Your Garmin watch has a great new health tracking feature – here's how to use it

Woman using ECG app on Garmin watch
(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin has quietly revealed its long-awaited smartwatch ECG app. So far it looks like the app is only available for the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, but more devices might be supported at a later date, if they have the necessary hardware.

The update was first spotted by Reddit user u/Lannmarcin who noticed an update mentioning the app on the listing page for the Venu 2 Plus. The company has also published an information page explaining how the app works. The app is currently only available in the United States, but hopefully more countries will follow soon.

"The ECG app uses sensors on your compatible Garmin watch to record the electrical signals that control how your heart beats," the company explains.

"This recording is known as an electrocardiogram, or ECG. The ECG app analyzes the recording to get your heart rate and detect signs of an irregular heart rhythm called AFib. AFib rhythms occur when the upper and lower chambers of your heart are not beating in sync."

ECG app results on Garmin watch

(Image credit: Garmin)

In its instructions for use, which all watch owners should read, Garmin warns that the app can't be used to diagnose a condition, and is for informational purposes only. You shouldn't use the app if you have a cardiac pacemaker, implanted defibrillator, or any other implanted electronic device.

For now it appears that the app is only compatible with the Garmin Venu 2, but hopefully it will be rolled out for more devices over the coming months – possibly including the rumored Garmin Vivomove Trend, Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 965.

Venu 2 Plus owners should be able to use the app after their watch has been updated to firmware version 11.21 or later.

How to use the app

The app only works on-demand, and doesn't run passively in the background, so you'll need to activate it manually.

Before you can use the app for the first time, you'll need to set it up using the Garmin Connect app on your phone. Tap the menu icon, then tap 'Garmin devices' and select your watch. Tap 'Finish setup' followed by 'Set up ECG app' and follow the on-screen instructions.

Once that's done, make sure your watch is sitting snugly but comfortably just above your wrist bones, open the ECG app, and sit with your arm and wrist resting on a table. Put your thumb and forefinger on the watch's metal bezel to start taking a reading, and sit still for 30 seconds.

When the measurement is complete, you'll be able to check the results on your watch face. Once you've taken a few ECG readings, you can view the history of results in the Garmin Connect app, and even export it as a PDF that you can share with your doctor.

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.