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Garmin Connect – Mobile app guide

Tags: Guides | Garmin | Smart

29.9.2022 | 6 MIN

The Garmin Connect application is used to pair a Garmin smartwatch with a mobile phone. As of now, millions of users have downloaded it, and it is one of the most popular sport apps on both Google Play and the App Store. This article serves as an introduction and guide of this app and should help you navigate in it.

What is the purpose of Garmin Connect?

Thanks to the Garmin Connect app, you can connect your Garmin smartwatch to your phone. The app takes information about incoming messages or calls, and using Bluetooth, it sends this info into the watch.

It also virtually backs up your account data. So if you ever lose your watch and buy a different one, this app will ensure that all your data is backed up and safe.

Although it is your watch which does the monitoring, the data is saved here and shown in more detail – graphs of daily steps, heart rate, sleep, ... or in-depth analysis of sport activity.

A rule of the thumb is that the more simple a watch is, the more you will have to use Garmin Connect. For example, the Fenix 7 model shows nearly everything right on the display of the watch, but a simple smart band Vívosmart 5 shows the  majority in the mobile app.

The main page "My Day"

This is where all the important information is. Everything the watch measures during the day, it will show on the My Day page. Who would have thought, right?

Your heart rate frequency, steps, sleep, stress, activity, flights climbed, ... Everything all in one click with the option of learning more by clicking on a selected item.

After scrolling down this said list, you get to the summary of the previous day. At the very bottom, you can find the tools to edit the "My Day" page. You can put data you find the most important at the top of the page for example.

At the top, there is the "Notifications" section, your account, status of the watch connected, and two arrows for manual synchronisation of your watch and the app.

How to edit the lower bar?

What many users do not know is that the lower bar can be edited.


Click at the three dots, bottom right. At the top, the "Edit" option will appear.


Click the three bars, upper left. There is the "Edit card" option.

How to understand the Garmin Connect Calendar? What are the colourful stripes?

There is a lot going on in the Calendar, which is rich in colourful stripes.

What the colours of the stripes mean:

  • green – manual start of a workout monitoring
  • grey – automatically recorded activity (Move IQ)
  • red – heart rate data
  • blue – reached daily steps goal
  • dashed blue – failed to achieve daily steps goal
  • pink – recorded sleep
  • light pink (or purple?) – recorded sleep evaluation

The numbers below the stripes show you the number of those that didn't fit the screen and that are hidden.

Overview – know thyself as well as others

Garmin Connect functions as a social network. You can see all sport activities of users you're connected with in the overview.

What's great is that when you're connected to someone, you see all the data about their training. Just like they can see yours. So you can learn about their heart rate, route, pace... everything. And yes, it can be dangerous, so pay attention and be aware who you're connected with!

Healthy competition – badges, challenges, levels

I'm not very keen on this stuff, but I do know that competing for levels and badges is quite popular. Every user has a small number in the corner of their profile picture indicating their level.

Levels can be achieved by getting badges. Some badges are earned by active counting (like a first marathon, first run over 50 km / 30 miles, 50.000 steps a day, etc.). Some by waking up early (Early Riser badge), activity sharing (Thanks for Sharing badge), or sleeping for more than 8 hours (Well Rested badge). And these are just examples. There are thousands.

You can also get a badge by finishing various challenges that you join. For example 300.000 steps a month) or 300 kilometres / 180+ miles during running sport activities a month.

There are many ways of getting a badge, and there are many tutorials on the internet.

Insights – How am I doing globally?

If challenges are about competitiveness, then Insights mean competitively competing about competition.

In the Insights section, Garmin compares you to all Garmin users in your age category. But you can also compare yourself to older users. For example, I run a lot, I walk a lot, but sleep? Not so much. :)

Health statistics, health in a nutshell

Health statistics basically show the same things as My Day, but this time nicely in a list. That's basically the only difference.

Personal statistics – Is my training alright?

Some watches show training statistics (right on their display), but some can only do so on your phone. This is where you learn everything about your training.

I especially appreciate training status. On the basis of the ratio of your training load (Training Effect), the watch will tell you whether your training was or wasn't productive. If you spend too much or too little time in one of the zones (low aerobic, aerobic, and anaerobic), then the training is considered not productive.

VO2 Max estimate is the maximal mass of oxygen one is able to get in during exercise. This is usually an indication of the level of your physical condition.

What is VO2 max?
What is VO2 max?

With more equipment (power meters, chest straps, etc.), you can get more specific values like FTP (functional threshold power), watts, or your lactic threshold.

Training – when you want to do honest work

I personally use the section about training the most. You can manually set all the steps of your training here. So, if you want to do some interval running, you can put in, for example, a 20-minute warm-up, and then 5 times a 3-minute running period and a 3-minute rest. At the end, I also put a 20-minute cool-down. You can name this training model anything you like and send this to your watch. Then, you start the workout on your watch, and it will notify you about switching to a different phase.

You can create not only running workouts, but workouts for all sorts of sports.

For those who want to get inspired or need some leadership, there is the "Find a Workout", where you can choose a pre-made workout from a long list. Most of the workouts are for strength training or cardio.

Then there is the "Training plans", where you can choose a programme of multiple weeks for running or cycling with some goal in mind (like a marathon). The watch will show you what to do every day after turning on the activity in order to achieve the goal.

The amount of plans in the mobile version is limited, the majority can be found using the Garmin Connect desktop version.

If you like working your training through and wish to create your own track beforehand, you will like that you can create your own routes on a map using the app, or choose parameters for your perfect route (like length, direction, terrain), and the app is going to generate a route on its own.

I pre-create my routes using Mapy.cz, a helpful Czech site to look at maps, then export it into the Garmin Connect app.

For each route, you can also choose a strategy of pace (PacePro). The watch will show you the pace you should keep in real time in order to finish the run in time you set yourself. PacePro keeps in mind also vertical position.

Equipment – Is my bike about to re-tire?

You can put in different parts of your equipment into the Garmin Connect app and monitor its wear-and-tear. You can match different shoes for different runs, or different bikes for different rides.

You can also see the equipment that no longer serves you, and use this information to for example buy shoes that lasted for a long time and buy a pair of those.

Setting your watch using your phone

This is a new one for Garmin, but it's perfect. Up till now, you had to set everything in your watch, but now you can do it from your phone.

I personally think that the biggest time-saver is setting data for activities. When you click the "Activities and app management", choose an activity, you can set it to your likings.

And that's it. If you miss something in here, please, tell me in the comments!