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Your Garmin watch is getting heaps of updates: here's what you need to know

Woman kayaking wearing Garmin Fenix 6 Pro GPS watch
The Garmin Fenix 6 and 7 are both receiving major updates (Image credit: dan.nikonov / Shutterstock)

Garmin is rolling out a huge wave of updates to all its most recent watches, including Fenix, Forerunner, and Instinct models. The changes are being installed on watches right now, so keep an eye on your wrist over the coming days.

As DC Rainmaker (opens in new tab) explains, this is part of a new update schedule, which should see major firmware upgrades rolling out quarterly. Bug fixes will still be released as needed, but all of the company's best GPS watches should now receive significant updates every three months.

Perhaps the most noticeable change is an update to the sleep-tracking algorithm, which means you'll receive a lower score if you're restless at night. The update is coming to all Garmin watches that let you see a breakdown of your sleep patterns on the face when you wake, and should present a more accurate picture of your nightly rest if you're prone to tossing and turning.

The 'movement' metric in the Garmin Connect mobile app will also be replaced by 'restlessness'. The app will be less pushy as well; rather than telling you that you 'need' to do things like aim for an earlier bedtime or reduce caffeine intake in the afternoon, it will now tell you these things are 'recommended'.

That's not all, though – there are also new features and updates coming to specific watch models.

Activity modes and more

For example, if you own a Garmin Fenix 7 or Epix, the Map Manager tool will now show you an estimate of how long it'll take to download a map to your watch, the Adventure Racing activity now has stamina fields so you can keep track of your energy level during your race. There's also a new fishing activity profile, which finally acknowledges the amount of energy required for catching mackerel.

If you own a Garmin Fenix 6, Enduro, or a watch in the luxury Marq range you'll benefit from improved run/idle detection. This should now detect more accurately when you're stationery, so you shouldn't have to pause your watch manually at road crossings. You'll also see a prompt to reset your watch if the GPS module becomes unresponsive while attempting to establish a lock, and get a notification if heart rate monitoring is disabled.

Enduro owners will also get improved muscle maps (diagrams that show which muscle groups you've worked recently so you can balance your training), plus an improved interface for tracking workout with free weights, and tweaks that make it easier to edit weights and reps on your watch.

Garmin Instinct 2 watch on woman's wrist

The Garmin Instinct 2 is getting a particularly big software update (Image credit: Garmin)

Owners of the Garmin Instinct 2 will get new modes for tracking pilates, yoga, breathworks, and horseback riding – plus a slightly unseasonal activity mode for snowshoeing (check out our guide to snowshoeing for beginners if you're interested in trying it when winter rolls around). You'll also be able to see your fitness age on the watch face rather than having to delve into the Garmin Connect app, and you can choose to disable navigation turn alerts if you'd rather follow directions on your wrist by yourself.

If you have a Forerunner 245 (either the regular or Music edition), Forerunner 745, or Forerunner 945, you should also get improved weight tracking, plus a warning if the heart rate sensor is disabled, and improve run/idle detection.

Finally Garmin Venu 2 and Venu 2 Plus owners will get new activity modes for snowshoeing, Pickleball, tennis, and padel, plus improvements to golf tracking. The Venu 2 Plus is also getting some tweaks that should make your life easier when making and receiving calls using the watch's build-in microphone.

All these updates are rolling out right now. If you can't see any changes on your watch, just have a little patience and you should find that it receives the new firmware very shortly.

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 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).