Garmin Watch Screen Problems: 7 Common Display Issues (Explained)

Garmin watches, renowned for their impressive fitness tracking capabilities and smartwatch functionalities, have garnered a significant following among users. 

Unfortunately, like any electronic device, these watches are not exempt from encountering display issues.

In this article, we explore some of the commonly reported display issues experienced with Garmin watches and provide insights into potential causes and solutions.

Your Garmin’s Screen goes Blank

One of the most common issues reported by Garmin watch users is a completely blank or unresponsive screen. 

This problem can be very frustrating when you’re trying to access important data or the time. Fortunately, there are several potential causes and solutions to explore.

One possible reason for a blank screen is a drained battery. If your Garmin watch hasn’t been charged in a while, it may have run out of power. 

  • In such cases, connecting the watch to its charging cable and charging it for a sufficient time is often the remedy. 
  • Make sure the charging cable is securely connected to both the watch and a power source. Once the watch has charged, try turning it on again.

Software glitches can also lead to a blank screen.

  • Just like any electronic device, Garmin watches can experience occasional software hiccups. 
  • In such situations, performing a hard reset can often resolve the issue. 

Here’s how to initiate a hard reset on your Garmin watch:

  1. Locate the power button on your Garmin watch. The position of the power button may vary depending on the model of your watch, but it is typically found on the side or front of the device.
  2. Press and hold the power button down for approximately 15 to 20 seconds. Make sure to maintain a steady pressure on the button throughout this duration.
  3. As you continue to hold down the power button, you may notice the screen going blank or the watch vibrating. This indicates that the device is powering off.
  4. After the screen goes blank or the vibration occurs, release the power button.
  5. Wait for a few moments, and then press the power button again to turn the watch back on.
  6. Once the watch restarts, check if the screen becomes responsive again. You should see the Garmin logo or a loading screen, indicating that the device is booting up.

If the problem persists even after charging the watch and performing a hard reset, there may be an underlying hardware malfunction. 

If this is your problem, I recommend contacting Garmin customer support for further assistance.

Garmin’s support team has expertise in diagnosing and resolving hardware-related issues and can guide you through additional troubleshooting steps or recommend repair options if necessary.

Please also read our article, Garmin Watch Problems: Restarting & Resetting (6 Known Issues).

Your Garmin’s Screen is Flickering

If you are experiencing a flickering or flashing screen on your Garmin watch, it can be a highly annoying experience. 

Flickering screens on Garmin watches can typically be caused by either a software bug or a loose connection between the screen and the watch’s internal system.

Here are some steps you can take to try to resolve this issue:

Update the Firmware:

Garmin frequently releases updates to address glitches and bugs and improve the overall performance of its watches. 

To update the firmware on your Garmin watch, follow these steps:

    1. Connect your watch to your computer using the provided USB cable.
    2. Visit the official Garmin website and download the Garmin Express software.
    3. Install Garmin Express on your computer and launch the application.
    4. Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your watch and check for available firmware updates.
    5. If an update is available, proceed with the installation and let the process complete.
    6. Once the firmware update is finished, disconnect your watch from the computer and check if the screen flickering issue persists.

Please note, some Garmin wearers have experienced issues with their watch after a firmware update. If this is the case for you, please read our article for solutions to Garmin watch update problems.

Check for Loose Connections:

It is always a good idea to double-check all the connecting points of your watch.

To address this, you can try the following steps:

  • Power off your Garmin watch and remove it from your wrist.
  • Carefully inspect the edges of the screen to ensure there are no visible gaps or irregularities.
  • Gently press on the edges of the screen to ensure it is securely attached to the watch’s body.
  • If you notice any gaps or suspect a loose connection, consider contacting Garmin’s customer support for further assistance or to inquire about repair options.

Your Garmin’s Screen is Touchscreen Unresponsive

One of the key features of Garmin watches is their touchscreen interface, allowing users to interact with the device in a seamless and intuitive manner. 

However, there may be instances when the touchscreen becomes unresponsive or behaves erratically, which can significantly impact how you use your device. 

Here are some simple tips to get your screen responding again:

  • It is always important to ensure that your fingers are clean and dry before interacting with the screen. 
  • Moisture or dirt on your fingers can interfere with the touch sensitivity and responsiveness of the device. 
  • You may need to perform a hard reset to reboot your watch’s system (see the steps listed above).

Ghost Touches or Erratic Behavior on Your Garmin Watch

It is really frustrating when your watch initiates a feature or stops a data collection, like your heart rate or step count, that you did not want it to.

Ghost touches refer to instances where the watch’s touchscreen registers inputs or swipes that the user did not intentionally make. 

Ghost touches on Garmin watches are generally caused by software glitches, moisture, or physical damage. 

  • Begin troubleshooting by ensuring the cleanliness and dryness of the watch’s screen.
  • Sometimes, dirt, sweat, or moisture can accumulate on the screen, leading to unintended touch inputs.
  • Gently clean the screen using a soft, lint-free cloth, and make sure it is completely dry before using the watch again.
  • If the issue persists after cleaning the screen, it is worth considering a firmware update or a factory reset. 

However, it is important to note that a factory reset will erase all personalized settings and data on the watch. 

There’s a Dim or Excessively Bright Display on Your Garmin Device

The brightness functionally on Garmin watches is meant to adjust the brightness moderately to ensure you can easily see your screen.

So it’s beyond annoying when the screen goes too dark or too bright for your environment or you simply cannot see the screen at all.

Here, will look at how to troubleshoot and resolve this display issue.

Check Brightness Settings:

The first step in addressing a dim or excessively bright display is to ensure that the brightness settings on your Garmin watch are configured correctly. 

  1. Navigate to the settings menu on your Garmin watch. This can usually be accessed by tapping on the settings icon or by swiping down from the watch face.
  2. Look for the “Display” or “Screen” option within the settings menu. The exact terminology may vary depending on the model of your Garmin watch.
  3. Once you find the display settings, locate the brightness adjustment option. This may be a slider or a series of preset brightness levels.
  4. Adjust the brightness according to your preference. Increase the brightness if the display appears dim or decrease it if the display appears excessively bright.

Dead Pixels or Display Artifacts

Dead pixels refer to individual pixels on the screen that fail to display any color or remain constantly lit, while display artifacts refers to various abnormalities such as lines, distortions, or discoloration on the screen.

These problems typically stem from hardware malfunctions and, sadly, mean you probably need a repair or replacement.

When encountering dead pixels or display artifacts on your Garmin watch, it is advisable to seek assistance from Garmin support. 

They can provide guidance on potential solutions and help you explore available options for resolving these issues. 

Depending on the severity and nature of the problem, they may recommend repair services or, in some cases, offer a replacement device.

Burn-in or Image Retention on your Garmin Watch

Like many electronic devices with OLED screens, Garmin watches may be susceptible to a phenomenon known as burn-in or image retention.

Burn-in refers to the occurrence of a persistent ghost image on the screen after an image has been displayed for an extended period. 

When a watch face or a static display remains unchanged for a long time, the OLED pixels responsible for creating that image can experience uneven wear.

As a result, the ghost image remains visible even when the screen displays new content.

Garmin watches equipped with OLED screens are more susceptible to burn-in due to the nature of OLED technology. 

Unlike traditional LCD screens that use a backlight to illuminate pixels, OLED screens generate light individually for each pixel. 

This means that OLED pixels can degrade unevenly if they consistently display the same image or elements for prolonged durations.

To prevent burn-in on your Garmin watch, it is advisable to avoid displaying static images or watch faces continuously for long periods.

Instead, use the available customization options and choose dynamic watch faces that change regularly or have animated elements.

This helps distribute the wear across different pixels, reducing the risk of burn-in.

Pros and Cons of Garmin Screens



Users can experience:

  • Their Garmin’s screen goes Blank
  • Their Garmin’s Screen is Flickering
  • Ghost Touches or Erratic Behavior on their Garmin watches
  • Dim or excessively bright display on their Garmin device
  • Dead Pixels or Display Artifacts
  • Burn-in or image retention on your Garmin watch

Final Thoughts

Garmin watches are a great addition to your fitness journey, but they are not immune to display issues.

I hope this article has provided insights into the causes and solutions to these display issues, which will help you get back to enjoying your wearable.


Garmin Watch Goes Dark Or Blank? Here’s How To Fix It

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