone 6/6+, Nike didn’t want to play.

    3. This is Nike moving to be more closely integrated with iOS rather than producing its own sensor hardware. Nike has already discontinued work on Nike Fuel (it’s still for sale but no new development and the team has been let go/reassigned). Nike obviously determined that it would not sell very many Fuel Bands once the Watch is released, so it cut its development team and jumped on board with Apple.

      What you’re seeing is a more closely integrated sensor/app setup in the iPhone and iOS, so developers like Nike can choose to either continue spending money on their own proprietary hardware or simply develop an app to use Apple’s hardware. Nike probably EOL’d Nike+iPod because it is old tech (requires separate sensor) and would take too much work to upgrade.

    1. So, we’re just supposed to accept reduced functionality from Apple because some flippant asshole (who probably weighs 600 pounds and has never even seen a treadmill) jots off “first world problems.” GFY, if you can even find it under all of your lard, frontal butt.

      1. It really is a first world problem. Your options are either go outside and run. Hold your giant new phone in your hand while you run or use the information from your treadmill and god forbid manually type it in.

        1. I have had no problems running inside with both the armband and in pocket methods. Probably in the hand works best across all scenarios, but the other methods work prefectly fine for me.

          Always a problem when people write articles based on statements by companies as opposed to really trying all the options on the table for an extended period of time.

      2. Maybe if you did real work instead of sitting on your ass all day you wouldn’t have to devote your spare time to running on a tread mill. You probably sit at a desk eating junk food snacks and then whine about your waistline, then think your the shits because you run in place like a hamster in a wheel. Funny how people in the past didn’t have to jog or do aerobics in order to not be obese.

  1. Get an iPod nano, currently on the Apple “Special Deals” page for $99.

    You can then leave your iPhone 6 “in the locker.” You have two choices in using the 7th gen iPod nano for running. You can use the nano’s built-in sensor (accelerometer) to track the number of steps and estimate your running activity. OR, you can use its built-in Bluetooth to connect to a Nike+ sensor that is in or on your shoe. The latter method is more accurate, because it actually tracks motion of your foot (instead of just counting steps).

  2. It might be that Nike has to create a Healthkit app rather than the current stand alone app. I seem to recall rumors of a few months back that Nike was working with Apple on some unknown projects.

    1. Bingo thats what I said above. When nike came out and said they were dropping the nike band they also said that they are working with apple closely to develop a new nike app for the iPhone and the Apple watch. It will happen maybe just not fast enough for some people.

  3. Just discovered this now on gym, and it’s a pain. Seemed to work ok when placed in a back pocket, but not ideal. My answer, I’m switching to the Adidas micoach app with a Bluetooth speedcell! Well done Nike, you just lost a customer!

  4. Well actually the Nike+ iPod app is always there, you just need to reset your settings on the iPhone. I guess the bug in HealthKit caused the disappearance of the app. I reset my settings back on my phone and the app was there, thank god. I thought I would have to bring my phone along during workouts

  5. As an iPhone user with a ,Nike sensor for many years I am really shocked to find after purchasing the IPhone 6 that I can no longer use the Nike sensor. As I run mostly indoors this is a blow for me. Today I ran using the IPhone 6 and with an IPhone 4 using the Nike sensor and the IPhone 6 recorded a distance almost 20% greater than the IPone 4 and the treadmill which leads to the conclusion that the IPhone 6 is far from accurate!! l really hope that Apple will reconsider and add the Nike sensor functionality to the IPone 6.

  6. Same old Control garbage from Apple! “Let’s take away features that customers already paid for”. This is why we don’t update ios, (and Jailbreak) because Apple jerks keep removing functionality, instead of adding to it! Big Brother Apple trys to force these stupid ios updates, ruining what works well. The first rule in computing is you don’t take features out, you only add to them! Apple will collapse as a company, because they no longer care about the customer. We made you, and now we’ll leave you!

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