How to connect a Garmin watch to your phone

Follow our simple steps to get your Garmin watch setup with your smartphone.

If you’ve treated yourself – or someone has treated you – to a new Garmin watch, then you now have something that can track your runs and yoga sessions, and count daily steps, while keeping a close eye on your heart rate.

But before you can think about doing all of that you’ll need to get that Garmin watch connected to your smartphone. You can use the watch without doing this, but this is how you’ll get the most complete Garmin experience.

Garmin watch and Android phoneCredit: Saga Exceptional

Garmin has a pretty extensive collection of watches and all are designed to be compatible with Android phones and iPhone. If you want to know how to bring the two together, we take you through step-by-step how to do it.


Got a different smartwatch?

We also have guides on how to connect an Apple Watch to your iPhone and how to connect a Samsung watch to your phone.

Things to do first

Check your phone’s software version

The good news is that if you’re buying a Garmin watch that has been launched in the last few years, then it should be compatible with most recent iPhones and Android phones.

Garmin usefully outlines on its website what version of software your phone needs to be running on to be able to download the Garmin Connect phone app needed to connect your new watch to your phone.

For iPhones, you need to have a phone running on iOS 15.0 or higher. To check this, go to the Settings on your phone, press General and then About. From here you can see the version of software your iPhone is running on. If you need to and can update your iPhone, that process is nicely explained on Apple’s website.

For owners of an Android phone, the phone or tablet must be running on Android 7.0 or above. To check this, go into the Settings on your Android phone or tablet, go to About phone or tablet and scroll down and look for Android version. Google also provides a guide on how to update your Android phone (if needed) on its website.

Lastly, before you start this process, make sure your watch and phone are fully charged just in case the process takes slightly longer than usual. Though it should be relatively straightforward and quick.

Connect to an iPhone

How to connect a Garmin watch to an iPhone

Garmin watch and iPhoneCredit: Saga Exceptional
  1. Go to the Apple App Store on your phone and search for Garmin Connect. Once found, download and then tap Open when the download is complete.
  2. Now you will be prompted to Create Account or Sign In. If you’ve owned a Garmin before you can use your existing login details to login. If it’s the first time you’re using Garmin Connect, tap Create Account.
  3. Next, you’ll need to read and agree that you’ve read Garmin’s End User Licence Agreement.
  4. You’ll then be asked to enter details such as your name and email address, and to create the password to be used to log into your Garmin Connect account.
  5. Once you’ve created your Garmin Connect login you should receive an email to verify your account, sent to the email address you used to set up the account. Once you verify that, you can begin to get access to Garmin Connect.
  6. Now inside of the app, tap the More menu in the bottom right hand corner and scroll down until you see Garmin Devices. Tap to open.
  7. Tap Add Device and keep your Garmin watch nearby. That app should automatically detect your watch. If not, make sure Bluetooth is turned on on your phone.
  8. If it doesn’t automatically detect your watch, you can also select from a list of Garmin’s collection of watches and try to pair it that way.
  9. Once a connection is established, the app will send a notification to the watch that it wants to pair. Accept the connection on the watch and the pairing process will begin.
  10. Now it’s a case of waiting as the app sets up the watch connection and it will notify you when that connection is successful.

Connect to an Android phone

How to connect a Garmin watch to an Android phone

Garmin watch and Android phoneCredit: Saga Exceptional
  1. Go to the Google Play Store app on your Android phone and search for the Garmin Connect app. Tap to download, and once downloaded tap Open to load the app.
  2. Now the process will be similar to how we described doing this with an iPhone. You’ll be prompted to Create an Account or Sign In. If you’ve owned a Garmin watch before, you can use your existing login details. First time users will need to tap Create Account.
  3. The next screen will display Garmin’s End User Licence Agreement, which you can read and then agree to.
  4. Enter the required details, such as name and email address, and create a password.
  5. Keep an eye on your email account, as you should receive an email to verify your account. Once you click the verify link in that email, you can begin to get access to Garmin Connect. Make sure that the email is an official one from Garmin.
  6. When you’ve set up an account and signed in, the app may display a prompt to Allow Connect to access your nearby devices. Tap to Allow Access to enable your watch to be synced to the Garmin Connect app.
  7. Once in the Garmin Connect app, tap the icon with the three lines to open the app’s dropdown menu. Tap Garmin Devices and tap Add Device.
  8. Keep your Garmin watch close to your phone and make sure Bluetooth is turned on on your phone to make sure the two can be connected.
  9. If the app doesn’t automatically detect your watch, you can tap Browse all compatible devices, to manually search for your watch and pair it that way.
  10. Once the app acknowledges it’s found your watch, it’ll start the pairing process by sending a vibrating notification to the watch, asking you to accept the pairing with a pin code that should be the same one on your phone screen.
  11. From there, to complete the connection process, you just need to keep watch and phone close by and not leave or close the Garmin Connect app on your phone.
Michael Sawh

Written by Michael Sawh he/him


Michael is a contributor for Saga Exceptional. He’s a freelance journalist who has covered consumer technology for over a decade and specializes in wearable and fitness tech. Previously editor of Wareable, he also co-ran the features and reviews sections of T3, and has a long list of bylines in the world of consumer tech sites.

With a focus on fitness trackers, headphones, running wearables, phones, and tablet, he has written for numerous publications including Wired UK, TechRadar, GQ, Men’s Fitness, BBC Science Focus, Metro and Stuff, and has appeared on the BBC Travel Show.

Michael is a keen swimmer, a runner with a number of marathons under his belt, and is also the co-founder of YouTube channel The Run Testers.

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