Windows Vs Apple

I feel like the software on my laptop is rather buggy, probably down to the age of my OS/ in need of an update but I’m wondering if the user experience is cleaner or easier using a Mac? I always see people on here saying their pain cave includes a Mac mini etc.

Do you still need the companion app for to pair Bluetooth with the Mac. I’ve seen comments on here which suggest the Mac picks up the TT without needing the companion app?

It’s the same game and hasn’t been buggy on any of the Windows builds I’ve put together. Assuming you have a mechanical hard drive in your laptop and are content with the visuals you have at present, rather than looking at a massive investment in a new device that won’t perform much better (if at all), I would suggest you do this instead:

  1. Save any documents you wish to keep onto an external hard drive.
  2. Make a list of any key programs, settings, shortcuts and preferences you have.
  3. Download the Windows 10 media creation tool and make a bootable USB drive.
  4. Buy an SSD and swap out your hard drive.
  5. Boot from the USB drive and clean install Windows 10 onto the SSD.
  6. Setup the programs etc from step 2 fresh, including installing Zwift.

Total cost is £20-£100 depending on the size of SSD you buy, and it will transform the real world performance of your laptop. Zwift won’t look any different or run any faster, but it will load much more quickly and a clean install is always helpful if you’ve got unspecified issues.

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Hi Dave,
My laptop is already running with an SSD, it’s quite a quick laptop (decent amount of RAM and good clock speed) and I’ve removed all other applications so it’s used solely for Zwift - zwift is up to date but I need to update Windows. On my to do list.

The problems I’m having are:

  1. I need to turn off mobile data every time I ride or my TT loses connection mid-ride. Sometimes I can pair it online, other times it’s a reboot. I’ve recently upgraded my internet to FTTP 200Mb and I have a mesh so the signal is pretty good and on wireless I get about 60 down, 30 up. It still happens though. It’s quite a stable connection to the internet/uptime.

  2. Today I had mobile data off but I experienced both TT and HR monitor losing connection. I use the latest update companion app on iPhone 11 with the latest IOS version. This has happened since I started zwift in winter last year.

  3. Screen resolution - this is down to my laptop. I have two options in the pain cave (50” plasma and full wall projector). With either the screen or projector plugged in, zwift won’t open because of the resolution. The only way I can open Zwift is by opening it first then plugging in my Projector/screen afterwards so the image quality is downgraded. This also limits what I can see no matter what ratio or resolution I choose. I have the choice of full screen which cuts off other riders nationality and part of the power/cadence indicator or a square ratio which gives a huge background/ makes my screen smaller.

  4. Companion app sometimes loses where I am. I.E. it will refresh and go back to the main menu which in turn does something similar to the above / No power/cadence detected and when I try to reconnect it can’t find my devices. I have to reboot the app and sometimes reboot my TT (and zwift).

With limited graphics and regular loss of functionality I get by but I’d like it to just power on and work rather than use multiple work arounds to get it working. That’s why I was considering a Mac if it removed the need for the companion app to connect to my TT it would probably solve a lot of my issues.

My TT is Elite Zumo and up to date.

Sounds like you have connection issues, that will stay the same even if you get a new device.

Have you tried a extension cable to get your dongle closer to the trainer.

I have better luck with ant+ on a extension cable.

Hi Gerrie,

My sensors are built into my turbo trainer and I don’t think there’s a hardwired option.

To connect, I use the companion app to detect my Turbo trainer via Bluetooth. Zwift picks up the companion app as long as both devices are on the same network.

My mobile phone is mounted on the handlebars, mounted on the same side as the sensor so there’s about 1m distance with line of sight.

Do you know of a way I could hard wire an Elite Zumo to my laptop?

There is no way to hard wire the trainer, but you can get a ant+ dongle an put it on a usb extension close to the trainer.

If your hr monitor is Bluetooth only then get a Bluetooth dongle.

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Fair enough on the SSD. :+1:

However none of those issues are down to the Zwift application on Windows, they’re problems with the connection between your trainer and your laptop, and your home setup. I think when you refer to Mac you mean an Apple TV 4K. That won’t resolve your network and signal issues by itself.

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Yup, I thought it was Apple TV I’d heard said but I just said Mac in case I’d picked that up wrong :grin:
I knew it would either be the Apple TV or a Mac mini.

It’s certainly connection related, my thoughts were using Apple TV may replace the need for the companion app as an interface while solving my resolution problems.

I’m interested in knowing more about the ANT+ cable / Bluetooth dongle because that may do the trick.

So if I were to buy ANT+ and plug it into my laptop USB, I could run it very close to the Bluetooth transmitter on my turbo trainer for a better signal?

If I do that, does that mean I don’t need to rely on the companion app as the main interface between the zwift application and my turbo trainer and zwift would detect the trainer from the ANT+ dongle?

That would save a lot of my problems. Can you get an ANT+ dongle with a Bluetooth receiver built in that would detect my HR monitor instead of the wahoo app?

Seems like you’re using the Companion App to bridge your devices to Zwift when you really shouldn’t be. Your trainer broadcasts both ANT+ and Bluetooth, you can use either and connect your devices directly to Zwift on your laptop. It’s very likely your HRM broadcasts both signals too. The built-in Bluetooth on your laptop (if you have it) will probably work btw, you don’t need to go through the Companion App even now.

However the best practice is to buy a USB dongle (I prefer ANT+, some prefer Bluetooth) with an extension cable so you can put it right next to your trainer. This gets the dongle away from interference from your computer to allow a solid connection.

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You may be an absolute life saver.

My laptop has Bluetooth and it see’s the trainer but it won’t pair with it.

It actually throws an error saying it is an incompatible device.

I’ll buy an ANT+ dongle and USB extension, thank you :grin:

Will the companion app still work to view the map and give people ride on :+1:

You don’t need to pair with the trainer in Windows (in fact that’ll cause its own problems), just start Zwift with Bluetooth turned on. You should see the Bluetooth icon top left on the pairing screen pulsing circles outwards, and be able to find your Zumo from there.

But yeah a dongle is probably better anyway because you can get it close to your trainer, whether you use ANT+ or Bluetooth. Companion app still works as normal, every other function is only reliant on being connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your laptop.

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Thanks for helping @DaveH

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Note that if you’ve been using ZCA as a BLE bridge, you may have to click the gear icon on the upper right of the pairing screen and switch BLE from ZCA to Windows.

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Good shout. :+1:

That’s what made Zwift usable for me on my laptop. Connecting without my iPhone as a bridge I often had bluetooth dropouts. It seems that some bluetooth modules start dropping packages if a certain package size is exceeded.

I never had a dropout on my iPad, nor after using the iPhone as a bridge. The BLE modules in these seem to be superior to those often used in laptops.

Probably to do with interference from the rest of the device.

Best option on anything with a USB port is a dongle (ANT+ or Bluetooth) and extension cable, and connecting your training kit directly to Zwift. Anything else is an unnecessary compromise, even if it works.

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I use an Avantree DG40S BLE dongle on a powered USB extension cable. I never have any dropouts.

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Hello guys, may start another thread on this. I bought the ANT+ dongle and USB cable on prime last night and it has arrived already.

No joy in getting it to work so far.
I’ve updated the device driver in case that was the issue but no joy:
ANTplus device manager

I’ve tried it in three different USB ports, I’ve tried with USB extension and direct into my laptop with the laptop close to the Turbo Trainer.

When I open zwift and search for my turbo trainer, I can see the ANT+ dongle ison and searching.

Sometimes it picks up my Elite Zumo then instantly says no signal, other times it picks up nothing at all.

On the top right settings it asks to use bluetooth on PC or companion app but it doesn’t mention ANT+ ?

Unpair everything. Click controllable and select the FE-C option. Power and cadence should pair themselves, but if not go into those and select the FE-C option there too. That’s it, done. You’re not using Bluetooth.

To clarify, FE-C is ANT+.

Unpaired everything.
It takes a very long time until it finds my Turbo trainer and as soon as it completes, it immediately pops up no signal.

The device search takes well over a minute before it finds my turbo trainer. It can only find the controllable section, can’t find power or cadence.