How to change your privacy settings on Strava’s new messaging feature

Two phones showing Strava's new Spotify integration
(Image credit: Strava)

Strava has introduced one-on-one and group messaging to its app, in a bid to lure people away from Whatsapp and encourage athletes to chat to each other, organize runs and rides, and share their runs, rides, and images on platform. 

Already one of the best fitness apps, Strava messaging may be an attempt to create more of a social network feel within the app, but it’s raising some hotbed issues regarding the safety of potentially vulnerable runners and cyclists, especially women, and dealing with unsolicited messages. 

Some fantastic articles, such as this piece from our sibling publication Cycling Weekly, have been drawing attention to the implications such a feature could have.

While Strava always gives the user the power to opt out of features like route sharing, the potential for someone to track a user’s regular running or cycling route and contact the user directly, without invitation, is a disturbing one. However, like many of its features, Strava has included the option to opt out or lock down your messaging feature so that it’s more secure, and we’ll dive into those features below.

Quick Steps

  1. Open Strava's messaging feature
  2. Go into settings
  3. Change your Who can message you setting

Tools and requirements

  • An iPhone or Android phone
  • A Strava account, either free or Premium
  • The Strava app

How to start a chat in Strava Messaging

Open Strava messaging

(Image: © Future)

1. Open your phone and tap on the Strava icon.

2. Tap the new speech-bubble icon at the top right of your screen. 

Start a chat

(Image: © Future)

3. Tap on the square-and-pencil icon at the top right of your screen. This will bring up a list of the Strava users you follow.

4. Tap on a name to select a user, or multiple names to start a group chat. Select Create at the top right of the screen.

5. You can now start chatting, reacting, and replying to messages in the same way you can over iMessage or Whatsapp.

How to change who can message you in Strava

You can toggle who can start a conversation with you in the app, in order to protect yourself from unwanted messages. Here’s how: 

Open Strava messaging

(Image: © Future)

1. Open your phone and tap on the Strava icon.

2. Tap the new speech-bubble icon at the top right of your screen. 

Go into settings

(Image: © Future)

3. Rather than selecting a name to message, tap the cog icon on the top-right of your screen. 

4. This should take you into Settings, where you’re presented with a list of options titled “Who can message you”.

Select your preference

(Image: © Future)

5.  Following means anyone you follow will be able to message you. Mutuals mean people will only be able to message you if you follow each other. No one means you cannot be messaged first, but once you start a conversation with someone, they can reply. 

It’s worth noting once you start messaging someone, they can message you back (even if you delete the conversation) as long as you still follow them.  

How to report a message to Strava

Strava messaging also allows you to flag messages to alert Strava's moderators of inappropriate content. 

Open Strava messaging

(Image: © Future)

1. Open your phone and tap on the Strava icon.

2. Tap the new speech-bubble icon at the top right of your screen. 

3. Tap on the chat containing the message you want to flag. 

Flag the message

(Image: © Future)

1. Press down with your finger on the message you want to flag. A window will open presenting you with options. Tap Flag Message.

2. Tap the red Flag button on the second pop-up window. 

Final Thoughts

Strava messaging has the potential to, if not be a complete game-changer, at least provide easier access to chat and meet up with your fellow runners and riders. If you don't want to exchange personal phone numbers, it's a good way to arrange meet-ups with run club attendees, for example. However, know how to use the above features will help keep you safer and secure. 

Matt Evans
Fitness, Wellness, and Wearables Editor

Matt is TechRadar's expert on all things fitness, wellness and wearable tech. A former staffer at Men's Health, he holds a Master's Degree in journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands like Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well on everything fitness tech, exercise, nutrition and mental wellbeing.


Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the odd yoga flow, and insists everyone should stretch every morning. When he’s not training or writing about health and fitness, he can be found reading doorstop-thick fantasy books with lots of fictional maps in them.