How does Strava Beacon work?

In this guide, we will talk about How does Strava Beacon work, the Beacon recipient view (what recipients see when they receive the text message), sending Strava Beacon message to a non-Strava user, checking if Beacon requires data to work, and some additional things that are important to know before using Strava Beacon. 

How does Strava Beacon work?

If you are asking, ‘How does Strava Beacon work?’, here we have the answer. Beacon generates a unique URL that you can share with your designated contacts through text message, allowing them to live-track your activity and movements in real-time. Depending on your cellphone company, your location should update around every 15 seconds. 

I have always wondered if there would be a device that not only acted as a GPS because even your smartphone can do that; but also a device that could send a message if I am in trouble or if I need help. Well, Strava has done it since they thought about including Beacon as a feature and the name makes total sense, also, it gives the user some sense of being safe somehow even if we can’t rely 100% on technology every time but it might be useful at some point.

Moreover, another important thing to mention about Strava Beacon is that once the Beacon feature is ON, it will continue to be ON but will prompt you to send a text message with every new recording. Even if it is set to ON, your contacts will only receive your location if you send them the generated text with the URL.

Beacon recipient view

So we know how Beacon is meant to work from a user’s perspective but what happens with those emergency contacts that get the text message? Well, according to Strava Support, your emergency contact will receive a text with a link so they can view your activity in real-time through their mobile browser. 

Additionally, they will be able to see your current location, past location and where you even started recording. This page will display your recording status and the last time it was updated. Your contact can click the down arrow to expand the view and see the activity start time, time active, and remaining battery percentage. 

Can I send Beacon to a contact who is not a Strava user?

The short answer is yes, you can send a text message to anyone in your contacts, it doesn’t matter if they don’t use Strava. The person receiving the text doesn’t need to download or have a Strava account to view your real-time activity. The recipient of your message just needs to have access to a web browser so they can see your activity.

Does Beacon require data?

Yes, Beacon needs cellular data to update your location.this means that, if you are out and you go into an area where the cellular coverage is poor, your location will not be updated until the signal reconnects again.  This can be an inconvenience in areas where the coverage is very bad, however, it is an advantage that it keeps looking for signals and it reconnects updating your location. 

Who can see my location with Beacon?

Just anyone you share the generated link to, only they can see your location while you are using Beacon. Once you have finished recording, your contacts will no longer see your current location. This reminds me of some GPS service apps that help you track your family or friends in real-time need access from them to see their location. 

We imagine that for security reasons the access is not granted just to anyone. Imagine if anyone could use Strava Beacon to locate other people without their consent, there wouldn’t be any privacy at all. This is why Satrava Beacon will ask you to input the information from your selected contacts so you can only rely on sending your location to the correct people. 

What can I do if Beacon isn’t sending the texts?

As it happens with technology, sometimes it may fail and sometimes it is just a matter of re-configuring the device or the settings to fix it. If Beacon is not sending the text, make sure you have entered the correct contact details including the country and area code. If they have your contact have received the text message but the URL indicates that the activity has not begun your phone’s GPS may need troubleshooting.

 Troubleshooting your GPS

As you may know already, GPS is the system that estimates your location on Earth using signals from a set of orbiting satellites. Let’s take a look at some of the examples of GPS issues according to Satrava Support:

  • GPS drift: The GPS track deviates from the road. You may see that the route generally follows the shape of the road but with much less precision.
  • Lost GPS signal: If the GPS signal is lost and sometime later re-acquired, the pre- and post-signal-loss points will be treated just like any other two points (although more time has elapsed between them) and connected with a straight line.
  • GPS bounce: A ‘jumpy’ GPS track can cause your activity to report more distance than you travelled since each ‘zig’ and ‘zag’ of your GPS track has to be accounted for with a straight line connecting them.

Performing a GPS troubleshooting (Reset in iOS)

If your GPS is starting to show an incorrect location or is acting weird. You could perform a GPS reset. To do this, double-tap the home button which will bring up tile sized images of all the currently running apps. Swipe the screens of all apps upwards to close all of them. Next, go to settings and turn on airplane mode. 

After you have done this, go to settings, general, reset and choose reset network settings which will require you to enter any wifi password you saved previously. Once your phone has reset go to settings, privacy, locations services, turn it off and then on again. Next, go to settings> Privacy> Location services and turn it off and then on again. 

Finally, try using the Satrava app to record for 10 minutes, letting it search for signals with a wide-open view of the sky so try to avoid having anything that could obstruct the signal such as concrete walls. If this doesn’t work, check the GPS service is working for other apps such as Waze or Apple Maps. 

Why is this blog about How does Strava Beacon work, important?

As discussed on how Strava Beacon works, we can conclude that Beacon generates a unique URL that you can share with your designated contacts through text message, allowing them to live-track your activity and movements in real-time. Depending on your cellphone company, your location should update around every 15 seconds. 

However, not everyone will have access to your location, only those you have designated and added to the app. Be careful with the information you input since it can be the reason why the text messages are not being sent. Finally, you can always do a device or GPS reset to try to solve any inconveniences. 

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How does Strava Beacon work

How does Strava live tracking work?

Strava live tracking will be very useful safety-wise since your safety contact will receive a text message with a link to view your activity in real-time through their mobile browser. They can see your current location, past location and where you started. Beacon will state your recording status and the last time this status was updated. 

Is Strava beacon free?

The Strava Beacon feature is not for free, you will need to subscribe to Strava Premium to use the new Beacon feature at a cost of approx  £4/US$6 per month or £40/US$60 per year. However, the Garmin Live Track is available free to anyone that uses the Garmin Connect app, provided you already own a Garmin Edge or Forerunner device.

Why is my Strava beacon not working?

If your Strava Beacon is not working, it could be related to the settings. Some settings are unique to the make/model of Android, so check the following:

Find and disable your phone’s battery saver settings.
If your phone has a battery management mode, turn it off instead of ‘medium’ or ‘high’.

How much does Strava beacon cost?

Strava beacon costs around $15.00/mo but right now there is a promotion of $5.00/month when billed annually. 

Is Strava worth paying for?

Some may consider Strava is worth paying for due to all the features it includes and at a reasonable price. For more than a decade, Strava users have been able to enjoy the competition of segments and leaderboards completely free but this has now changed.


Troubleshooting GPS Issues 

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