Garmin Watch Update Problems: 5 Common Issues (Explained)

The Garmin brand is well-loved by the fitness community, especially for outdoor enthusiasts. It is definitely the go-to brand for most athletes and everyday users alike.

However, many users have encountered issues with updating their Garmin smartwatches.

In this article, I look at the most common updating issues experienced by users and provide some solutions to help you get back to enjoying your Garmin wearable.

Garmin Watch has Excessive Battery Drain after Updates

Firmware updates are crucial for the proper functionality of your Garmin watch.

However, it can be quite annoying to suddenly experience excessive battery drain after updating your device, especially when you have not had issues with your battery in the past.

Although there may be a number of reasons for this, these are the ones that are most common:

  • The new update has features that affect battery life like an automated display brightness increase
  • The GLONASS function is consistently turned on even when unnecessary
  • Bluetooth is running in the background
  • You are using a third-party custom watch face
  • Power saving mode is not turned on.

If you have experienced any of the above, here are some solutions to help you get back to enjoying your Garmin smartwatch.

Automated Display Brightness:

To fix this problem and prevent excessive battery drainage, you need to decrease the display back-light timeout and brightness.

Here are the steps to do so:

  1. On your Garmin watch, go to ‘Menu’ and then select ‘Settings’
  2. From that menu, select ‘System’, then select ‘Backlight’ or ‘Timeout’. This is dependent on your model.
  3. Here, you can select between short, medium and long.
  4. Once you’re done, select ‘Brightness’ then adjust between 1-7. Most users find that level 2 works best.

GLONASS is always on:

If your Garmin wearable supports GLONASS, it may be to your battery’s detriment if you keep it on, especially when you are not in need of position-based accuracy.

Use these steps to turn off GLONASS:

  1. On your Garmin watch, open ‘Menu’ then select ‘Settings’
  2. From that menu, select ‘Activities and Apps’ then select ‘GPS’
  3. To disable the GPS and GLONASS function, select ‘Use Garmin’s GPS only’

Bluetooth is running in the background:

When you’re not actively using connected activities or attempting to sync with your phone, it is not necessary to keep your Bluetooth function on as it will drain your battery rapidly.

To turn off your Bluetooth, use the steps below:

  1. On your Garmin’s menu, open ‘Settings’ and then select ‘Bluetooth’
  2. From there, select ‘Status’ and then toggle it OFF.

It is worth noting that not all Garmin watches allow you to turn off the Bluetooth, in this case, you’d need to turn it off on your phone.

You are using a third-party custom watch face:

Third-party custom watch faces often have cool widgets that are advanced but their features can severely ruin your battery’s run-time.

Most users have mentioned that after reverting back to a default watch face, their battery drainage decreased significantly.

Turning off a custom watch face differs on every model, the best solution is to refer to your manual for your device’s settings.

Power-saving mode is not turned on:

If you use the other listed features regularly and don’t wish to turn them off, then the answer for you is to turn on Power-saving mode.

Again, not every model has this feature, but the ones that do help prioritize which functions to decrease automatically to provide you with increased battery run-time.

Use these steps to turn power saving on if supported by your model:

  1. On your Garmin watch, open ‘Settings’ from the menu.
  2. Then select ‘Power Manager’ (Power Mode on some models).
  3. This will open the power-saving features that you can move through to see the potential battery life you could save.
  4. Select the one that suits you best.

GPS Accuracy Issues after updating Garmin watch

One of the main reasons why Garmin users love the brand’s wearables is because of its state-of-the-art GPS tracking function.

However, there have been users who have been unhappy with the accuracy of their GPS tracking after updating their Garmin smartwatches.

The most common causes of this are:

  • Environmental issues
  • Premature GPS Signal Acquisition
  • The GPS software is outdated
  • Your GPS settings are not configured correctly

Fortunately, these causes can be easily remedied, without you having to throw away your beloved wearable.

I’ve compiled helpful tips to assist you in resolving your GPS accuracy problems in the steps below.

Environmental issues:

There are environmental interferences that can cause the GPS signal to be weakened such as tall buildings and dense tree covers.

I have found that I have the best success when connecting to GPS from more open spaces.

Premature GPS Signal Acquisition:

It’s not uncommon that after a firmware update your Garmin smartwatch may need some time to ‘get its bearings together’ and find a strong satellite connection.

The best solution here is to give your watch a few moments to find a strong satellite connection, this will improve the accuracy greatly.

You can also try syncing your smartwatch and the Garmin Connect App, this will prompt your device to scan for available satellites.

The GPS software is outdated:

Most smartwatch users, regardless of the brand, are not aware that their devices use GPS software that also needs to be updated as they update their firmware regularly.

Garmin, in its genius, has made this much easier for us by releasing these software updates on the Garmin Connect App.

These updates will improve GPS tracking accuracy and fix any bugs.

Your GPS settings are not configured correctly:

Technology, with all its amazing advancements, is not perfect.

So it can happen that after updating your Garmin wearable firmware that some of your settings are not communicating correctly.

It is vital to check that your GPS settings are set correctly to give you optimum usage.

You can review your GPS settings by following the steps below:

  1. On your Garmin watch, open ‘Menu’ and then select ‘Settings’
  2. Select ‘Activities and Apps’ then locate ‘GPS’
  3. Here, select the mode that works for you between GPS and GLONASS, GPS only or GALILEO

Unstable Bluetooth Connection after Updating Garmin Watch

A firmware update is meant to correct bugs and other glitches to enhance your user experience.

However, I have read many user comments stating that they experience irregular Bluetooth connectivity – these are some of the causes of this problem:

  • New software bugs – new software updates are also highly likely to introduce new bugs.
  • Interference in the connection – the Bluetooth frequency can be interrupted by other devices like your Wi-Fi router, or even your microwave.
  • Mismatched Bluetooth versions – Compatibility issues can occur if your Garmin watch uses a newer Bluetooth version than your paired smartphone. It is important to review that both devices support the same Bluetooth version.
  • Low battery – If your Garmin wearable is at a low battery level, Bluetooth could disconnect to preserve battery life.
  • Other apps running in the background – When you have multiple apps running in the background on your smartwatch, it can affect the Bluetooth’s performance.

If you have encountered these problems, I may have a solution for you.

Use the steps below to troubleshoot your Bluetooth function:

  1. Start by turning OFF and then ON both your Garmin smartwatch and your paired smartphone. This will often resolve minor connection issues.
  2. On your smartphone, “forget” the Garmin wearable from your Bluetooth settings and then re-pair it. Make sure that both devices are in pairing mode during this process.
  3. Check your battery energy, ensure both devices are charged to a reasonable level.
  4. Keep your Garmin smartwatch and your smartwatch within good range of each other.

You might also be interested in: Pairing Problems with Garmin Watches? 5 Common Issues Explained

Difficulty Syncing Data Between Garmin Watch and the Connect App After Updating

If your data is not appearing in the Garmin Connect app or the activity you recorded on your smartwatch is not showing in your Garmin Connect account, you need to sync your watch with Garmin Connect App on your phone.

Your Garmin smartwatch will display a green dot from the ‘My Day’ view on the Garmin Connect App, this will signal a connection with your smartphone.

However, if that doesn’t work and says ‘Not Connected,’ or the Connect app says it failed to connect, we have some useful tips below to help sync your smartwatch and the app:

  1. Open the Garmin Connect app on your phone.
  2. Go to the ‘My Day’ tab from the bottom menu.
  3. Locate the picture of your Garmin Device at the top of the app.
  4. Check for a green dot next to your Garmin watch’s or tracker’s image. Green dot indicates a correct Bluetooth connection between your Garmin watch and the app.
  5. Press the manual sync button (circular arrows icon) in the top corner of the Garmin Connect App to sync data from your watch.
  6. Syncing may take a few minutes if the device hasn’t connected in a while.
  7. If you see a red dot, enable Bluetooth on your phone by opening your phone’s Bluetooth settings and waiting for the Garmin to appear as connected.
  8. If there’s no dot, turn off Bluetooth on your phone, wait 20 seconds, and then turn Bluetooth back on in your phone’s settings. Wait to see if your Garmin connects to your phone’s Bluetooth.
  9. Once the green dot appears, follow the manual sync steps mentioned above.

Garmin Watch’s Touchscreen is Unresponsive After Updating

Some Garmin watch owners have complained about their touch screens behaving erratically after a firmware update.

The main cause of this, especially after an update, is improper calibrations and sensitivity settings. This means there are times when your Garmin’s screen may not compute taps accurately.

If you have experienced this problem, try this:

Restart Your Garmin Watch

The first step in troubleshooting an unresponsive touchscreen is to restart your Garmin smartwatch. This simple action can often resolve minor software glitches that may be causing the issue.

Perform a Factory Reset

If the problem persists after trying the above step, you can perform a factory reset on your Garmin smartwatch.

This will reset your watch to its default settings, so make sure to back up any important data beforehand.

To perform a factory reset follow the steps below:

  1. On your Garmin watch, open ‘Settings’ and then select ‘System’
  2. Now select ‘Reset’ then follow the prompts that appear on the screen to reset your watch.

Read Also: Are Garmin Watch Bands Interchangeable? (We Checked)

Pros and Cons of Garmin Watch Updates


Updating your Garmin smartwatches can offer some of these benefits:

  • Improved performance
  • Enhanced features
  • Better compatibility
  • Smartwatch longevity


Many users have experience updating issues such as:

  • Garmin watch has excessive battery drain after updates
  • GPS accuracy issues after updating Garmin watch
  • Unstable Bluetooth connection after updating Garmin watch
  • Difficulty syncing data between Garmin watch and the Connect App after updating
  • Garmin watch’s touchscreen is unresponsive after updating


Garmin watch or tracker not syncing to Connect app on your phone? Let’s fix it!

Garmin Touch Screen Not Working: Reasons & Solutions

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