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

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 235 or the Fenix 5 there are now some top apps and watch faces to download from Garmin Connect IQ – the company's own app store.

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 and niche add-ons can be added into the mix to make the watch feel like a personal companion. The company is also adding new features to its watches including the ability to control smart home tech from your wrist.

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

If you are wondering how Connect IQ works, read on for everything you need to 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

Let's start with the devices you can actually use with Garmin Connect IQ, which includes sports watches, smartwatches and bike computers. There are now more than 20 devices that are Connect IQ ready.

The Connect IQ compatible list includes: Fenix 5, Fenix 5S, Fenix 5X, Fenix 3, Fenix 3HR, Fenix Chronos, Forerunner 230, 235, 630, 935, 735XT and 920XT; Vivoactive and HR version; Edge 520, 820, 1000; D2 Bravo, Quatix 5, Epix and Oregon. 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

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

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 HR. 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, and now there's a tonne of useful applets to try out. We've rounded up our favourites below.

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 can 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 devices: Fenix 5 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive/Vivoactive HR, Fenix 3, Forerunner 230/235/630/735XT/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 covering those big distances.

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

Download Learn to run Connect IQ app

Dozen Run

Dozen Run is a data field that can be added to your Garmin watch and adds race prediction to your array of data. You can configure the race prediction by entering the distance of your preferred event in meters, which will display after just 45 seconds of running, and adapt as your pace changes. There's now even dedicated data fields for cycling, swimming and walking too.

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

Download Dozen Run Connect IQ data field

Gym Genius

While the Garmin Vivosmart 3 fitness tracker is the company's only wearable right now that can count reps, this Connect IQ app tries to make Garmin's watches more gym-friendly. You can create custom workouts including rest intervals, change the order of exercises in the session and get a buzz or screen alert when it's time to move onto the next activity.

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

Download Gym Genius 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, 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 devices: Fenix 5 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive/Vivoactive HR, Fenix 3, Forerunner 230/235/630/735XT/920XT/935, D2 Bravo

Download 7-Minute Workour Connect IQ app

HR Sleep

An essential for Vivoactive HR owners only (at least, for now) this app lets you harness the sporty smartwatch's sleep tracking powers and heart rate sensor to see how sleep is improving over time. It breaks down sleep into zones and will display average and minimum HR readings to provide more interesting insights into your sleep time.

Compatible devices: Vivoactive HR

Download HR Sleep Connect IQ app

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, license plate and even directions to the pick up location. Can we have this for our Apple Watch too?

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

Download Uber ETA 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 onto a new dimension of super data we've never experienced before.

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

Download GearMin 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 devices: Fenix 5 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive/Vivoactive HR, Fenix 3, Forerunner 230/235/630/735XT/920XT, D2 Bravo, Epix, Edge 1000/520/820, Edge Explore 520/820

Download Strava Live Suffer Score Connect IQ app

ActiFace

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

Download ActiFace Connect IQ watch face

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 devices: Fenix 5 series, Vivoactive HR, Forerunner 735XT and 935, Edge 520/820

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 devices: Fenix 5 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive/Vivoactive HR, Fenix 3, Forerunner 230/235/630/735XT/920XT/935, D2 Bravo, Oregon, Rino, Edge 1000/520/820

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 devices: Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos Vivoactive/Vivoactive HR, Fenix 3, Forerunner 230/235/630/735XT/920XT/935, D2 Bravo, Epix

Download Commute Tracker 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 giving you vibration feedback when you drop below or speed up above that target pace.

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

Download dwMap 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 devices: Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive, Fenix 3, Forerunner 920XT, D2 Bravo, Epix

Download Basketball score tracker Connect IQ app

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

Download Golf Birdie Connect IQ app


Shop for recommended running watches on Amazon

Garmin Forerunner 235
Garmin Forerunner 235
$289.99
TomTom Spark 3
TomTom Spark 3
$169.99
Polar M600
Polar M600
$329.95
Fitbit Surge
Fitbit Surge
$241.75

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20 Comments

  • 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

  • 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:

    Hello, 

    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, 

  • 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.

  • gunluvr says:

    I just want to be able to change the data fields so that I can display only 2 items instead of 3 on my fenix3hr.  Any suggestions?

  • Swatson1881 says:

    why is my weather showing on my vivoactive HR not same as local weather temp showing on my smart phone? 

  • DME says:

    I cannot download different watch faces through the Connect IQ store.  I keep getting a message that says "sorry, the app wasn't sent to your device because we're having trouble communicating with our servers.  Please try again later."  I've been trying for weeks.

    The watch is paired to my phone and the Bluetooth is on.  Any help would be appreciated.

  • Apsley says:

    If you have already tried iOS and Android development and want to try something new, the Garmin app store might not be a bad idea.

  • Gregri says:

    In the Google play store there are apps. that track your intervals, workout, tabata, and heart rate. I would like to see the Hr garmin from my watch connect with my phone apps.  because the screen 's bigger and tracking the activity is already being recorded on the phone. Looking at my watch would be difficult when lifting weights or doing cardio.

  • Reptile6 says:

    sold my 920XT to a teammate after using the IQ app for two years...which was a ton of fun!  Purchased a new 620 and so disappointed that this watch will not work with the IQ.  Any particular reason why?  Just allowing the watch faces download is enough....help me out here!

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