Christy Turlington: After a few runs, you don’t need an iPhone to track runs with Apple Watch

“The beautiful Apple Watch spokesperson Christy Turlington-Burns has been running a blog on for the past three weeks, detailing how the Apple Watch has helped her train for the London Marathon,” John Brownlee reports for Cult of Mac.

“Her latest entry has one interesting tidbit: the Apple Watch can apparently track many of your fitness levels even without an iPhone in range,” Brownlee reports. “She goes into more detail about how.”

After you run with Apple Watch and your iPhone a few times, the Workout app knows more about your stride. So you can run on a treadmill or outside without your phone and still get a really accurate workout summary.Christy Turlington-Burns, The Art of Vacation Training

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Good to know, but if you want GPS, you need to take along your iPhone anyway.

As we noted last September:

Apple Watch will not have GPS, but it has an on-board accelerometer, so it’ll be able track your steps, distance, and pace. Therefore, even without iPhone, you’ll know how far you’ve gone, you just won’t know where you’ve gone. If you want a map of your route, you’ll need to strap the iPhone to your arm or carry it in your hand as usual. For avid runners who also lust after the mammoth iPhone 6 Plus (6.22 inches (158.1 mm) x 3.06 inches (77.8 mm) x 0.28 inch (7.1 mm) at 6.07 ounces (172 grams), this will create quite the conundrum.

For reference, an iPhone 5s is 4.87 inches (123.8 mm) x 2.31 inches (58.6 mm) x 0.30 inch (7.6 mm) at 3.95 ounces (112 grams).

Related articles:
For runners: The lightest possible Apple Watch / Apple Band combo – March 11, 2015
Can you run with just your Apple Watch? Health and fitness tracking do not require iPhone per se, but… – September 9, 2014


  1. so maybe this would be part of the reasoning behind also having a 4″ iphone next fall or earlier. if you aren’t taking your iphone out that much then why have a big one?

  2. I’ve used the app MapMyRun to log where I go.
    The same route gives slightly different distances each time – but not that much different. After which, the issue is time to complete the run – which can be done using the iPhone stopwatch without running the power hungry GPS tracking app.

  3. I was recently holding my pre-teen sons’ 4S. I thought, “imagine if they made a phone like this, but much thinner”.

    Phones may turn into the data center for your watch . . . stored in your pocket – rarely pulled out. if I need something more – bigger – I can get my iPad or my computer.

    Though I love my 6+, carrying it around is nuts. Winter was fine because I always had a coat or vest on. Summer will be a different story.

    Tiny 3.5″ screen, very thin. I think that works for some people. Don’t forget, every device is not supposed to be a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Thin 3.5″ may have niche appeal.

    1. One problem with phones as I see it is that you have to commit to one size .. I love my 6 plus but at times would love to switch to a smaller model for say a run .. So the problem is you buy one phone at a time until you upgrade and then sell or give to your kiddo. It would be great if there was an easy way to just swap and go .. I guess you could do this with the sim card but i’m no expert on that.

  4. Mdn.. Im not sure if your map comment is correct!?
    Apple watch also has a built in native maps app.. Maybe its designed to cach in some region from the iphone app.

    Given the accelerometer and personal calibration ..It can use a dead reckoning method to track ones path on the cached map.
    It wont be super accurate.. But it will show the general path!

  5. Hold on, hold on, now! So, why the Apple Watch couldn’t make an educational guess over where you’ve run?? Wait! Not even an Apple Watch’d guess that. The Nike app’d! Basing on the Apple Watch accelerometer or other sensors, right. Look – I know it would be impossible to guess where you’ve been running for a new routes. That’s understandable. But for the ones the Nike app already has the data?? Think! – Every route would have some unique data fingerprint, like the accelerometer data or other, even your heartbeat rate when you are running on the inclined or declined surface at the specific time on your route. The pace, the lap and other data in the overall duration of your route could be cross-examined together with the sensor data to tell you quite exactly where you’ve been running and draw you the hypothetical map or just simply ask you if the route you just run is the same as that you have already named while running earlier with your iPhone.

    Could I get some cash for the idea, Apple? 😉

  6. Also, the only option to carry your iPhone is not an arm band or in your hand. I lift weights, so my biceps are too large for most armbands. The ones that do fit will work their way down to my elbow as I am running. I switched to a SPIBelt years ago. There are other similar solutions as well. Turns out that my iPhone 6+ works fine in a SPIBelt. There are accessibility issues in that one cannot access controls other than inline mic options during a run. My Apple Watch will be a nice addition to control the device I already run with – it will be great for a quick glance at pace, time (like, can I run further – or have to continue back to make a meeting), etc.

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