There's an important update for your old Garmin watch – here's how to get it

Trail runner checking GPS watch
(Image credit: Getty)

Garmin has launched a new beta update for the Garmin Fenix 6, plus new software for the newer Instinct 2 and Instinct Crossover.

As Notebookcheck explains, beta version 25.79 for the Garmin Fenix 6 and Marq series adds several new features makes a bundle of fixes that will improve your watch's performance and solve various irritating issues.

One of the most interesting new additions is the obstacle course racing activity, which can keep track of how many obstacles you've tackled, how long you spent on each one, and how many circuits you've made of the course.

Garmin has improved the algorithm for calculating calories burned while swimming, and improved the ski activity so it can differentiate between time spent on ski lifts and actually skiing downhill. If you're exploring the backcountry, you'll also be pleased to learn that your watch will now alert you if a connected Garmin InReach satellite communicator moves out of range.

Some of the irritating bugs that have been squished include a problem that sometimes meant the watch would stay in power-saving mode despite being fully charged (something I've experienced with my own Garmin watch). The update also fixes an issue where the watch would sometimes shut down unexpectedly during strength workouts, and another where watch faces downloaded via Garmin Connect IQ would fail to load.

To grab this new update, take a trip to Garmin's forums, download the file for your watch, and follow the instructions in the readme.txt file.

Instinct update

If you own a Garmin Instinct 2 or Instinct Crossover, software beta version 12.11 fixes an issue with detection of functional threshold power (FTP) during cycling activities, and another where the names of workouts were truncated so they were impossible to read properly.

You'll also get the new obstacle course racing activity (carried over from the new Instinct 2X Solar) and a new setting for discovering sensors like heart rate monitors automatically.

If you have a Garmin Instinct 2 Tactical Edition, you'll no longer need to worry about your heart rate being broadcast while the watch is in stealth mode, and if you have an Instinct Crossover you should now be able to see calendar entries properly in your Morning Report.

If you've subscribed to Garmin's public beta testing program, you'll receive software version 12.11 automatically. Testing beta software lets you try new features and get fixes early, and give your feedback to help improve the experience for other users, but there's always a possibility that you might encounter bugs.

If you're not sure whether to try it, check out our guide reasons why you should and shouldn't download beta software. Want to go ahead? Our tutorial how to join Garmin's public beta testing program will show you how.

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.