How To Install Garmin Apps On A Garmin Watch

A practical guide of how to install Garmin apps on Garmin Forerunner running watches (on the example of my Forerunner 235).

I have been using my Garmin Forerunner 235 for a couple of months now and I really like this little device. It has lots of different features and is almost like a smartwatch because I can install new apps on it and it displays notifications form my phone.

As a technology geek, I always want to customize and personalize my devices as much as I can. My running watch is obviously no exception. In today’s post I will show you how to install apps on a Garmin Forerunner watch in two easy ways: wirelessly (over Bluetooth) and with the use of a USB cable.  Let’s start!

If you are thinking about buying a Garmin watch, this is my Garmin Forerunner 235 I have g bought. Don't forget to check my review of Garmin 235. 

Installing New Apps On Garmin Forerunner

Even though most newer Garmin Forerunner watches look and behave like smartwatches, they unfortunately don’t run Android. It means that  you won’t find any compatible apps  for your Garmin watch in Google Play or in other Android app stores (e.g. Amazon Appstore for Android).

Fortunately, Garmin watches have their own dedicated store Connect IQ Store (this is the link for the store for apps for Forerunner 235 only and it only works if you are logged into your Garmin Connect account).

In this store runners can look for new apps for their watches, such as, watch faces or widgets. The number of apps available there isn’t as great as in Google Play, but everyone should find something interesting for them.

However, I discovered that installing new apps on Garmin Forerunner watches isn’t as obvious and simple as it is in the case of installing apps from Google Play. That’s why in this tutorial I will show you step by step how to add new apps and functionalities to your running watch.

How to Install Garmin Apps via Bluetooth

If you don’t want to use a USB cable, you can install apps to your running watch wirelessly over Bluetooth. This is probably the most practical method because all you need here is your watch and your Android phone, which means that you can install new apps to your phone wherever you are.

How to install apps on Garmin

However, this method may be a bit slower than with the use of a USB cable. Here is what you need to install apps on Garmin Forerunner 235 over Bluetooth:

  • Pair your Garmin watch with your Android phone if you haven’t done so already. To do that, you need to enable Bluetooth in your phone and in your watch (go to Settings > Bluetooth > Status and turn it on).  When your phone finds your watch, click on it end enter the code displayed on the screen of the watch. Your Garmin watch will now be on the list of paired devices.
How to install new apps on Garmin

Download and install app Garmin Connect Mobile on your Android phone. Next, log in with your Garmin account and make sure your watch is paired (click on Garmin Devices in the main menu of the app). If it isn’t, follow the instructions in the app.

How to install Garmin apps on Garmin watch

If you are pairing your phone with your watch for the first time, it maytake some time.In the case of Android “M”, you will need to give a number of different permissions for this to work.

How to install apps on Garmin

Make sure your Android phone is connected to the Internet (either via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi). You will need the Internet connection to download new apps.

Open app Garmin Connect and click on Connect IQ Store. Log in once again whenyou are asked to do so.

How to install apps on Garmin

You can now browse the apps available for your watch. Click on the app to read its detailed description. Make sure it’s compatible with your watch. If you want to install the app, click on Download and Accept Terms.

Installing new apps on Garmin

You will now see the notification saying that the app will be installed on your watch the next time your device syncs.

How to install apps on Garmin

As you can see in the screenshots above, my devices are still syncing so I have to wait for a few moments. Unfortunately, the new app won’t be installed unless you help it. In the app on your phone, you need to go to Garmin Devices > Forerunner 235 (choose the name of you watch) > Connect IQ Apps.

You will see the different types of apps you can install on your watch. Choose the type you are interested in. I chose Watch Faces (as this is the type of app I have just tried to install) and I can see the new app listed under NOT INSTALLED.

Install new apps on Garmin watch

To install the app, I need to click on it and then choose INSTALL. Your device will sync and when it’s done you will finally have the new app on your watch (and the app will move from NOT INSTALLED to INSTALLED).

How to install apps on Garmin

Once you finish installing the app according to the above instructions it will simply be  added as one of the default home screens (you will be able to go to it with the arrow buttons of your watch).

How to install apps on Garmin via a USB cable

Alternatively, you can also install new apps to your Garmin watch via a USB cable (the one you use for charging your watch). To do that you have use of a desktop app Garmin Express (you can download it from here).   The whole procedure is rather similar but here you connect your watch to your computer with the use of a USB cable (so synchronization may often be quicker). Here is how you do it:

  • Log into your Garmin account in the web browser at Garmin Connect.
  • Click on the name of your watch to see its detailed options and click on Connect IQ Store.
How to install apps on Garmin
  • You will now see the list of apps available for your device.
How to install apps on Garmin Forerunner
  • Just like you did on the mobile app (a few steps above), click on the app you want to install and click Download.
How to install apps on Garmin
  • Next your web  browser should ask you if you let it to open the external app Garmin Express. Let it do so and the above mentioned app will be launched on your computer.
  • All you need to do know is connect your watch to your desktop computer and wait until Garmin Express syncs your watch and the new app will be installed on it.
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