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How to update your Garmin to the latest software through Connect or Express

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Ensuring you have the latest software installed on your Garmin watch is essential to getting the best experience. Not only do you receive all of the latest feature additions, but regularly updating your Garmin - whether it's a Forerunner, Fenix, Quatix or Vivoactive - also helps get rid of any niggling bugs that may be undermining performance.

Luckily, updating one of the sports watches is a simple process, and the majority of users will be updating without even realising. In this guide, we'll tell you how to check if you're running the latest software, as well as details on automatic and manual updates.

Do you have the latest software?

How to update your Garmin to the latest software through Connect or Express

Software updates can be large or small and, unlike iOS or Android, they’re unique to the specific Garmin models. For example, v4.20 was specific to Forerunner 645 and offered small bug fixes, like an issue for New Zealand users when sunrise and sunset times weren't adapting to daylight savings, and a problem where non-GPS activities were being displayed in the Navigation menu.

Whether it’s new tools or simply ensuring the device is running well, you’re going to want the latest version pushed to your wrist.

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To check the software version of your Garmin

1. Head to Settings > About.

2. Here, you’ll see the Unit ID (the serial number), as well as the software version (e.g. 5.70 (1517997)). This information can be really handy if you’re having problems with your watch and need to troubleshoot through customer support. The easiest way to access the software version history is to perform a web search - '[device name and model] updates and downloads'. Here, you should see results from the official Garmin site, like this Forerunner 945 example, where you can cross reference your software version with the ones listed.

Automatic software updates

How to update your Garmin to the latest software through Connect or Express

Updating the software on most Garmin watches can be an afterthought once you’re paired with the Garmin Connect mobile app. Automatic software updates are the default, but, to check this setting is enabled, you’ll need to dive deep into the settings on the watch.

1.Long press on the top button to bring up the system menus.

2. Scroll down to Settings and select Start/Stop. 3. From here choose System and scroll all the way down to the bottom of the menu. 4. Here you’ll find Software Update.

5. Use the select button to toggle between on and off.

When enabled, software updates will automatically be transmitted to the watch via the mobile app. When there’s an update available, the Garmin Connect app will automatically download in the background and install it. Your watch will likely reset at the end of the process.

Manual software updates

If you toggle Automatic Software Updates to Off within Settings > System, new versions will not automatically be updated to the handset. In these instances, you have to go looking for them.

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Follow the same route as listed above, and, if an update has been downloaded by the Garmin Connect app, you’ll have the opportunity to hit Install to apply it to your watch.

1.Long press on the top button to bring up the system menus.

2. Scroll down to Settings and select Start/Stop.

3. From here choose System and scroll all the way down to the bottom of the menu.

4. Here you’ll find Software Update.

5. You’ll see the version (e.g. v4.60 available), the option to Install Now and the estimated time said installation will take.

6. Press select to confirm.

Update on your computer using Garmin Express

How to update your Garmin to the latest software through Connect or Express

If you’re not using the Garmin Connect smartphone app to wirelessly sync your watch, you can hook up to a Mac or Windows PC via a physical connection. This involves plugging the charging cable into the USB port of your laptop or desktop and connecting your watch. If you don’t have the Garmin Express app, you can download it it here. Follow the on-screen instructions to pair your device. If you don’t have a Garmin Connect account, you’ll need to set one up.

Once plugged in, the Garmin Express app should automatically open, showing the status of your watch. If you have automatic software updates enabled (see above) Garmin Express will send it to your device.

If automatic updates are turned off, you’ll be informed new firmware is available. Either way, follow the on-screen instructions and do not disconnect the watch from the computer during the update process.

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