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How to pair and sync your Garmin watch with your phone

Setting up and syncing a Garmin watch is quick and easy.
By
June 27, 2022

Before you can make the most of your Garmin watch or fitness tracker, you’ll need to pair it with your smartphone. Thankfully, the process is straightforward. Once your devices are paired, you can sit back and relax while your fitness data acquired by your watch automatically syncs to your mobile. But what is the initial setup process? And can you manually sync your Garmin data when required? We cover all this and more below.

See also: The best Garmin smartwatches | The best Garmin running watches

QUICK ANSWER

Install Garmin Connect on your device, open the Settings or More menu, then select Garmin Devices > Add Device to initiate the watch-to-phone pairing process.

JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to pair your Garmin watch with your phone

Before you pair your Garmin to your phone, you’ll need to place your device on its charger, make sure your phone has its Bluetooth radio switched on, and finally, you’ll need the Garmin Connect app. The app is the go-between for your watch and phone.

When your watch starts up, you may need to confirm your preferred device language and that you’re pairing the device with your phone. These initial steps will differ between Garmin’s various devices.

Now that you’ve checked those boxes, here’s how to pair your Garmin watch with your phone.

  • Open the Garmin Connect app.
  • If you have Garmin login details, select Sign In. You’ll need to tap Create Account if this is your first Garmin device.
  • Tap Settings or More (three-dot icon or three horizontal lines icon), then scroll to Garmin Devices. Tap it.
  • Tap Add Device.
  • The app should take a few seconds to find your watch. Be sure to keep your watch nearby during this process. Once Garmin Connect finds your watch, tap Connect it.
  • Your watch will display a six-digit code. Input this code into your phone.
  • If this isn’t your first Garmin device, Connect may ask if you wish to set your new watch as the preferred tracker. Tap Replace.
  • Your Garmin device is now paired with your phone.

How to manually sync your Garmin watch with your phone

Garmin Vivofit 4 on wrist

Garmin watches will periodically sync data with their host phones in the background, or when Garmin Connect is opened, so it’s not something you’ll have to do manually. However, occasionally, you may need to prompt the process yourself, especially if you own an older device.

The process of manually syncing your fitness data to Garmin Connect differs from device to device. Depending on your model, you’ll either need to open the controls menu, the main settings menu, or navigate to the Sync icon and tap it. This is true for devices like the Instinct, Forerunner 45 series, and Vivofit 3.

Also read: Everything you need to know about Garmin’s sleep tracking features

Older devices like the Vivofit 3 and 4 pack an Auto Sync feature, allowing users to select how often the watch syncs with Garmin Connect on their phone throughout the day.

Is there a way to initiate a manual sync directly from Garmin Connect? Well, unfortunately not. Unlike the Fitbit app, where you can swipe down to start a sync, there’s no manual way to kick start a device sync via Garmin Connect.

Garmin watch sync issues and solutions

Apple Watch vs Garmin Connect home screen on Google Pixel 6
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
  • Restart both your Garmin watch and your smartphone. This easy solution usually fixes stubborn issues. If it doesn’t, it gives you a clean platform to troubleshoot.
  • Check if Garmin Connect on your phone is updated and current.
  • Perhaps Garmin Connect is down? Double-check if it’s up and all services are functioning correctly.
  • Try removing your watch from Garmin Connect. Then reinitiate the pairing process.

For a more granular look at syncing issues and possible fixes, visit our master list of Garmin problems and solutions at the link.

FAQs

Yes. Garmin Connect is designed to sync data with your watch whenever the app is opened.

According to Garmin, the syncing process can last as long as 10 minutes depending on how much data is being transferred.

Garmin Connect maintains a Bluetooth connection between your watch and your phone. However, if you sync music from a third-party provider like Spotify, you must enable Wi-Fi on your watch. Wi-Fi is also used for software updates.