Whether you’re a cyclist, runner, or keen hiker, you’ll be spoiled for choice when picking an exercise tracking app to summarize your suffering. This predicament is made worse still if your friends are scattered across services.
Fortunately thanks to the wonders of APIs, it’s possible to use a multitude of fitness services without carrying multiple devices on every jog.
Why Would I Do This?
It’s absolutely possible to use multiple GPS apps on your iPhone or Android device at once. A good example of this is checking your cycle route using Google Maps’ excellent cycling view, while Strava tracks your location and speed in the background.
A bad example of this would be starting Strava, then starting Runkeeper — and maybe Garmin or Endomondo too. Though neither app talks to the GPS receiver directly (on iOS, the device works out your location using a number of factors, including nearby WiFi networks and motion coprocessor data), you’ll likely find your battery drains a lot faster with two active running processes in the background.
How is this possible with Apple’s strict rules? Unlike regular non-GPS enabled apps, processes that rely on location data in order to function properly are allowed to remain active in the background indefinitely. Apple’s notorious App Store review guidelines state:
“Multitasking Apps may only use background services for their intended purposes: VoIP, audio playback, location, task completion, local notifications, etc … Location data can only be used when directly relevant to the features and services provided by the App to the user or to support approved advertising uses.”
Essentially, as a developer, you’ll need a damn good excuse to use background services, particularly location services if you’re developing for Apple’s platform. Google is less strict about this on Android, but the general rule still applies — running two or more trackers isn’t the best use of your battery life.
Maybe you’ve had it with Runkeeper, and want to switch to something else. Maybe you just bought a fancy Garmin smartwatch, but you don’t want your Strava premium account to go to waste. Tapiriik is the answer.
Sync with Tapiriik
Tapiriik is the magic glue that makes all of your favourite fitness tracking services play nice together. First you must login to your various accounts, then you can sync activities between them.
Once complete, the sessions you capture with Strava will show up in Runkeeper (for example) like any other activity, allowing you to remain competitive and connected with your friends.
Right now, Tapiriik is compatible with 13 various fitness-tracking services, and aside from the aforementioned Runkeeper, Strava and Garmin this also includes: SportTracks, Dropbox, Training Peaks, Ride with GPS, Endomondo, Motivato, Velo Hero, TrainerRoad, Smashrun and Epson Runsense.
That’s quite a list, and you’ll be forgiven for not recognising most of them — many are small services that can’t compete with the sheer number of users who opt for Runkeeper or Strava, while others are specifically designed for professional athletes, and some are tied to specific hardware.
How Do I Sync?
Syncing your activities with Tapiriik is easy:
- Head to Tapiriik.com and connect to any services you wish to sync by clicking on the relevant logos — if you’ve used multiple apps to sync multiple activities, that’s fine.
- Check the settings are as you expect for each service by hovering your mouse over it and clicking Reconfigure — you might want to force private activities to sync (disabled by default), or stop certain activities syncing with specific services.
- Click the circular sync button and watch Tapiriik sync your various activities. You can see exactly what’s being copied in the box below.
There’s no need to reconnect each service every time you sync — just login to any one of the services you have used, and Tapiriik will fetch the rest.
That Syncing Feeling
In addition to the path you took (which most apps record as an exportable .GPX file), Tapiriik tries to sync as much data as possible. This includes your overall distance, speed, heart rate, cadence, power, calories burned and temperature — though be aware you’ll need monitors for some of those metrics.
The FAQ states that Tapiriik won’t create duplicate entries within your connected services, even if you’ve tracked the same activity with multiple apps or devices (you rebel).
Can I Sync Automatically?
You sure can, but you’ll need to pay $2 per year for the privilege. As developer Collin Fair states:
“For $2/year, synchronization is fully automatic. If you can’t manage that, you can visit tapiriik.com as often as you want to manually trigger a synchronization … Synchronizing activities once costs almost nothing. Doing it 24 times a day, 365 days a year: less so. You paying $2 a year covers these costs so tapiriik will always run smoothly.”
What About Privacy?
You can assuage your privacy fears by consulting Tapiriik’s Privacy chart, which tells you exactly what is stored on their servers —–depending on the services you connect. Most of the big services use access tokens rather than storing login information, but if you opt for automatic sync, you’ll have to give up the keys to your various accounts.
Do More with Your Training Aids
Aside from fleshing-out your online fitness presence, Tapiriik can also overcome the incompatibilities that arise from certain combinations of training aids and online services. If the GPS watch, heart rate monitor, or cycle power meter you just bought only works with Garmin Connect or Runkeeper, you can use Tapiriik to copy the data to the services that matter the most to you.
Did you know that Strava can act as a rudimentary power meter? Save yourself some money on pricey hardware, and use the data elsewhere with Tapiriik. It’s also a valuable tool if ever you want to jump ship from one service to another, without losing your precious training data or the hassle that manual importing involves.
Do you use Runkeeper, Garmin or Strava? Let us know which services you’ll be syncing using Tapiriik in the comments, below.