Skip to main content

Strava offers support for Wear OS 3, but not for previous versions

Strava, a fitness-tracking app with social media-like features, recently updated to support Wear OS 3. While this sounds like good news at first, this change could be problematic for users whose wearables are running older Wear OS versions.

Strava has offered a stand-alone Wear OS app for five years now and currently has 76 million users.  Nearly 1 million users join the platform every month to track running and cycling while sharing routes and progress with friends. In light of the latest updates from Strava, users will now have a huge choice to make. 

Fitbit Versa Lite tips and tricks
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Strava’s website suggests that users with devices running the older Wear OS versions will not receive the latest software updates. “As of August 2021, Strava will only support the Wear OS 3.0 application. Older devices using Wear 2.XX can continue to access the old Strava application but will no longer receive any future updates.”

So, Strava will remain functional on older devices, but users won’t be able to access new features and updates. This will leave users with outdated software and no option but to abandon the device for a new version.

Google has previously released a list of smartwatches that will be compatible with Wear OS 3 when it becomes more widely available in 2022. Currently, only the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic support Wear OS 3. Even the Fossil Gen 6 lineup announced last week will only run Wear OS 2 late next year. Google revealed recently that its new apps for YouTube Music and Google Maps would be coming to Wear OS soon, but they wouldn’t be available for older devices. This means most users would either have to buy the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 or the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic to enjoy these features this year. 

Users willing to wait for a few more months may have more options to choose from as the TicWatch and the Fossil Gen 6 devices will be updated to Wear OS 3 through a hard reset, which unfortunately requires wiping your settings and data, though you should be able to restore them from a backup. 

The good news is that apps like Spotify support offline listening for all Wear OS devices running Android 6 or above and iOS 12 or above, irrespective of the Wear OS version. The only problem? Apps like Strava and Google Play Music are cutting off support for older smartwatch users, while many smartwatch editions running Wear OS 3 will not be released at least until next year. This has the possibility of creating a weird limbo period, where efficient Wear OS 3 apps will flood the market but there will be very few devices to access them. It’s part of a larger problem with the Wear OS platform that’s going to need to be addressed. 

Editors' Recommendations

Sakshi Udavant
Sakshi Udavant is a freelance journalist and marketing writer covering technology, business, wellbeing and lifestyle. She…
One of the biggest smartwatch makers just gave up on Wear OS
Fossil Gen 5 watch face.

The first smartwatch I recall buying from a lifestyle outlet, and not a smartphone or multi-branded electronics store, was the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle. It was a conscious decision, as I didn’t want to wear a Fitbit or the Apple Watch to parties or family events like some frumpish tech nerd. Those days are officially over, as Fossil has decided to quit the smartwatch business.
The global fashion brand tells The Verge that the Fossil Gen 6 — which got a Wellness Edition refresh in 2022 — was its last smartwatch. “As the smartwatch landscape has evolved significantly over the past few years, we have made the strategic decision to exit the smartwatch business,” Fossil COO Jeff Boyer told the outlet.
The company says it will continue supporting its existing Wear OS smartwatches portfolio for the “next few years.” Unfortunately, “existing” and “few” are rather flexible terms here, and not necessarily in a good way.

A Fossil flagship store executive tells Digital Trends that the current-gen, Gen 6 will get software updates for two years. When asked to clarify whether that includes annual Wear OS updates or just security-centric updates, the executive declined to offer any more details.
On inquiring about the older-generation Fossil Gen 5 smartwatches and whether they will also get the same treatment, we were told that they are awaiting more clarity on that. However, it’s a bleak picture. The Fossil Gen 6 (with the Snapdragon Wear 4100+ chip inside) is already a generational laggard in Qualcomm’s portfolio, while the Fossil Gen 5 series relies on an even older Snapdragon Wear 3100 silicon.

Read more
How one company is giving your Wear OS smartwatch superpowers
A person making a gesture using Doublepoint's gesture control system.

“This is a matter of building the next touchscreen, “said Ohto Pentikäinen, CEO of a company called Doublepoint, as he introduced Digital Trends to its fascinating, next-generation gesture control system. The best way you could think of it is as Apple’s Double Tap feature on steroids.

I chatted with Pentikäinen over a video call during CES 2024 to learn more.
More than an app
Ohto Pentikäinen, CEO of Doublepoint Doublepoint

Read more
How one company made CES the best place for Wear OS watches
Fossil Gen 5 Wear OS

Diesel On Axial Simon Hill / Digital Trends

The annual CES show in Las Vegas is often filled with new wearables, but ever since I started to attend, one company, in particular, always delivered the goods: Fossil. There was a genuine passion for the product, the way Fossil leveraged the styles of its varied partner brands and a deep understanding of the watches that made it so valuable to CES and the world of Wear OS.

Read more