Your Garmin watch is getting a huge update, with 35 new features and bug fixes

Happy woman checking sports watch
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Garmin has released a new software update for one of its most popular previous-gen watches, including 35 new features and bug fixes. Software beta version 26.97 is available now for watches in the Garmin Fenix 6 series, which launched in April 2019.

Garmin supports all its GPS watches for years after release, but this is one of the biggest updates we've seen for a five-year-old device, and shows the value of hanging onto your watch for as long as possible rather than rushing to upgrade as soon as a new version is available.

As Alex Alderson of Notebookcheck explains, this new update is also available for the original Garmin Enduro, Quatix 6, MARQ and Tactix Delta, all of which share the same foundation as the Fenix 6.

The software is available now to members of the company's public beta testing program. If you've already signed up, you should receive it automatically via the Garmin Connect app imminently (Garmin says 50% of testers have it already).

If for some reason you don't receive it, you can also install it manually by navigating to System > Software Update on your watch and selecting 'Check for Updates'.

If you're not yet a beta tester and would like the opportunity to try new software first, our guide how to join Garmin's public beta testing program explains everything you need to know. Of course, there's always a risk that beta software may contain bugs that stop your Garmin watch working as it should, and if you'd rather wait until testing is complete, a full general release is likely to arrive soon.

What's new

As Garmin's extensive release notes explain, changes since software version 26 include the ability to back up and restore your device settings (no more losing your custom glance settings) and the ability to check for software updates via Bluetooth. If you have a Fenix 6 Pro, you can also now install software updates manually via Bluetooth.

On the sports tracking front, you can now track splits during skiing activities, and the summaries for ski and snowboard activities no longer include time spent on lifts. When you're following a course created using Garmin Connect or a third-party app like Komoot, there's no longer a limit to the number of navigation points along the way.

Some of the many bugs that have been successfully squished include an issue where the watch wouldn't alert you when it had acquired a GPS lock (meaning you didn't know when you were ready to start running), and one that meant alarm tones didn't activate when an activity was set to max battery.

The update also corrects a couple of issues with ski activities, including one where auto runs weren't always started on a descent, and another where the auto pause function would activate at the wrong time.

For the complete list of features and fixes, take a look at the post on Garmin's forums.

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.