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Zwift Companion app woes

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Zwift Companion app woes

Old 02-06-21, 09:12 AM
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bblair
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Zwift Companion app woes

This topic has probably been beaten to death, but here we are again.

After a month of success, my Zwift Companion app doesn't see me as "in-game." Nothing about my setup has changed. Great wi fi strength. I have tried all the using stuff like reconnection, turning off cell connection and so on. It does show stats such as currently active riders and if any of my favorites are online.

I can never type while riding anyway, but it is a nice distraction.
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Old 02-06-21, 11:04 AM
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the biggest thing I found is if your using wireless data it will never work, you almost have to be on a wifi for it to work as you in game controls. I found if I am using the app it HAS to be on wifi. After I figured this out it works flawless for me.

but your issue sounds more in-depth though.
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Old 02-06-21, 11:43 AM
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What I've found is that if my iPhone is getting WiFi from the secondary router in the back of the house, the signal is too weak and, like you, it doesn't see me in the game. AND if I switch to the router in the kitchen with the Companion Ap open, it STILL won't see me in the game. I have to switch routers, THEN open the ap.

No idea if this is the issue you're having, of course.
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Old 02-06-21, 12:32 PM
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I bought a USB ANT+ dongle on ebay to solve the connection problem. Also I found that on my router I have a guest network and private network. Sometimes my phone connects to the guest network while my desktop computer is connected to the private network. This will cause the problem.
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Old 02-06-21, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by sdmc530 View Post
the biggest thing I found is if your using wireless data it will never work, you almost have to be on a wifi for it to work as you in game controls. I found if I am using the app it HAS to be on wifi. After I figured this out it works flawless for me.

but your issue sounds more in-depth though.
you do know that the "wi" in wifi means wireless, right?
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Old 02-06-21, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
you do know that the "wi" in wifi means wireless, right?
I presumed he meant 'cellular data'.
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Old 02-06-21, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
I presumed he meant 'cellular data'.
ahh, now that would be a problem.
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Old 02-06-21, 02:40 PM
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Make sure you’re running the latest versions of Z and the companion app.
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Old 02-06-21, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
ahh, now that would be a problem.

ahh sorry, I did mean cell data...sorry I didn't word that very well.
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Old 02-08-21, 07:40 AM
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The only times I'ver had had the companion app *not* go in game was when my iPad was using cellular data vs. my Wifi and once where for some reason my iPad connected to the next door neighbor's unsecured WiFi AP!

The device running the companion app has to be on the same local network as computer running the Zwift game app, that generally means the same Wifi access point.
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Old 02-09-21, 10:43 AM
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Solved...I hope.

There has been much written about being on the same network. I only have one, or so I thought. Apparently my laptop was connecting on the 2.4 GHz band and my phone on the 5 GHZ. I couldn't figure out how to switch, so I just disconnected and reconnected and both the same. And...it worked.

Sample of one, so we'll see next time I decide to torture myself.
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Old 02-09-21, 11:28 AM
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I don't think it has anything to do with the WiFi bands. I use Zwift on a laptop connected by ethernet. When the Companion app doesn't see me in-game, I force stop the app and restart. It always works after that.
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Old 02-10-21, 04:55 AM
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There was one other condition that I found the companion app would not go to the map, but that seems to have been fixed in one of the recent updates:

If I had joined a group ride or meetup in advance, when I started the companion app a "Do you want to join xxx ride now" and if I said no, the companion app would *not* go to the map. I'd have to restart the app to do so. That no longer happens - click "No" and it goes right to the map.

Last edited by jpescatore; 02-11-21 at 06:31 AM.
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Old 02-10-21, 02:20 PM
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The companion app crushes my phone battery. Does anyone else have this problem? My iPhone is a few years old (it's an 8 plus), but otherwise the battery is fine for normal use. The Zwift companion app will eat at least 50% of my battery in 1 hour.

I find the companion app useful, but sometimes avoid it just so I don't have to recharge my phone.
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Old 02-12-21, 10:16 AM
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Forget my previous "solution."

Today, I checked and double checked that phone and laptop were on the same band. Started Zwift first, then companion. Worked for a minute, then froze. Never could get back on.
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Old 02-15-21, 06:52 PM
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Today's attempt:
Rebooted laptop. Assured that both were on the same 5GHz wireless band. After I started to ride, I launched Z Companion and it worked!

For about 10 minutes.

Very good wifi signal.

Didn't really matter as it was a solo adventure and no one to message anyway.
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Old 02-16-21, 01:41 PM
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I was having some crash/freeze problems using older hardware, in this case an older iPad for the main Zwift app - which could not upgrade to current v14 of iOS (old device maxed at v12.6). Upgraded the hardware to a current iPad and all gremlins are gone. Not saying this is a fix for you, but do beware of any "behind current" status of software or hardware. This virtual bike theater is becoming a rather complex toolchain.
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Old 02-16-21, 07:28 PM
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There are (sadly) a multitude of potential problems involved in this thread.

First, to the person who has battery drain: it's not the zwift companion app, per se, that is draining your battery. It's that your set up is somehow necessitating your phone's connection tech (bluetooth radio; wifi receiver) to do a lot. And it may be something you can't fix (e.g., IOS is notorious for having bluetooth and/or wifi drain batteries).

Bblair, I had the same issues, and worked with the same presumptions for solutions. I will add a note of editorial vitriol: I think Zwift is just terribly-executed software (albeit some great game design). Buggy, old, and they have a super-messed-up (please use profanity here, even though I can't) tendency to blame USERS (!!!!!) for not having Apple TV or their preferred configuration.

They're a dreadful software company behind an absorbing and fun cycling game. Reduce your expectations accordingly.

Ultimately, I had to consider the following variants:
- Zwift not only was frequently updating (Nov, 2020) but the updates were addressing bugs and were themselves buggy. You really might want to uninstall and reinstall the master app.
- You have a dual-band router. I'm already into a long post, so I'll try to keep this overly short: use 2.4Ghz networks for whatever is running Zwift AND Zwift Companion.
- 2.4 can compete with bluetooth. What a headache, but I solved it thusly: I just turn off my phone's BLE before I go near my garage.
- Yes, I tried ANT+ and for the sake of brevity will just say that my laptop / KICKR CORE / Samsung phone trinity seemed 'happier' when the phone had its bluetooth off, the laptop only had to talk to the CORE (and a HR monitor).
- Boot sequence mattered as I was sorting this out. I'd reboot the KICKR, boot the laptop, then start ZC on my phone.

My final observation could well be hallucination: for some reason, after I metaphorically banged all of these teensy details around, I had several stable Zwift sessions in a row. I hadn't done anything differently, and this was NOT across a Zwift update. Nonetheless, it seemed almost that the devices "got used to" looking for one another, and now even though nothing has changed the entire set up is far more stable. In fact, it's up and running within 60 seconds.

I wish I knew enough about such tech to tell you why that may or may not be a real observation, but I can tell you that as an end user, I find it exasperating. Zwift's Eric Min sure has made the rounds on media about how he raised $400M in VC and is going to take on Peloton with a smart bike, but he can't drop a few mil to have a less-finicky product? THEIR SOLE PRODUCT, I might add, unless you consider the posters and jerseys part of their path to world domination (hint: it isn't, it's just clever marketing).

As a final (probably tiresome) remark on this topic, I am also a Rouvy rider and find that Rouvy unintentionally makes my point about how shoddy Zwift is as a programming house: Rouvy has horrendous on-boarding, profoundly sorrowful websites, and has committed so many GUI sins (THREE separate applications??!??!) that it is remarkable they are still in business. They are hapless.

However, once you start pedaling, their software .... just works. And works well. I had literally zero issues with connecting to Rouvy and making it work. In fact, despite finding much about Rouvy to be Keystone Kops level tragi-comic (one example: multi-ride "challenges" that tell you how many - but not which rides - you've completed), it has a great feel to rides, and of course: routes from around the globe.

If the hamster-on-treadmill, stoned-German-grad-student outfit that is Rouvy can connect to my stuff, what on earth is Zwift's excuse? (BTW: one of their buggy 'updates' not only wasn't addressed for six days "because it was a long holiday weekend" (LOLOLOLOL ... million users get effed, eh?), they simply stopped responding to support requests during that time. You'd have been forgiven for thinking they'd gone bankrupt. But hey, no, they just had a bad week, I guess. Which wasn't much comfort to people who saw 30 miles worth of training rides freeze and crash.

I digress.

Try the tweaks I listed to make your set up work a few times in a row, and maybe you'll get the same stability I did. Or not. Zwift only knows.
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Old 02-17-21, 09:30 AM
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I digress.

Try the tweaks I listed to make your set up work a few times in a row, and maybe you'll get the same stability I did. Or not. Zwift only knows.[/QUOTE]

Although I am fairly good at doing my own maintenance, trouble shooting and setup, some of Zwift's suggestions are just not very user-friendly. At all. The fact that there are so many possible solutions tells me that there is no solution at all.
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Old 02-17-21, 01:45 PM
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I don't like the fact that it burns through my phone battery in 2 hours. Not sure why that is, maybe it's pinging gps for no reason.
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Old 02-17-21, 07:55 PM
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Today:
Rebooted laptop. Turned off wifi on phone, force stop Z Companion, even though it was closed. Started up Zwift. This only took 15 minutes. Once in-game (missed the start of my event), wifi on phone, started up Z Companion and it worked perfectly.

It appears as though I need at least half an hour to get ready to Zwift, but I do a spin down and get warmed up.

Good news: my event allowed late join. Bad news: I was soon spit out the back and it didn't matter.
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Old 02-21-21, 11:19 AM
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Recall that in my post (overly long bcos venting) I had a very similar sequence.

Initial frustrations, specifically lack of functionality as well as a dropped signals and program crashes. This went as far as 1) returning a PC to Costco to get a laptop with more power; and 2) having to reset Windows on the new laptop due to poor driver behavior after a botched ANT+ attempt.

I then 'graduated to the next level' - intermittent functionality with a reduction in crashes and drops.

Ultimately, the crashes and drops have ceased (touch wood, heading to the garage in a little while), apropos of absolutely nothing other than repetition. As a customer, I find that terribly frustrating. As a rider - meh; at least I can ride.
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Old 02-22-21, 12:33 PM
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Personally, I only have this problem when the phone running the companion app and the main game app (on my ipad) are not on the exact same wifi network.
When they are, I have no problems at all.
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Old 02-23-21, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by bblair View Post
Today:
Rebooted laptop. Turned off wifi on phone, force stop Z Companion, even though it was closed. Started up Zwift. This only took 15 minutes. Once in-game (missed the start of my event), wifi on phone, started up Z Companion and it worked perfectly.

It appears as though I need at least half an hour to get ready to Zwift, but I do a spin down and get warmed up.

Good news: my event allowed late join. Bad news: I was soon spit out the back and it didn't matter.
Cant help on the companion app beyond saying it needs to be on the same wireless network as the game, which has already been said to death here.

I ran zwift thru my laptop for 2 years and it was easily one of the most frustrating activities I chose to participate in. Heck, its the only frustrating thing i chose to participate in since I dont like frustrating things. Add to that the fact that I paid money to get annoyed and its embarrassing to think about!
Anyways, I bought an appleTV just for the zwift app and its been incredible. I can log in 2 min before an event and ill get thru the setup and to the start before the event begins. That wont fix your companion app issues, but maybe itll help with loading the game.

Your recap made me anxious just reading it because I could feel the frustration.
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Old 02-23-21, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Cant help on the companion app beyond saying it needs to be on the same wireless network as the game, which has already been said to death here.

..............................................
Your recap made me anxious just reading it because I could feel the frustration.
The last few times it has worked great. Reboot my laptop. Force stop companion app and don't restart until I see my avatar on the road. Might have hit on something, or might be dumb luck.

Hard for me to type while working my ass off to keep up, but finished a SOLID 500th out of 650 riders last time! Of course, the way I tell the story is that 150 riders were behind me.....
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