If your Garmin watch is giving false incident alerts, there's now a fix

Garmin Instinct 2 Solar GPS watch
(Image credit: Garmin)

If your Garmin Instinct 2 has been giving false incident alerts, wrongly triggering the tool that messages an emergency contact in the event of an accident. The 9.13 software update is rolling out now to owners who are enrolled in Garmin's beta testing program, and will be coming to all devices very soon.

Incident detection is a feature you'll find in all the best Garmin watches and bike computers, which monitors for sudden deceleration or impact during certain running, walking, and cycling activities. If the device detects that you might have fallen, a notification appears on its screen with a countdown timer, and if you don't dismiss it within a few seconds, the device sends your name and GPS location via SMS to a person specified in the Garmin Connect app.

It's a well designed feature that generally works well (there are many accounts of it proving useful on Garmin's forums), but it's been noted that some Instinct 2 watches have a tendency to give occasional false positives, sending an alert and cancelling the current activity unnecessarily. 

How to get the update

As TizenHelp reports, the 9.13 update also adds heart rate variability (HRV) status, which gives a useful indication of how well your body is handling the strains of daily life, plus activity tracking modes for padel (a sport similar to tennis) and pickleball. Strength workout tracking has been improved, and a bug that sometimes caused the watch to enter power-saving mode unexpectedly has been fixed.

To get the update now, log into your Garmin account at connect.garmin.com, click the watch icon at the top right, and select your Instinct 2 watch. Click the link 'Join software beta program'. Check the terms of service to check that you're happy to proceed (Garmin's beta software is very nearly ready for release, but there's always a chance that you might encounter bugs) then go into the Garmin Connect app on your phone and make sure automatic updates are enabled. Within a few hours, you should see a notification on your watch prompting you to download the update.

If you'd rather not take part in beta testing, just sit tight for a few more days and the final 9.23 release candidate should land on your watch when it's ready.

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.