Garmin Connect IQ: In-depth guide and the best apps to download

Updated: Everything you need to know about the Garmin app store
Garmin Connect IQ super guide

If you're the owner of a new Garmin watch, whether that's the Forerunner 630 or the Forerunner 235 there are now top apps to download from Garmin Connect IQ – the company's new app store.

In 2015, for the first time ever, Garmin opened up its platform allowing clever developers outside of Garmin HQ to use their brains and coding skills to create apps, widgets and watch extensions. It means new sports, niche features and extra watch faces.

Now check this out: How to run better with Garmin Connect

Read on for everything you need to know about Garmin Connect IQ and the best apps to try out.

Which Garmin watches use Connect IQ?

Let's start with the devices you can actually use with Garmin Connect IQ. At the time of writing there's 18 devices that are Connect IQ ready.

The full Connect IQ compatible list is: Fenix 3, Forerunner 230, 235, 630, 735XT and 920XT; Vivoactive and HR version; Edge 520, 820, 1000; D2 Bravo, Epix and Orgeon. It's the higher end section of devices, but the ability to access Connect IQ is growing across Garmin's range.

If you do own one of the supported devices, what's intriguing is the idea that the watch you bought to train for that marathon or triathlon can now morph into a device that does a whole lot more, such as track your golf score, give you the weather and even let you monitor your stocks and shares.

On the one hand it's an exciting concept, that your Garmin device becomes more powerful than the day you bought it, with the potential to evolve alongside your interests. On the other, there's a big question mark over whether you'll want your running watch to tell you when your investment portfolio is taking a hammering.

Then there's the slightly odd fact that some of the apps simply offer things like a stopwatch function. Something you'd expect to find already on a top level Garmin device. At best then, Connect IQ feels like a mixed bag.

What can you download?

All of the apps on Garmin Connect IQ are free. Around 100 of those apps have been made by Garmin themselves. The rest are from third party developers and other Garmin users.

The different downloads split into four types. Here's what each option does.


Apps in Garmin Connect IQ world are downloaded and stored on your watch pretty much in the same way as you would an app for your phone. You can download as many apps as your device will store but you can only run one at time. You access apps on your Garmin as you would do the main sports. All the new third party apps you've downloaded will sit in the main list of native sport options such as running, cycling, swimming or indoor running.


Widgets appear on the watch face when you're in power save mode and they work by piggy backing your connected smartphone's data to display information from other services you might be using. Among the widgets currently available for download there are third party offerings from Red Bull News, AccuWeather allergen monitor as well as things like multi time zone display, step counter, sleep history and even snake. Yes, snake is back.

Data fields

If you're familiar with Garmin you'll know what we mean by data fields. If not these are basically the customisable sections you can display on the face of your Garmin. Whereas before you could only display the fields Garmin pre-selected, with Connect IQ you'll be able to add more options and tweak your device with a wider variety of stats.

Watch faces

Finally you can choose from a range of third party watch face designs and layouts. These cover everything from turning your Garmin Forerunner 920XT screen into an old school big hand little hand display to putting a skull and cross bones jolly roger on your Vivoactive. Many of the watch faces have been designed to work across different devices too so upgrading your watch doesn't mean sacrificing your beloved custom screens.

How to download from Garmin Connect IQ

You'll need a Garmin Connect account and then there are two ways to access IQ apps.

You can download apps via the Garmin Connect Mobile app and then sync them wirelessly via Bluetooth to you compatible Garmin watch.

Alternatively you'll need access to a laptop with Garmin Express installed and your Garmin device to be fully up to date so that's it compatible with IQ. Once that's sorted the download process is fairly simple.

If you fire up Garmin Express you'll see some menus for Watch Faces, Apps, Data Fields and Widgets. Hitting the Manage button takes you to another page where you can see what's already installed, how much space you've got left on the device and manage all of you downloads onto and off the watch.

You can also navigate to the Garmin Connect IQ store from here to search for things you'd like to download.

Best Garmin Connect IQ apps

The Garmin Connect IQ store has come on leaps and bounds since we originally penned this list a year ago, and now there's a tonne of useful applets to try out. We've rounded up our favourites below.

Strava Live Suffer Score

Strava is one of our favourite fitness platforms and it's great that Garmin has been open to integrating aspects of the service into its devices. The Suffer Score Connect IQ app shows a live reading of how hard you're working from your device's HR monitor, helping Strava users ensure they're getting the maximum from their session.

Compatible with: Fenix 3, Forerunner 230, 235, 630, 735XT and 920XT; Vivoactive and HR version; Edge 520, 820, 1000; D2 Bravo, Epix and Orgeon



Aiming to put as much useful information in front of your eyes, ActiFace shows the time, date, activity history graph in calories and distance and daily goal progress and step count and notifications. It's a big improvement on some of Garmin's dull efforts, and certainly one for data geeks.

Compatible with: Fenix 3, Forerunner 230, 235, 630, 735XT and 920XT; Vivoactive and HR version; Edge 520, 820, 1000; D2 Bravo, Epix and Orgeon



While some of the beefier Garmin watches have dedicated hiking modes, this solid Connect IQ app brings the functionality to standard running watches like the Forerunner 235 and 630. You get walking specific data such as altitude and headings, as well as standard distance and time tracking.

Compatible devices: Forerunner 235, 630, 230, Vivoactive, Foreathletes


Beers Earned

This is one that stole our hearts. This Connect IQ app tells you how many bottles of Bud you can drink as a new field of data within workouts. A must download for those who exercise to enjoy the finer things in life, but it would be better if you could swap for a nice crisp IPA.

Compatible devices: Fenix 3, Forerunner 230, 235, 630, 735XT and 920XT; Vivoactive and HR version; Edge 520, 820, 1000; D2 Bravo, Epix and Orgeon


Commute Tracker

A clever little idea, Commute Tracker gives you feedback on how effective your daily commute has been with statistics such as time spent stopped, time spent moving, total commute time, number of stops made, and maximum speed. All of the stats are tracked and aggregated based on the time of day of your commute and the idea is that over time, you'll start to see when it's best to leave the office and head home.

Compatible devices: D2 Bravo, ForeAthlete 920XTJ, Forerunner 920XT, Epix, Fenix 3, Vivoactive



If your Garmin doesn't have the skills then OnPace helps you stick to your target pace during training runs. It lets you set a minutes per mile pace and giving you vibration feedback when you drop below or speed up above that target pace.

Compatible devices: D2 Bravo, Forerunner 920XT, Epix, Fenix 3, Vivoactive



One for cyclists, runner and hikers, this helpful app lets you view routes on your watch screen, letting you zoom in four different ways, view current position and even show you a breadcrumbs trail. You'll need to go to the dwMap web page to set up routes then sync it to the watch before you go out exploring.

Compatible with: Fenix 3, Forerunner 230, 235, 630, 735XT and 920XT; Vivoactive and HR version; Edge 520, 820, 1000; D2 Bravo, Epix and Orgeon


Basketball score tracker

Who says you just have to use your Garmin watch for running and cycling? This app can track action on the court letting you set up the quarters, record the scores for either side and even have a designated button for timeouts when you need to tweak tactics.

Compatible devices: D2 Bravo, Forerunner 920XT, Epix, Fenix 3, Vivoactive


Golf Birdie

Despite the lacking support for Garmin's golf watches, you can still take your Fenix 3 for a round and keep an eye on your score. A replacement for the Golf Scorecard app, it can record coordinates of a course automatically, letting you see pin distance and details for each hole. It's sill in beta, so there might be some issues, but it's the best golf app on the Connect IQ store right now.

Compatible devices: D2 Bravo, Epix, Fenix 3


Shop for recommended running watches on Amazon

Garmin Forerunner 235
Garmin Forerunner 235
TomTom Spark 3
TomTom Spark 3
Polar M600
Polar M600
Fitbit Surge
Fitbit Surge

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  • Jetsers says:

    I made a simple watch face and put it up on the Garmin app store.

    If you want a watch face with a little bit of motivation, you might like it.
    But to get to the article, the store is young, and the parts of the watch data we can access is still small, but every month we get more things in their coding language.

    It will only get better from here.

    • therealdeal17 says:

      i left a long scripted reply  for garmin. only iam a creative person with ideas above and beyond most people i will develope my ideas in near future at  begining state with patents and security. so while looking at comments put this with my 1st which was attatched to email menmypop     with out the 17 which is one of many ways to contact me  cause iam the realest deal put together and who ever reads will know that both came from one person ME.

  • M_Rcus_Atb says:

    I am disappointed there isn't any HIIT/Tabata timer app or especially widget for Vivoactive. I think it's the only missing app. Can vivoactive combine cross training activities into one daily workout summary?

  • therealdeal says:

    i have so many thins to say or add but wont it could be in my best interest. i wear a diferant tracker that was reviewed above garmin  and all trackers. I the real deal is true to my word and my review for them is a joke completly,and making me upset for not listening to my gut while throwing my money in the garbage,it will go back and i will be a garmin user in near future.please no third party emails or nonsense,iam the real deal and if you at garmin would like to hear from a creative guy that will work with you to develope a  or the greatest tracker ever known

  • Kdavis915 says:

    Looking forward to using these apps

  • bajker999 says:

    Hello, i need help, when i want download app, they want to  update my fenix 3.

    But its updatete with lates FV 6,5.

    Any help

    Best regards Tadej

  • sousekd says:

    Just a little bit of shameless self-promotion :-)

    I have published my first "Position" widget for the platform. It can show your GPS coordinates and an address. Check it out:

  • BB4UT says:

    Can someone develop a watch face that is customizable with a Christian theme?

    • Ajustice007 says:

      I would like one to. One that has a verse or an inspirational quote for the day.

  • lizm says:

    I don't understand equating the quality of an app with a "foreign" language. I'm specifically citing the tone of the following sentence:

    "There are even apps on the store front that come up in foreign languages."

    For many people it's faster and easier to access information in their native languages or if someone is learning a new language, having information that you already know in the new language teaches you some new vocabulary, which for me is a win-win. Learning a new language opens you up to a new world. You can marathon around the world and connect with locals. Don't knock multilingualism. 

    Back to Garmin... I wish there were a way to share heart rate with apps like Pear. I love the notifications and the expanded use with the apps and widgits. I was pleasantly surprised when it picked up google maps turn by turn directions when I was driving.

  • Steve31907 says:

    I am still having crash issues on my new Vivoactive HR after downloading a couple of these "great new apps". They should not allow the developers to list a device that has not been tested and shown to work.  Nothing like your watch locking up in the middle of a 7 miles run because the neat looking clock face has conflicts with the run widget. 

  • args says:

    Can you explain why none of the Golf apps are being made available for my forerunner 235? I know this watch was not sold for that use but there would appear to be no technical reason why Golf apps would not work.

  • du322 says:

    Don't laugh at the stopwatch app. It is needed because Garmin saw fit to not include a stopwatch function on the 230/235. Same goes for a countdown timer and there still isn't a basic version in the app store.

    Don't get me wrong, overall the 230 is the best running watch I've used to date and the ability to receive notifications from my phone is all the "smart" I need in a watch. I'll take limited functionality and 2 week real world battery life over Apple's creation any day. Just don't buy it thinking the app store is a serious plus. It might be some day but right now it's little more than a gimmick.

  • CatR says:


    I need help. I own a Garmin Vivoactive smartwatch just over a year. It's the first time my activity (it was a "run") will not load up in the activities in Connect IQ.  Even though I can see the activity on the watch (in "history"), it will not sync and load up in  Connect IQ or on iPhone, even after syncing complete. Does anyone have any advice? Can someone help> Thanks, 

    • j.stables says:

      Hi CatR. Firstly, and a minor point, you mean Garmin Connect. Connect IQ is the 'app store' off new sports etc that you can download. Just a pedantic point that will be helpful for you getting some help with this if the below doesn't work.

      Basics first: Make sure Garmin Connect app is updated on your phone. Go to the Bluetooth menu on your phone and check that 'Vivoactive' is in the list of paired devices. If not, it's not paired properly. If it is: remove/forget the device and repair again in the Garmin Connect app (menu > Devices > add device) and try again.

      If that doesn't work, go to your PC/Mac, download the Garmin Express software and then connect your watch physically with the cable, and download the runs manually. The web login for Connect is at ;

  • AmyH says:

    Which app is shown in the picture which is just under the "What can you download?" heading in your article on the Vivoactive with the white band which shows "push-ups"?

  • Kristypower87 says:

    hi all, I am new to Garmin, just switched from Fitbit. I love the fact that you can have your own watch faces but I don't know what I need to create one of my very own and am wondering if you can use your own background by changing someone else's or if someone might be able to create one for me? I love the ideas with the punisher watch face, but instead of having the punisher as my background, would love to have Disturbed's scary face or the belief symbol of theirs... any chance someone could help me or do this for me? Thanks in advance.

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