Tips for turning your phone into a cycle computer

Posted at: May 28, 2021

A smartphone can be turned into a cycle computer by simply adding an app. We have compiled a list of tips to check when turning your smartphone into a cycle computer.

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Two important things to consider when using your phone as a cycle computer

There are two important points to consider when using your phone as a cycle computer.

  1. additional data acquisition and accuracy improvement
  2. battery life

These are the two most important points.

By adding these two points to your phone, you can make your phone as powerful as a top-end cycle computer.

Add a Bluetooth sensor

You can measure cadence and speed.

The cycle computer app on your phone usually obtains speed data by GPS instantaneous measurement. If you want to get more accurate data, it is useful to add a Bluetooth type sensor.

With a Bluetooth type sensor, you can get more detailed data of your ride, since you can also get “cadence” and “heart rate,” which cannot be obtained with GPS.

Some apps can take your heart rate from your Apple Watch.

It depends on the app, but some iOS cycle computer apps can get heart rate data from your Apple Watch.

An expensive heart rate sensor costs more than $100, so having an Apple Watch that can be used for other purposes is convenient in many ways.

Improving battery life

Use a case with a built-in battery or a light with a charging function

The biggest weakness of using your phone as a cycle computer is the battery life.

When you use your phone as a cycle computer, the screen and GPS are always running, so the battery will not last. In some cases, the battery may only last about three hours. This is not enough for long rides, so you need to expand the battery.

There is a way to connect a mobile battery from a top tube bag or the like, but there is a risk of the battery shorting out in sudden rain, so using a case with a built-in battery or a light with a charging function is convenient.

When choosing a case with a built-in battery or a light with a charging function, you can rest assured that the battery capacity is approximately three times the capacity of the main unit. For example, the latest iPhone models have a larger battery capacity of around 3,000mAh, while smaller models such as the iPhone 8 have only 2,000mAh, so it is better to choose a case with at least 5,000mAh.

Set your phone to dark mode

The dark mode on your phone is a black-based screen that reduces the power consumption of the LCD backlight, thus improving battery life.

When using your phone as a cycle computer, the screen is always on, so it is best to choose a cycle computer app that has a dark mode.

Use offline mode.

This one also works differently depending on the app, but some cycle computer apps have an “offline mode” that limits the use of background data.

Offline mode can improve battery life by limiting data communication and only using data from GPS and sensors.

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Use your phone as a cyclocomputer.

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