​Garmin overhauls GPS navigation on its watches – and it’s coming to most devices

Less mapping more running
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Garmin has overhauled GPS course navigation features on its devices with a new API, and now users can automatically add routes from apps such as Strava.

Users will now be able to upload routes and courses they’ve made using third party services much more seamlessly. This means cutting out the steps of uploading GPX files from Strava and Komoot.

Strava also just added its new route building tool into its smartphone app – so the timing couldn't be better.

Athletes can record and share activities with a free Strava account, while a Strava subscription allows members to set custom goals, receive personal heatmaps, or compete in Live Segments.

​Garmin overhauls GPS navigation on its watches – and it’s coming to most devices

And it’s not set to be a super premium feature. Any Garmin device that has the ability to follow a course will be compatible.

That means that Forerunner 245, Forerunner 645 and of course the Forerunner 945 will all be compatible. And outside of the Forerunner range, you’ll find it on most generations of the Garmin Fenix and the Garmin Instinct outdoor watch too.

Sadly, because the Courses feature doesn’t make it to Vivoactive 4, Venu or Forerunner 45, those devices won’t get the new update.

Adding GPX routes to Garmin watches has been a bit of a faff. Last year the process was simplified, but you still had to upload GPX files via the Garmin web app. It required a good knowledge of not only Garmin Connect, but also an awareness of using courses and navigation on the watch itself.

And while it’s still set to be a prosumer feature, hopefully users of Strava will find a simpler integration more appealing – and will get outside and adventuring with their smartwatches.

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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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