This is the sort of feature you might have assumed Strava already had considering how long it’s been around, but no: Strava only just added the ability to DM other users, and you should see the feature in the Android and iOS apps now.
Strava says it wants to provide “an efficient avenue for athletes to coordinate adventures, connect for inspiration or tips, share their journey, and more” with the new messaging features, so if you’re already communicating with a group of Strava buddies in another chat app, now you can consider switching over.
Messaging on Strava supports both one-to-one and group chats, and you can share activities and routes. Features like message reactions are included, but other chat mainstays—like photo uploads—will be added at a later date.
How to start messaging
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You’ve got a few different options for messaging your Strava friends directly in-app. Perhaps the easiest is to open up the profile of the person you want to talk to, and tap on the Message button on their page to start a one-to-one conversation. Chat also now appears in the share options on activities, events, and routes.
There’s also a new speech bubble icon at the top of the Home and Groups tabs, and you can tap on this to jump to your list of conversations. Open up an existing chat from here, or start a new one with the compose button (top right)—select more than one recipient, and Strava starts a group chat for you.
You can message other users from their profiles.
Chatting is pretty straightforward: Type out your message and hit the orange send button. The only real extra feature to talk about is the ability to save routes with the people you’re chatting with, and that’s done via the icon to the left of the text input box.
You can bring up a few more options by long-pressing on a message you’ve sent or received. This is where the message reactions pop up, and if it’s a message of your own, then you have the option to edit or delete it. From the same pop-up menu you can also reply to individual messages to make the thread easier to understand, or copy messages (handy if they have addresses or phone numbers in them, for example).
Message reactions are available.
Tap the cog icon in the top right corner of a conversation to mute the notifications for a chat if it’s getting too busy. If you’re in a group chat, then you’ll find the options for renaming the group and managing the participants from here, and you can also give other members the option to invite more people.
Back on the main conversation list, there’s just one more feature to mention: Swipe left on a conversation to bring up a trash-can icon that lets you permanently delete the thread. It’s pretty basic as far as messaging apps go, at least for the time being, but of course its key benefit is that it’s built right into Strava.
Message privacy settings
At this time, it’s not possible to message random people on Strava. Even if you enable messaging, only the people who you follow will be able to chat with you, so you’re not going to get spammed. (Well, unless one of your friends has their Strava account hacked.)
For safety reasons, you can’t actually use messaging at all unless you’ve entered your date of birth on your Strava account. What’s more, the activity sharing inside Strava chats respect existing privacy settings: No one can suddenly post one of your private activities to their group chat, for example.
Messaging is rolling out to everyone—but you don’t have to participate.
To set your messaging privacy level, head to the conversation list via the speech bubble icon at the top of the Home or Groups tab. Tap the cog icon in the top right corner, and you can read more about how messaging works on Strava, as well as set how you want messaging to work on your account.
Your choices are Following (anyone who you follow can message you), Mutuals (people can only message you if you follow each other), and No One (no one can message you, but you can initiate chats with other people, privacy levels permitting). By default (at least on my account), you’ll be set to Mutuals.
You’ve got control over who can message you.
As far as I can tell from testing out Strava messaging, changing your privacy level doesn’t affect the conversations you’ve already started—so if you decide to switch to the No One option, it’s not going to get rid of the chats already in your inbox.
Messaging hasn’t yet made its way to the Strava website, and there’s no indication yet as to whether it ever will. You can’t change your messaging privacy level from Strava on the web either, so everything is controlled from inside the app—but you can see and manage the people you’re following on Strava in your browser.