Consistently pair bluetooth sensors to Android Companion app with Apple TV 4k


(Aaron Zwanzig) #1

If you have been struggling, as I have, to get your sensors to pair through the Android companion app while using Zwift on the Apple TV without the sensor reporting “No Signal”, I have some good news. I have finally figured out how to get all of my bluetooth sensors paired while using Apple TV 4k with Android Companion app. Due to limitations with ATV, only 2 ble devices in addition to the remote can be paired directly. It is necessary to rely on the companion app to pair any additional sensors. Because of some quirks either in the way Zwift on ATV works or how the ATV itself works, getting those additional sensors to pair with the companion app has been an aggravating struggle. Before now, when pairing through the companion app the sensor would report “No Signal.” I finally figured out a process that consistently works to get the additional sensors paired to the companion app.

I’m running Zwift on an Apple TV 4k.
I’m running Android companion app on a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, with Android version 8.0.0.
Android Companion app version 2.4.5.

My process is as follows:

  1. First choose which sensor you want paired to the companion app and remove its battery. Because you have to remove its battery you will want to choose a sensor that has easy access to its battery. For me it is my Wahoo Tickr heart rate monitor. I would prefer to have my cadence sensor paired to the companion app, but because the battery is difficult to get at I use the Tickr as my companion paired sensor.

  2. Start Zwift on Apple TV and log in to the pairing screen. Make sure that Zwift is using the ATV bluetooth to pair devices rather than the mobile app for pairing. If the icon in the upper left corner looks like a stand-alone bluetooth B with pulsating rings emanating from it you’re good to go. If it looks like a mobile phone with a bluetooth B along with an orange button indicating “Use Apple TV bluetooth instead”, go ahead and click the button.

  3. Pair your power meter/trainer and the one other sensor you will pair directly with the ATV. I use a Wahoo Kickr smart trainer and the Wahoo RPM cadence meter as my sensors paired directly through the ATV.

  4. Replace the battery in the Tickr and pair it to the ATV. This step seems counter-intuitive but is necessary. In order to pair a sensor to the companion app you have to get Zwift to use the bluetooth sensor on your mobile device rather than the ATV internal bluetooth. There is no button or option within Zwift to manually make that switch. By replacing the battery in the Tickr, Zwift senses the third device and opens a dialog with an option to switch to using the companion app to pair additional devices. It would be handy if Zwift were to program a means of manually choosing to use the companion app for bluetooth, similar to how you can manually choose to go back to using the ATV bluetooth.

  5. Choose YES to pair additional sensors using the companion app. Make sure that the bluetooth icon in the upper left corner of the screen has turned into a mobile phone with a bluetooth B along with an orange button to go back to using the ATV bluetooth. Do NOT click that button.

  6. Click on the heart rate monitor tile to disconnect the heart rate monitor.

  7. Remove the battery from the Tickr and count 30 Mississippis. Again, a counter-intuitive step but absolutely necessary. When you replaced the battery earlier and tried to pair with the ATV, the Tickr actually did get paired with the ATV even though the ATV doesn’t have any additional bluetooth channels. I don’t know how it does it, but it does. Due to the monogomous nature of bluetooth, once a device is paired to the ATV nothing else can pair with it until it unpairs from the ATV. But the ATV has no means of manually unpairing a sensor used in Zwift. So you have to take the battery out of the sensor and wait for its paired connection to time out. It seems to take 20 or 30 seconds for that to happen.

  8. Start up the companion app and make sure bluetooth is enabled. This step could have been done earlier. It doesn’t seem to matter when its done. I’ve seen recommendations to start the companion app before your start Zwift on ATV, but I have been finding that it doesn’t matter using this process.

  9. Replace the battery in the Tickr.

  10. Click the heart rate monitor tile on the pairing screen in Zwift on the ATV. You should see the Tickr listed as an available sensor with an icon on the right hand side that looks like a mobile phone with a bluetooth B. If the icon just looks like a bluetooth B without the mobile phone then something went wrong and the sensor will not pair with the companion app, and you should go back to step 6.

  11. Click on the Tickr in the available sensors window, and RIDE ON! The Tickr should now be paired to the companion app. You can confirm this by looking at the bluetooth icon near the upper right hand corner of the game screen in the companion app. If that icon is blue, and when you tap on it brings up a window indicating that the Tickr is connected, then you are good to go. If the icon is orange then no devices are connected and there is a problem, meaning you should probably go back to step 6. If the icon is grey then your bluetooth is not enabled.

Kurt Kinetic Trainer receiving 'No Signal' when pairing with Android Zwift Companion
Apple Watch
(🚴🏼‍♂️) #2

That’s great, but wow!!!

Using ATV was meant to be easier and quicker option to use Zwift, not sure that fulfills that! (not directed at you btw).

(Aaron Zwanzig) #3

In my experience, if you only have 2 devices to pair it goes very easily. It was getting the third to pair that became a chore. My backup plan if i couldn’t find a way to make it work was to purchase an ant+ to bluetooth bridge and get everything consolidated into one bluetooth channel.

And maybe I’m doing something wrong from the beginning. I don’t know. They’re seems to be a lack of complaining about this issue so maybe I’m one of a just a few having problems.

(Rob Case) #4

I just connect everything through the companion app. As long as you have it running alongside zwift on the same WiFi, I have had zero issues pairing my smart trainer, cadence and HR sensors. I ran into issues previously with splitting the sensors between the Apple TV and the companion app, now it’s a non issue.

(Aaron Zwanzig) #5

@tuxkilla are you using the companion app on an android device? And, how do you get zwift on apple tv to look for bluetooth devices on the companion app without first filling the 2 bluetooth channels on the apple tv?

(🚴🏼‍♂️) #6

My issue has been at the holding pen for events, I get logged in, get all devices connected etc. There might be a few minute gap before doing any warm up, and all my connections are gone. That can be really frustrating when that happens.

(Rob Case) #7

I am using the iOS companion app, but I had the same issues. FWIW, this is what worked for me. I have a Kickr Core, Wahoo cadence sensor and a Tickr. I connected two of them to the Apple TV, and then the third to the phones bluetooth, then turned off Zwift and rebooted the apple TV. When it came back on, it was only looking at the phones bluetooth connection and I was able to connect all three via the companion app. Whenever I start Zwift, I make sure the companion app is up before the sensor selection screen, and it seems to work perfectly.

(Chris Lenthall ) #8

I have the 4K Apple TV ,kickr core , wahoo cadence sensor and ticker heart rate monitor , I was having constant problems try to get all connected to the Zwift app and companion app and tried many different ways with not much joy, I have since bought the 4iiii viiiiva heart rate with Bluetooth bridge monitor, connected my cadence sensor to the 4iiii and now when I start Zwift on the 4K Apple TV everything connects to that ,I don’t even need to use the companion app , I bought it from Halfords ( UK ) got them to price match and then used my cycling UK discount for a further 10% of , I would recommend it

(Aaron Zwanzig) #9

Thanks @Chris_Lenthall. An ant+ bridge was going to be my back up plan if i couldn’t get it to work with ble directly. Fortunately, between my complicated work-around and @tuxkilla much simpler alternative, it’s been working out for me.

(John Kelsch (Free Flite) ) #10

Wow, I have tried everything to get it to work. Thanks for the tip! Using Apple TV with Wahoo Kicker, Ticker HR and Wahoo Cadence sensor. Now that I have it working correctly will I have to repeat the steps in the future or should the companion app consistently pick up the third sensor going forward!

(Aaron Zwanzig) #11

It seems that if you can get a device paired properly to the companion app, next time all you have to do after selecting to use the companion app bluetooth is unpair the device and repair it.

(Aaron Zwanzig) #12

I should add that my experience with a device being discovered by the companion app after unpairing and repairing is hit and miss. I have to remove the battery and replace it to get the companion app to discover the device at least half the time.