Downloading software updates to your Garmin watch just got way easier

Hiker checking his smartwatch
(Image credit: Getty)

Garmin has shaken up its public software testing program, making it easier for you to try out the latest features and updates. 

In May last year, Garmin introduced a new beta testing program that allowed users to try out software before it was rolled out to all device owners. All users were able to sign up to have beta software send to their phone automatically via the Garmin Connect mobile app, then share their feedback and details of any bugs on the company's beta testing forums.

See our guides how to join Garmin's public beta testing program, and three reasons why you should (and shouldn't) install beta software on your Garmin watch for more information and tips.

At the same time, the company introduced an alpha testing program that allowed people to try software even earlier in development. Alpha software releases had to be downloaded manually from the company website, then transferred to your Garmin watch using its USB cable.

Now, as DC Rainmaker reports, alpha software is being renamed 'early beta' and you can put away that cable. Provided your watch has Wi-Fi connectivity, you can check for early beta software updates right from your wrist, and install them directly.

The only caveat is devices like the Garmin Instinct and Vivomove series (including the new Garmin Vivomove Trend and Instinct Crossover), which don't have Wi-Fi. These will still need to be plugged in physically to receive early beta updates.

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.