Garmin apologizes for beta software update that bricked watches

Disappointed man checking sports watch at running track
(Image credit: Getty)

Garmin has apologized for a recent beta software update that caused some users' watches to stop working properly. Some Garmin Instinct 2 and Garmin Instinct Crossover owners reported their watches acting strangely after installing beta software version 12.13, with some devices experiencing rapid battery drain or even freezing completely.

As Gadgets & Wearables explains, one user charged their watch after receiving the update, and found the battery had drained within a couple of hours. That's alarming for a watch that can go weeks between charges in typical use.

Another tester reported that their Garmin Instinct 2 Solar became unstable after the update, and eventually became stuck on the update boot screen, with a progress bar that didn't move.

How to fix your watch

Thankfully, Garmin has acted quickly to make things right. The company has issued an apology together with advice for rolling back the update if you're struggling with a misbehaving Instinct.

"We are aware of the issues that some of you have experienced since updating to 12.13 and 12.14," wrote quality analyst Julianna Jenkins in a forum post. "First of all, I want to apologize, I understand this has been a frustrating experience. While we continue to work on a resolution, we would like to give you some guidance on how to get out of this state."

First of all, you can try deleting the apps folder from your watch following Garmin's instructions. If that doesn't work, you may need to perform a factory reset.

Although installing beta software lets you test new features before they roll out to all users, and help out fellow Garmin users by reporting bugs, there's always a risk that something more serious might slip through. I recommend checking out our guide to the pros and cons of installing beta software, and giving it careful consideration before signing up.

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.