How does Automatic Tracking work?

Kerri French - 11 May 2018

What is Automatic Tracking and what can be recognised?

This feature can be switched on to track your methods of travel automatically instead of manually selecting the activity type yourself and then switching it off at the end.

It can detect: walking, running, cycling and being in a vehicle (by default this assumes the sole occupancy of a car.) It cannot detect: public transport journeys, car-sharing and scooting.

Automatic tracking is only available in some BetterPoints programmes. This will be specified in your programme description. If you need help finding this or understanding more about what is or isn't available in your area please contact us via the in app Help section. 

Things to note with Automatic Tracking:

The app works better if the phone is in your pocket rather than a bag, especially for detecting cycling.

The amount of BetterPoints you can earn will not be different if you use Automatic Tracking – it just might help you have an accurate record of activities if you sometimes forget to track your journeys.

Most current smartphones will support automatic tracking,see below for which ones.

Activities recorded by Automatic Tracking will not show up on your device straight away, as it can take up to 15 minutes from stopping an activity for it to appear in your timeline.

Can my smartphone run Automatic Tracking?

To run Automatic Tracking, your smartphone must have something called a motion co-processor or accelerometer that monitors movement of your phone. The following smartphones can run Automatic Tracking:

Android Smartphones 4.1 (or later) 

iPhone 5s (or later)

iPad Air (or later)

Any earlier handsets (including the iPhone 5c) will not be able to run Automatic Tracking and it will not appear on your handset. You can still track all your activities manually using the select activity function.

Using battery saving mode may also impact how accurately Automatic Tracking works.

How does Automatic Tracking work?

The app monitors movement of the phone and will start registering a movement when the device has moved a significant distance. This can sometimes mean it appears a bit slow at picking up the start of an activity (especially on iOS, we have found.) Once recording, waypoints are uploaded to the server as you move. When the waypoints stop for a significant time (about five minutes) we mark the activity as complete. The activity will be listed on the app if it is longer than five minutes total duration, and four "moving and qualifying" minutes. Activities like walking around your home will not be picked up. Once an activity is registered as complete, BetterPoints or BetterTickets can be applied to it.

Automatic Tracking doesn't seem to track me well

On some Android smartphones, there is a power-saving feature that switches the BetterPoints app off. Go to settings, select battery and then from the sub-menu select battery optimisation. If the setting on your smartphone is to "optimise" usage for the BetterPoints app, the app will stop working in the background if you've not interacted with it for a long time. Select ‘not optimised’ to improve the Automatic Tracking.

Will Automatic Tracking affect my battery life?

The app will use slightly more battery life this way, so we recommend you charge your mobile overnight. Once it detects movement, the app will turn the GPS on and when stationary or not moving much – it turns off (so it shouldn't use too much battery when still.)

But if in doubt you can always use the alternative which is recording your activities manually when you start/finish your walk, run or cycle. the key thing is making this habit and it becomes second nature. 

Do use the HELP section of the app for further info and for our customer care team