Your Garmin watch is getting a bumper software update, but there's a catch

Person using Garmin Fenix 7 Pro flashlight in the dark
(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin has released a new beta software update for many of its most popular GPS watches, and it's a big one, packed with 24 new features and bug fixes to make using your device easier. Beta software version 16.10 is available now for Garmin Fenix 7, Fenix 7 Pro, Epix, Epix Pro, Enduro 2, Quatix 7, and Marq Gen 2 watches.

If you're taking part in a triathlon, biathlon, or other multi-sport event, you'll be pleased to know that your watch can now detect transitions and switch tracking modes automatically, letting you focus on your performance rather than worrying about hitting the lap button. 

If your Garmin watch has a flashlight, double-pressing the light button will now bring up a quick access menu that lets you adjust settings such as brightness and color. You'll also get a new Sleep Coaching widget, and access to a database of 400m running tracks around the world so your watch can detect when you've arrived for a training session and log your laps accurately.

The company's developers have fixed various bugs too, including one that caused sleep mode to end too early overnight during Daylight Savings Time changes, one where your watch could sometimes shut down while playing music during an activity, and one that prevented Spotify shuffle and repeat controls from working.

For more details, check out the full release notes on Garmin's official forums.


Installing the beta update will let you try these new features first, but there's a catch. If you own a watch in the Garmin Fenix 7 series, installing this beta software release (and any future ones) will deactivate the ECG app. At the time of writing, ECG functionality is available to users in the US, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

"If you would prefer to keep the ECG feature accessible on your watch, we recommend not participating in the Public Beta program," Garmin says in its release notes. "If you do install Beta software but then wish to access the ECG feature again, you can do so by backdating your watch to currently live software."

The company expects ECG functionality to be made available again for beta software that it hopes will roll out to all users as a live update, but it's not possible to say exactly when that will happen.

Beta software may also contain bugs that can stop your watch working as expected; the whole purpose of the testing program is to identify and eliminate these before the software is rolled out to everyone.

If you're thinking about joining, take a look at our list of reasons why you should and shouldn't install beta software on your watch to help you weight up the pros and cons. Want to go ahead? Our guide how to join Garmin's public beta testing program will get you started.

Cat Ellis

Cat is Homes Editor at TechRadar and former editor of Advnture. She's been a journalist for 15 years, and cut her teeth on magazines before moving online. She helps readers choose the right tech for their home, get the best deals, and do more with their new devices.