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

All you need to know about the Garmin IQ app store

If you're the owner of a new Garmin watch, whether it's an oldie (but a goodie) like the Forerunner 235, the Forerunner 935 or the Fenix 5 Plus, there are now some top apps and watch faces to download from Garmin Connect IQ ‚Äď the company's own app store.

Garmin only opened up its platform a few years ago, 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 and niche add-ons can be added into the mix to make the watch feel like a personal companion. It's also recently launched a standalone Google Connect IQ Store app, making it easier to get those add-ons onto your watch.

Read this: Best running watches to buy now

If you are wondering how Connect IQ works, read on for everything you need to know, plus we pick the best apps to try out.


Which Garmin watches use Connect IQ?

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

There are a lot of Garmin's sports watches, smartwatches and bike computers that are compatible with Connect IQ. That list of supported devices continues to grow as Garmin ushers out more new devices. We anticipate the Forerunner 945 and the Forerunner 245, which are rumoured to launch soon, will be added to that Connect IQ compatibility list too.

Hands on: Garmin Marq luxury sports watch review

Right now, the Connect IQ compatible list includes: Fenix 5 Plus, Fenix 5, Fenix 5S, Fenix 5X, Fenix 3, Fenix 3HR, Fenix Chronos; Forerunner 230, 235, 630, 645, 645 Music, 935, 735XT and 920XT; Vivoactive, Vivoactive HR and Vivoactive 3, Vivoactive 3 Music; Edge 520, 820, 1000; D2 Bravo, Quatix 5, Epix, Oregon, Instinct and all Marq watches. 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, the idea is that the watch you bought to train for that marathon, triathlon or cycling race 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.

What can you download?

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

Most of the apps on Garmin Connect IQ are free. We are still starting to see some paid apps appear, but on the whole the majority are up for grabs for nothing. Many of these 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

Apps in Garmin Connect IQ world are downloaded and stored on your watch in pretty much 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 a 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. But you can also expect to see apps related to the smart home, and the addition of music support on Garmin watches like the Forerunner 645 Music means there are music apps to discover too.

Watch faces

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

Finally you can choose from a range of third-party watch face designs and layouts. These cover everything from turning your Garmin Forerunner 935 screen into an old school big hand little hand display to putting a skull and cross bones Jolly Roger on your Vivoactive 3 Music. Many of the watch faces have been designed to work across different devices too, so upgrading your watch won't mean sacrificing your beloved custom screens.

Widgets

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 available for download there are third party offerings from AccuWeather with its allergen monitor, as well as things like multi time zone display, step counter, sleep history and even Snake. Yes, even Snake.

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.

How to download from Garmin Connect IQ

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

With the arrival of Garmin's standalone Connect IQ app, it's definitely got a lot easier to get stuff on your device. First, you will need a Garmin Connect account, which you'll need to have if you use Garmin's Connect app. That's the app where you can view all of your exercise, health and fitness data.

With your Garmin paired to your phone, download the Connect IQ app (Apple App Store or Google Play) to your phone and launch the app. Your connected device should appear in the top right corner of the app to indicate that the two are paired.

Now you can scroll through the app store to find what you're looking for, hit download and it should sync over to your device.

The other way to do it is by getting access to a laptop/computer with Garmin Express installed, and getting your Garmin device 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, check how much space you've got left on the device and manage all of your 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

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

The Garmin Connect IQ Store has come on leaps and bounds since we originally penned this list, and now there's a tonne of useful applets to try out. We've rounded up our favourites below. Not all apps are compatible with all devices, but we've picked out some of the supported devices with the picks below.

Running and cycling apps

Strava Routes

We think it's a fair assumption to make that if you've got a Garmin, you're probably logging your workouts in Strava as well. If a friend or fellow Strava user happens to share a good running or cycling route, this app will let you transfer it over to your watch so you can follow the same route. It'll show you when you've veered off course as well, if you're worried about getting lost.

Compatible watches: Forerunner 735XT, Forerunner 645 Music, Forerunner 935, Fenix 5 series.

Download Strava Routes Connect IQ app

Stryd IQ

The makers of the wearable power meter for runners have also built a really useful companion Connect IQ app that lets you view power-based metrics tracked by the company's devices. This includes letting you keep an eye on ground contact time, vertical oscillation and live power zones. It'll also help you get your pace right for race day. Away from the app, there's a Stryd Power data field, which can be added to a host of different sports tracking modes.

Compatible watches: Fenix 5 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive/Vivoactive HR/Vivoactive 3, Fenix 3, Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935.

Download Stryd IQ Connect IQ app

Learn to run

For running beginners who've splashed out big on a feature-packed Garmin watch, this simple app offers a host of different training programs that will help you run 5K. When you've mastered doing a 5K you can move up to 10k and running for longer, with interval training added to the mix to get you in shape for those big distances.

Compatible watches: Fenix 5 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive/Vivoactive HR, Fenix 3, Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935, D2 Bravo.

Download Learn to run Connect IQ app

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 watches: Fenix 5 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive/Vivoactive HR/Vivoactive 3, Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935, D2 Bravo, Epix.

Download Strava Live Suffer Score Connect IQ app

Music apps

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

Spotify

Yes, there is a now a dedicated Spotify app, joining Deezer and iHeartRadio in letting you pile playlists from the streaming music service onto compatible Garmin watches. That does also mean you have offline playlist support if you want to leave your phone behind on your next run or ride. As mentioned, it only works on select devices that offer music player support.

Read this: How to connect Spotify to Garmin watches

Compatible watches: Forerunner 645/645 Music, Fenix 5 Plus series, Marq, Vivoactive 3 Music

Download Spotify Connect IQ app

Training apps

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

Final Surge

Final Surge was picked out as the best training app at the 2019 Connect IQ Developer Awards, so it's an app that's well thought of. It's designed for watches and cycling computers, letting users download workouts for running, cycling and swimming to supported devices and letting you choose how many days of those planned workouts are downloaded and stored. Workouts are based on performance metrics such as threshold pace and heart rate and can be synced and analysed by athletes and coaches inside the Final Surge training log.

Compatible watches: Forerunner 645/645 Music, Fenix 5 Plus series, Marq, Forerunner 935

Download Final Surge Connect IQ app

Beep Test

Remember this one from school? Yes, you can put yourself through the agony of a beep test, setting up your watch to create 20 metre shuttle run that should quickly give you a sense of whether you need to spend a bit more time in the gym or in your running shoes.

Compatible watches: Fenix 5 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive HR/Vivoactive 3, Fenix 3, Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935.

Download Beep Test Connect IQ app

7-Minute Workout

For HIIT lovers, 7-Minute Workout takes you through a series of exercises to get the heart pumping, including jumping jacks and push-ups, while factoring in rest times and displaying real-time heart rate data. The UI looks great and it'll help you mix up that training when you're struggling to put aside time.

Compatible watches: Fenix 5 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive/Vivoactive HR/Vivoactive 3, Fenix 3, Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935, D2 Bravo.

Download 7-Minute Workout Connect IQ app

OnPace

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 gives you vibration feedback when you drop below or speed up above that target pace.

Compatible watches: D2 Bravo, Epix, Forerunner 920XT, Epix, Fenix 3, Vivoactive, Fenix Chronos.

Download OnPace Connect IQ app

dwMap

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 showing 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 watches: Fenix 5 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive/Vivoactive HR/Vivoactive 3, Fenix 3, Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935, D2 Bravo, Epix.

Download dwMap Connect IQ app

Strength Training+

If you want your Garmin to be a better fit for the gym, this is one of the better apps on the Connect IQ Store to help you. Strength Training+ is able to deliver 'Weight Adjustable' calorie calculations based on your gym workouts, which can then be posted to Garmin Connect companion app. Those calorie calculations are based on a formula from the Journal of Sports Sciences, so should serve up reliable data to represent how hard you've worked out. To use it you'll need to pay $2 with the ability to trial it first for free for 10 minutes.

Download Strength Training+ Connect IQ app

Compatible watches: Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935, Fenix series, vivoactive 3 series

Swimming App Professional

Pretty much all of Garmin's watches are waterproof and for swimmers this is one of the best apps we've found on the store. It's built for open water swimming, displaying key metrics like speed, pace and distance along with offering customisable data fields. There's also the option of displaying heart rate data when your watch is paired with an external sensor to deliver that accurate HR data in the water.

Compatible watches: Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935, Fenix series, Vivoactive 3 series

Download Swimming App Professional Connect IQ app

Everything else

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

Uber ETA

A neat app for all-day Garmin wearers, Uber ETA lets you know the status of your impending cab. You can get a countdown of its progress to your spot, with estimated time of arrival, make of car, licence plate and even directions to the pick-up location. Can we have this for our Apple Watch too?

Compatible watches: Fenix 5 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive/Vivoactive HR/Vivoactive 3, Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935, D2 Bravo.

Download Uber ETA Connect IQ app

Toothbrush Timer

An app not for tracking your fitness but your brushing time in the morning and before you go to bed. The timer is set up for the two minutes that dentist recommend you should spend cleaning your teeth, highlighting the areas you should focus on. It'll also send a small vibration to let you know when to move on from those awkward bits at the back.

Compatible watches: Fenix 5 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive/Vivoactive 3, Fenix 3 HR, Forerunner 230/235/735XT/935/645/645 Music.

Download the Toothbrush Timer Connect IQ app

GearMin

Want to cram your Garmin's screen with as much information as possible? GearMin is your friend. It adds every conceivable metric to your watch's display, from the time and date to current step count, sunrise and sunset times, unread emails and live heart rate. It actually goes beyond information overload into a new dimension of super data we've never experienced before.

Compatible watches: Fenix 5 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive/Vivoactive HR, Fenix 3, Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935, D2 Bravo, Epix.

Download GearMin Connect IQ app

Hike2

The updated hiking-friendly app once again serves up walking specific data such as altitude and headings, as well as standard distance and time tracking. If you have a Vivoactive, you can now also view a compass and barometer data from the watch screen.

Compatible watches: Fenix 5 series, Vivoactive HR/Vivoactive 3, Forerunner 735XT and 935.

Download Hike2 Connect IQ app

Beer Tracker Plus

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 watches: Fenix 5 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive/Vivoactive HR/Vivoactive 3, Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935, D2 Bravo.

Download Beer Tracker Plus Connect IQ app

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 watches: Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive, Forerunner 920XT.

Download Commute Tracker Connect IQ app

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 watches: Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive, Fenix 3, Forerunner 920XT, D2 Bravo, Epix.

Download Basketball score tracker Connect IQ app



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  • MortenH·

    I have bought a Garmin Forerunner 235, and downloaded the datafield app ""Big font with 4 metrics", and synced it using Express. No probs so far.

    However, when I try to use this app on the watch itself, I can't find it. Obviously I have looked for it under datafields - but nothing.

    What am I doing wrong