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How to find your phone using your Garmin watch

Sniff out your misplaced smartphone with your Garmin watch's help.
By
June 13, 2022

We’re human, so we lose things. But gone are the days of spending all afternoon hunting for a smartphone meekly hiding beneath a couch cushion. Thankfully, if you own a smartphone, there’s a good chance it features a find my phone function. This is true for Garmin watches, too.

If you misplace your beloved phone and want to find it as quickly as possible, using Garmin’s Find My Phone feature is your best bet. Read on to learn more.

Read more: 5 best Find My Phone apps and other methods too

QUICK ANSWER

Activate Find My Phone by bringing up your Garmin watch's controls menu, and selecting the Find My Phone icon. Wait until your smartphone sounds an alert.

JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

What is Garmin’s Find My Phone feature?

As its name suggests, Garmin’s Find My Phone feature allows users to ping their smartphones using their watches. When activated, the smartphone will send an audible alert and vibrate, making it a little easier to sniff it out. If you’re out on a hike or drop your phone on an evening run, some Android devices can also blink their flashlights in response to the ping.

While Find My Phone is helpful for those frequently misplacing their smartphone, there are a few limitations to be aware of. Firstly, Find My Phone only works within Bluetooth range, or roughly 30 feet (10 meters). As an interesting benefit, though, your watch will display the Bluetooth signal strength, effectively allowing you to home in on your phone.

Additionally, the feature doesn’t force the phone to ring at top volume. If its alert volume is set too low, you will have a tough time finding it.

Finally, for iPhone users, the Garmin Connect app has to be open or running in the background for Find My Phone to function. But of course, in this scenario, you can also use iCloud’s Find My feature. Android users can also employ Google’s Find My Device.

See also: What should you do when your phone is lost or stolen?

How to use Garmin Find My Phone on your watch

An iPhone 11 rests on a gray couch, displaying the banner notification that it was found using a Garmin Venu 2 Plus.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Activating Find My Phone varies across Garmin devices. Find the steps for your particular model line below.

Garmin Fenix series and Epix (Gen 2)

  • Press and hold the LIGHT button to bring up the controls menu.
  • Select the Find My Phone icon (phone with a question mark).
  • Your phone should now sound an alert if it’s within range.
  • Press BACK to halt the search.

Garmin Instinct series

  • Press and hold the CTRL button to bring up the controls menu.
  • Select the Find My Phone icon.
  • Your phone should now sound an alert if it’s within range.
  • Press BACK to halt the search.

Garmin Venu and Vivoactive series

A Garmin Venu 2 Plus on a user's wrist display the searching screen displayed when Find My Phone is activated.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
  • Press and hold the Action button to open the controls menu.
  • Select the Find My Phone icon.
  • Your phone should now sound an alert if it’s within range.
  • Press Back to halt the search.

Garmin Forerunner series

  • Press and hold LIGHT to bring up the controls menu. On some Forerunner models, like the 235, you’ll need to select the Arrow button to open the controls widget > Action button > Find My Phone option.
  • Select the Find My Phone icon.
  • Press BACK to halt the search.

Garmin Vivosmart series

A Garmin Vivosmart 5 in a user's hand displayed the Find My Phone icon.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
  • Press the menu/back button below the screen.
  • Scroll to the Bluetooth menu, then select Find My Phone.

Garmin Lily

  • Swipe down from the watch face to bring up the controls menu.
  • Select Find My Phone.

Garmin Find My Phone problems and solutions

As we’ve outlined above, Garmin’s Find My Phone feature isn’t without issues. You might run into a few problems with the functionality from time to time. Here’s how to fix some of the more common anomalies.

  • If Find My Phone is not working on your phone, check if Garmin Connect is allowed to display over apps on Android.
    • To do this, head to the Settings menu on your phone > Apps or Apps & notifications > Connect > Advanced > Display over other apps > Allow.
    • At this point, it’s also a good idea to grant Garmin Connect other permissions, including Show on lock screen, Display pop-up window, and Display pop-up windows while running in the background. This is especially relevant on older Android versions.
    • For Android 12 devices, you’ll need to grant Garmin Connect the Nearby Devices permission.
  • Check if Garmin Connect is being killed in the background by your phone’s battery management service.
    • To do this, head to the Settings menu on your phone > Apps or Apps & notifications > Connect > Battery > Optimize battery usage. These steps may differ slightly per phone.
  • Find My Phone will also sound an alert over your last selected audio output device. If you have your headphones plugged into your phone, or you’re connected via Bluetooth to a set of earbuds, the alert will sound through these instead of your phone.

See also: The most common Garmin problems and how to fix them

FAQs

No, Garmin’s Find My Phone feature only works via Bluetooth, not Wi-Fi or LTE.

Most modern Garmin watches feature Find My Phone capabilities, in addition to several older models. However, the Vivofit series does not support the feature.

Yes. Open the Garmin Connect app, select Garmin Devices, then tap your device. Finally, select Find My Device. Your watch will begin beeping and vibrating if found.