Success! Garmin have updated their Google Play app with the connectivity Android smartphone users have been waiting for. You can now upload your fitness activity wirelessly to Garmin Connect over a Bluetooth Connection.
iPad and iPhone users have had this luxury since the launch of Garmin FR 220 and 620 watches in 2013; the two running watches currently compatible with wireless transfer. As an LG Nexus 4 smartphone user, here’s a guide on how I connected my Android phone to my Garmin Forerunner 220.
Is your Android phone compatible?
Before we start, it’s essential that the Android smartphone you’re trying to connect with your Garmin has Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. The fourth iteration of Bluetooth is known as Smart Ready and allows accessories like your GPS watch, to communicate with apps, such as Garmin Connect. Here’s a list of popular phones that have Bluetooth 4.0 compatibility.
- Huawei Ascend G6
- HTC One, One mini, One Max, One X
- LG Nexus 4, Nexus 5, G2
- Motorola Moto X, Moto G
- Sony Xperia Z, Z1, Z1 Compact, Z2
- Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, S5, Galaxy Note 2, Note 3
As a rule of thumb, most mid to high tier smartphones released after Jan 2012, should have the ability to wirelessly connect to your Garmin FR 220 or 620 watch. You can search for detailed specs of your mobile phone at GSMarena.
What if my phone doesn’t have Bluetooth 4.0?
Unfortunately this means you will be unable to pair up your smartphone with the Garmin 220 and 620 watches.
Step 2 – Activate Bluetooth on Garmin
After you’ve unlocked the watch, press the down arrow to enter the menu. From here, navigate through these settings below.
Settings, Bluetooth, Status, On
Step 3 – Activate Bluetooth on your Android smartphone
Swiping down from the top of the screen on your Android phone should open up control panel features. The exact look of this will vary depending on how your manufacturer has skinned the Android user interface. With my Nexus 4, I can switch access the Bluetooth menu by clicking on the logo in the top right of my drop down menu.
Step 4 – Pair up phone with Garmin.
Open up Garmin Connect and touch home to choose the “Devices” category.
Select your device; at present this should be either the Forerunner 220 or Forerunner 620. You should get a message on your phone requesting to put your Garmin into “Pair Mobile Device Mode”
Settings, Bluetooth, Pair Mobile Device
Once you press start on your phone, both devices should display a four digit number to confirm the sync. Provided these match, confirm on your phone and wait for the data to collect.
Step 5 – Set up Auto Upload activity
Once paired up, the Device menu on Garmin Connect should show a picture of your Garmin model with green text that reads “connected”. If you click on settings, this will give you the option to auto upload activity from your watch to Garmin Connect.
Go for a run and try it when you get back? Provided your Bluetooth and Garmin Connect is loaded up, your Android smartphone should pick up your activity.
What are the benefits of connecting your Android smartphone to your Garmin
What I love about this feature is that the process of uploading your activity is much more seamless. There’s no need to switch on my laptop and connect my FR220 via USB. By placing the watch within 10 feet of my Android device, the activity transfers across over Bluetooth.
How long does it take to transfer a run to Garmin Connect?
When I first tried to upload my runs, the progress bar froze and I got bored of waiting after 30 minutes (not a promising start!). To overcome this, I uploaded all data via my computer first and then went for a run so only a single file needed to be uploaded. The Garmin can usually transfer a run over Bluetooth in under 2 minutes.
It’s important to ensure that your Forerunner doesn’t go into power save mode. Press a button to stop this if you see the count down.
My Garmin isn’t automatically connecting with my Android phone
Unfortunately this has happened to me a few times even when the watch is sat on top of my Nexus! My solution was to go on the device menu and add a new device. Once it finds the Garmin, it should open up a slightly different looking progress bar and upload activity.
So there’s my guide on how to enable wireless data transfer from your Garmin GPS watch to an Android mobile phone. At the time of writing, this is the process for the Garmin Forerunner 220 and Garmin Forerunner 620. The stages within Garmin Connect also apply to cycling GPS watches such as the Edge 510 and Edge 810, though Bluetooth menu functionality will differ on the watch itself.