Garmin's auto-pause isn't perfect, but there's a super simple alternative

Woman resting against fence wearing Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE watch
(Image credit: Garmin)

Auto-pause is a feature that you'll find on all the best GPS watches, and when it works as expected, it's excellent. The idea is simple enough: when you stop moving, your watch or cycle computer temporarily stops tracking so things like waiting to cross a road or take a drink don't impact your time. It's even more useful during hikes. when you might stop regularly to grab your binoculars and check out a distant bird or animal. 

Unfortunately, auto-pause isn't perfect – and that's no fault of Garmin or any other watchmaker. While tools like multi-band GPS can pin down your location quite accurately, satellite positioning still has its limitations, and can't necessarily tell exactly when you've decided to take a break. That's particularly true in areas with heavy tree cover, cliffs, or other obstacles that can interfere with the GPS signal.

As a result, many runners, walkers, and riders take things into their own hands by pausing their watch manually when they have to stop for a moment. All fine, unless you get caught up in the moment and forget to restart your watch again when you set off, and accidentally miss a chunk off your route. There are few things as frustrating as knowing you completed a particular distance, but not having the entire thing logged. At best, you'll feel silly; at worst, it might throw off your training plan.

Hold it right there

However, there's a simple solution that Garmin and other companies could implement to solve this particular problem. If the user has paused activity tracking but the watch detects that they have begun moving, display a message on-screen asking if they want to resume. If not. the wearer can just ignore the message and carry on.

If you're tracking a non-GPS activity, your watch might deliver the same prompt after a certain period of time has elapsed, with the same effect.

Auto-pause is fine in most situations, but for perfectionists who want to be in full control, a simple feature that can help avoid human error could be a game-changer. No more ruining your hike tracking because you wanted to stop and grab a photo of a kestrel. Fingers crossed it's something that comes to the best Garmin watches soon.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.