Runkeeper's new native Apple Watch app tracks runs without iPhone

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The team behind popular fitness app Runkeeper on Thursday launched a hotly anticipated native Apple Watch companion app that lets users track runs without lugging around a paired iPhone.

The all new Runkeeper app for Apple Watch has been completely rebuilt from the ground up to support a bevy of new features that capitalize on the strengths of watchOS 2, one of the most important being untethered operation. Being a truly native app, Runkeeper grants Apple Watch users access to performance data, tracking tools and software options previously restricted to iPhone.

The latest version also taps into Apple Watch's heart rate sensor to deliver measurements while on a run or plotted out on a post-workout summary chart. Users can change the type of fitness activity directly on Watch, while a UI tweak pauses runs with a quick Force Touch or right swipe gesture.

After a run, users can query Runkeeper's music analytics function to break down exercise playlists by pace per song. The feature is compatible with iTunes, Spotify and Runkeeper DJ.

Untethering does have its drawbacks, however, as the app is unable to tap iPhone's GPS module for mapping out a run's route in the activity summary. Split times and pace charts are also deactivated when running without an iPhone, though post-workout summaries do provide detailed accounts of average run distance and duration.

Runkeeper version 6.2 requires watchOS 2 and is available now from the iOS App Store.