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- What type of apps can you find on the Garmin Connect IQ store?
- Which Garmin watches are compatible with the Connect IQ Store?
- How to download and install apps from the Garmin IQ Store?
- Best Garmin Watch Apps for Runners
- Best Garmin Watch Apps for cycling
- Best Garmin Watch Apps for Hiking
- Best Garmin Watch Apps for weather forecasts
- Best Garmin Watch Apps for Music Lovers
- To Wrap Up
To add value to our life and exercise routine, Smartwatches and Fitness Trackers must combine accurate sensors, GPS tracking capabilities, and of course, informative software. Garmin’s reputation was built on the quality of its hardware, but over the years, the Connect IQ platform also gained traction. Even if it is impossible to compare the Apple Store with the Garmin Connect IQ Store, the number and quality of the available apps have improved and should change how Garmin users interact with their devices.
This article will guide you through our selection of what I consider the Best Garmin Apps for exercising, navigating through the cities or landscape, improving your physical performance, and, more generally, assisting you and improving your lifestyle.
What type of apps can you find on the Garmin Connect IQ store?
The Garmin’s Connect IQ Store is not as big as the Apple Watch Store but is significantly greater than you may anticipate. You will find apps to help you with exercises, entertainment, maps and navigation, the weather, calendars and calculators, battery widgets, and many watch faces.
The Apps are organized in various categories that will let you make your Garmin Watch truly unique.
GARMIN CONNECT IQ CATEGORIES
Hot & Fresh Apps
Data Rich Watch Faces
Data Fields for Runners
Navigate your world
Data Fields for Cyclists
Weather at a glance
Scanners and Displays
Around the World
Health & Welness
Style & Substances
Analog Watch Faces
Active Lifestyle Apps
Fun Watch Faces
Out to Sea
Digital Watch Faces
Home and Away
Better Living Through Apps
Useful Workout Metrics
One thing to remember is that the Garmin Connect IQ Store does not contain only apps but also widgets, face watches, and customizable data fields that can be customized to your liking.
You can follow this link that will lead to the Garmin IQ web page to get a better idea of the Garmin Watch Apps available.
Which Garmin watches are compatible with the Connect IQ Store?
Not all Garmin devices will let you download and install new apps. For example, at the time of this writing, only the following Garmin smartwatches will allow installing apps from third-party developers:
The best way to know if your watch is compatible with the IQ store is to check on Garmin’s official website. The company maintains and updates a list of compatible devices.
At the time of this writing, the following smartwatches were open to additional apps installation:
- Approach S60/S62
- Captain Marvel
- D2 (all models)
- Descent (all models)
- Enduro (Gen 1/2)
- Fenix (all models)
- Garmin Swim 2
- Instinct 2/2S
- MARQ (all models)
- Venu (all models)
Now that you made sure that your watch is compatible, the first point to discuss is how to access and download the apps from the Connect IQ Store.
Some apps come for free, such as the watch faces, and others are mainly on the freemium business model, meaning that they will offer limited features for free and will request a payment to unlock all of the features of the premium version.
How to download and install apps from the Garmin IQ Store?
Accessing the Garmin Store can be done directly from an Android or iOS smartphone. The critical point is to create a valid Garmin account on the Garmin Connect App or the Garmin Connect website. The Android App can be found here, and clicking here will lead you to the iOS App.
Assuming that your Garmin Connect Account is linked to your Garmin smartwatch, when pressing “Install,” the Garmin apps will automatically install on and become accessible in the apps menu of your Garmin Watch. It could not be simpler!
Now that you know what you can find in the IQ store let’s go one step further. I will suggest to you what are, in my opinion, the best Garmin Watch Apps. For your convenience, I will present them in categories that may differ from the IQ Store, but that makes more sense, in my opinion.
Best Garmin Watch Apps for Runners
If you are into sports, and I assume you own a Garmin, I bet you are already using Strava. The Strava Routes app has been on the podium of the best Garmin Apps for a long time. You will not find it in our selection, though, because Strava Routes is not available anymore in the IQ store. In addition, it is now straightforward to link Strava and Garmin Connect, so using an external App does not make sense.
All in One: Best Data Field for runners
My Garmin Forerunner 255 is excellent for tracking numerous metrics from distance to speed, pace, and heart rhythm. However, one of the main issues is that when running, the last thing you want to do is to have to press the button to access the various metrics.
All in One aims at fixing that and will let you customize the screen to your exact needs and likes. The App screen is simple to set up, and with just a glance at your screen, you will have access to all the data you need to keep running.
More than being well thought out, the App is more a data field than an App and is entirely free.
The All in One Garmin Apps can be downloaded from here.
Train to Run: Best App for beginner runners
Let’s tell you the truth. I am not an Olympic runner. I am overweight and tend to drink and smoke occasionally. However, it doesn’t mean I do not take my running and workout seriously. This Garmin App is perfect for me. It is based on the method developed by Olympic Marathonian Jeff Galloway. I like that the App is designed to improve your performance using the run and walk method.
The Garmin app offers the possibility to program walk and runs episodes. As your training improves, the cycles will include fewer walking episodes and more running. With the possibility to program up to 10 workouts, this App is perfect for beginners.
The Train to Run Garmin Apps can be downloaded from here.
Best Garmin Watch Apps for cycling
MapMyRoute: Best for planning Cycling Route
MapMyRoute is the big brother of DwMap but is optimized for cyclists. From the website, it is possible to plan your cycling itinerary and follow them directly from your watch. Combined with Strava, you can get the best of the two worlds.
Best Garmin Watch Apps for Hiking
I would not envisage my Garmin device without a hiking app. However, finding the right one can be tricky and greatly depend on your watch. The high-end models such as the new Fenix or the Garmin Forerunner 955 will include a built-in mapping system. However, other models will not come with the possibility of using Google Map Data.
I love Google Maps, and when traveling abroad, it is the App you do not want to forget, and that can now be with you at any time.
DWMap: Best for walking or running around
If I had to choose just one App, it would probably be DWMap. From all the apps I tested, this one is the only one I continue to use regularly. From the DWMap web page, it becomes possible to define itineraries and upload them to your Garmin device.
The App will then make the most of the built-in GPS and guide you to your destination. It is also a great way to change your daily and regular running routes and become a bit adventurous while knowing that you will never be lost.
Another benefit to consider is when traveling abroad. Looking like a tourist and following Google Maps with your smartphone in your hand is the best way to get robbed. With DWMap, you can glance at your watch screen to get back on the right track.
DWMap comes free with basic functionalities that will probably meet the needs of 90% of the users and offer many more options for a reasonable fee.
DWMap can be downloaded from here. By the way, this App has already been downloaded more than 1.2 million times…The proof this tracking app works!
Komoot: Best for Hiking
Komoot is probably the ultimate route planner. Komoot relies on the idea that you are not alone and that hiking can be a social adventure. Of course, not all apps are created equal, but for planning walking, hiking, or cycling, Komoot will not disappoint you.
You may plan any path you wish to track in a matter of seconds with the help of Komoot, the best route planner available. Komoot provides sport-specific, topographic routing that is tailor-made for your outdoor activities, whether you are looking for smooth asphalt for your road cycle, singletracks for your mountain bike, tranquil paths for your hikes, or lonesome trails for your runs.
More than a standard map nav app, Komoot offers access to thousands of itineraries uploaded directly by users. The only issue I found is that when living abroad, the number of available itineraries may be limited or repetitive.
If you want to be part of the over 600,000 users that downloaded Komoot, click here. I forgot to mention that even if the App is free, you may have to pay to download the maps and access premium features.
Best Garmin Watch Apps for weather forecasts
An accurate weather reporting app is a must-have for runners, cyclists, and anyone. If there is one helpful App you must consider, this is a weather app. Luckily, the Garmin Watch can perfectly synchronize weather data from your mobile device.
AccuWeather MinuteCast: Best for Accurate Weather forecasts
I am usually not a big fan of AccuWeather, more for moral than technical reasons. But, somehow, I must admit that their MinuteCase App is probably the best Garmin watch app for weather tracking. The App is simple but will do the job. It will present a minute-per-minute weather forecast that can become handy when walking or running outside. You will have no more reason to be under the rain.
AccuWeather MinuteCasr can be downloaded from here.
Accuweather also offers two additional widgets that you may want to consider. One will display the real-time Air Quality (you can download it from here) and the other for allergens (download it from here.)
UV Index At a Glance (Widget): Best to avoid sunburns
UV Index At a Glance is more in the Widget category than the pure App one. This Widget will display the current and maximum UV index at a given location. When on the beach or working outside, it can become handy to avoid getting bad sunburns.
UV Index at a Glance can be downloaded from here.
Best Garmin Watch Apps for Music Lovers
Numerous music apps exist for Garmin: the Amazon music app, Spotify, and Deezer for just citing a few of them. Even if Spotify seems to be promoted by Garmin, it is hard to recommend one over another.
They are all equally good, and the differences will mainly be linked to their underlying music catalog. The Garmin Forerunner 255 Music I use allows downloading music directly to the watch and job or cycle without needing your phone. A Bluetooth headset or earbuds can easily be paired to the watch for complete freedom.
If you are like me, I would not even consider getting out without my phone, thus limiting the benefits of downloading music to the watch, but in case you hike in the middle of nowhere or are faced with slow internet connectivity, these Garmin apps will allow you to listen to music.
When it comes to the choice, use the music streaming App that comes with your Music Streaming service. I am delighted with Deezer. I have been using it for numerous years but have nothing against Spotify.
The Spotify app can be downloaded from here.
The Amazon Music App can be downloaded from here.
The Deezer App can be downloaded from here.
To Wrap Up
Selecting the Best apps for Garmin is not an easy task. There are so many. I advise selecting just a couple of them and not installing those you will never use. Garmin watches already have plenty of widgets. A new sleep tracking app or a dedicated swimming app will probably not change any results you can already get natively.
Some popular apps, such as the battery widget or the pregnancy tracking app, are undoubtedly helpful. Still, they will ultimately use a lot of memory and may impact your Garmin’s performance without talking about the battery life. Finally, keep in mind that the memory of a watch is limited and will not allow you to install more than 20-30 apps in average. Another reason to select them carefully.
The goal of a sports watch is probably not to replace your phone. Be wise when installing new apps, experiment, and keep the ones that app value to your life.