Best Garmin Connect IQ apps for runners, cyclists and more

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If you’re the owner of a new Garmin watch, whether it’s an oldie (but a goodie) like the Forerunner 235 or something new like the Fenix 6, there are now some top apps and watch faces to download from Garmin Connect IQ – the company’s own app store.

Garmin only opened up its platform a few years ago, allowing 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.

Read this: Best running watches to buy now

If you are wondering how Connect IQ works, read on for everything you need to know, plus we pick the best apps to try out.

Skip to the the best Garmin Connect IQ apps

Which Garmin watches use Connect IQ?

garmin air quality

There are a lot of Garmin’s sports watches, smartwatches, bike computers and dedicated GPS devices that are compatible with Connect IQ.

That list of supported devices continues to grow as Garmin ushers out more new devices. Some of Garmin’s most recent launches including the Venu SQ and the Forerunner 745 are Connect IQ-friendly watches.

That support can vary device to device though. The Forerunner 45 for example is compatible with Connect IQ, but will only let you download watch faces.

Right now, the Connect IQ compatible list includes:

  • Fenix 6 series (all models)
  • Fenix 5 (all models)
  • Fenix 3/3 HR
  • Forerunner 45, 230, 235, 245, 630, 645, 645 Music, 935/945, 735XT, 745 and 920XT
  • Vivoactive, Vivoactive HR and Vivoactive 3, Vivoactive 3 Music, Vivoactive 4/4S, Venu, Venu SQ
  • Swim 2
  • Approach S60, S62
  • Edge 520/530, 820/830, 1000/1030
  • D2 Bravo, Quatix 5, Epix, Oregon
  • Instinct (all models)
  • Marq (all models)

If you do own one of the supported devices, the idea is that the watch you bought to train for that marathon, triathlon or cycling race can now morph into something 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.

What can you download?

download Garmin Connect watch faces

Most of the apps on Garmin Connect IQ are free. We are still starting to see some paid apps appear, but on the whole the majority are up for grabs for nothing.

Many of these 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 in pretty much 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 a 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.

But you can also expect to see apps related to the smart home, and the addition of music support on Garmin watches like the Forerunner 645 Music and Fenix 6 Series means there are music apps to discover too.

Garmin Watch faces

Best Garmin Connect 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 945 screen into an old school big hand, little hand display to putting a skull and cross bones Jolly Roger on your Vivoactive 4.

Many of the watch faces have been designed to work across different devices too, so upgrading your watch won’t mean sacrificing your beloved custom screens.

Read this: Best Garmin watch faces to download

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 available for download there are third party offerings from AccuWeather with its allergen monitor, as well as things like multi time zone display, step counter, sleep history and even Snake. Yes, even Snake.

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.

How to download from Garmin Connect IQ on phone

How to download from Garmin Connect IQ on phone

With the arrival of Garmin’s standalone Connect IQ app, it’s definitely got a lot easier to get stuff on your device. First, you will need a Garmin Connect account, which you’ll need to have if you use Garmin’s Connect companion app. That’s the app where you can view all of your exercise, health and fitness data.

With your Garmin paired to your phone, download the Connect IQ app (Apple App Store or Google Play) to your phone and launch the app. Your connected device should appear in the top right corner of the app to indicate that the two are paired.

Now you can scroll through the app store to find what you’re looking for, hit download and it should sync over to your device.

How to download from Garmin Connect IQ on a computer

The other way to do it is by getting access to a laptop/computer with Garmin Express installed, and getting your Garmin device 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, check how much space you’ve got left on the device and manage all of your 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 from your phone or computer.

Best Garmin Connect IQ apps to download

strava garmin

The Garmin Connect IQ Store has come on leaps and bounds since we originally penned this list, and now there’s a whole host of useful applets to try out. We’ve rounded up our favourites below.

Not all apps are compatible with all devices, but we’ve picked out some of the supported devices with the picks below.

Garmin running and cycling apps

Strava Routes

We think it’s a fair assumption to make that if you’ve got a Garmin, you’re most probably logging your workouts in Strava as well. If a friend or fellow Strava user happens to share a good running or cycling route, this app will let you transfer it over to your watch so you can follow the same route. It’ll show you when you’ve veered off course as well, if you’re worried about getting lost.

A note though, Strava has now made this a feature you need to pay for if you want to make good use of it.

Compatible watches: Forerunner 245, Forerunner 945, Fenix 6 series, Marq

Download Strava Routes Connect IQ app

RunSafe+

This is a really nice app for runners and walkers with tracking profiles that include stroller running, cross country and even pool running.

It then offers you a rich array of data fields to glance over during your session and features like adding transitions for multiple leg activities and race estimations for any distance. It’s one you’ll need to pay for, but you can trial it first before deciding to part with your money.

Compatible watches: Forerunner 245, Forerunner 945, Fenix 3/5/6 series, Marq, Venu, Vivoactive 3/4,

Download RunSafe+ Connect IQ app

Stryd Workout

The makers of the wearable power meter for runners has a built an app that helps you build training sessions focused around the metric. It still offers the Stryd Zones data fields (which you can download here), if you’re already up to speed with your own power-based training.

If you need a little more guidance or dabbling with it as a concept for the first time, you’ll want the Workout app that also plays nice with third party training platforms too.

Compatible watches: Forerunner 245, Forerunner 945, Fenix 6 series, Marq, Venu, Venu SQ, Vivoactive 4

Download Stryd Workout 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 those big distances. It’s been around for a while, but it’s thankfully been recently updated to work with the latest Forerunner watches.

Compatible watches: Forerunner 245, Forerunner 945, Fenix 6 series, Marq, Venu, Venu SQ, Vivoactive 4

Download Learn to run Connect IQ app

Strava Relative Effort

Previously known as Strava Live Suffer Score, this is actually more of a data field than an app that 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 watches: Forerunner 245, Forerunner 945, Fenix 6 series, Marq, Venu, Venu SQ, Vivoactive 4

Download Strava Relative Effort Connect IQ app

Trail Run/Running

Another one that sits in the data field collection, but one we think is worth knowing about. If you like your getting off road, you can squeeze all of your key metrics into one screen to save you from swiping through them on the move.

It’ll save you the job of doing it in Garmin’s own settings putting metrics like elevation and ascent/descent data alongside your core running metrics.

Compatible watches: Forerunner 245, Forerunner 945, Fenix 6 series, Marq, Venu, Venu SQ, Vivoactive 4

Download Trail Run/Running Connect IQ app

Garmin Connect IQ music apps

Best Garmin Connect IQ music apps

Spotify

Yes, there is a dedicated Spotify app, joining Deezer and Amazon Music in letting you pile playlists from the streaming music service onto compatible Garmin watches. That does also mean you have offline playlist support if you want to leave your phone behind on your next run or ride. As mentioned, it only works on select devices that offer music player support.

Read this: How to connect Spotify to Garmin watches

Compatible watches: Forerunner 645/645/745 Music, Forerunner 245 Music, Fenix 5 Plus series, Fenix 6 series, Marq, Vivoactive 3/4 Music, Forerunner 945, Venu

Download Spotify Connect IQ app

Garmin Connect IQ Training apps

Triathlon Duathlon MultiSports

If you’re planning to use your Garmin for multi discipline pursuits, this app can make it a whole lot easier to display all legs of you endurance event.

It supports activities that are made up of two and five sports, which includes running, cycling, swimming and skiing.

It works on a bunch of Garmins that don’t have dedicated triathlon modes, including the Forerunner 245 and the Venu, which is nice to see.

Compatible watches: Forerunner 645/645 Music, Forerunner 245, Forerunner Fenix 5 Plus series, Fenix 6 series, Marq, Forerunner 945, Venu

Download Triathlon Duathlon MultiSports Connect IQ app

Ski/Snowboard Tracker

When you’re on the piste, this dedicated app for snow sports lovers dishes out metrics from your session including distance, speed and ascent.

There’s also support for the ability to guide you back home when you’ve had enough of the skiing or boarding action for the day.

You’ll need to do a bit of playing around to get the best out its new mapping features, but it’s an essential for skiers and snowboarders.

Compatible watches: Forerunner 645/645 Music, Forerunner 245, Forerunner Fenix 5 Plus series, Fenix 6 series, Marq, Forerunner 945, Venu

Download Ski/Snowboard Tracker Connect IQ app

Heart Rate Zone Pie Chart and Recorder

If you’re all about your heart rate training, this app provides an alternative way to display and absorb your HR data during a workout. Splitting your intensive training into a color coded pie chart, it will flash to indicate your current heart rate zone and offers six different screens to view your data.

There’s a surprising amount of customization available here too, but in its simplest form it’s a really useful tool if you tap into the HR on your Garmin watch.

Compatible watches: Forerunner 645/645 Music, Forerunner 245, Forerunner Fenix 5 Plus series, Fenix 6 series, Marq, Forerunner 945, Venu

Download Heart Rate Zone Pie Chart and Recorder Connect IQ app

Beep Test

Remember this one from school? Yes, you can put yourself through the agony of a beep test, setting up your watch to create 20 metre shuttle run that should quickly give you a sense of whether you need to spend a bit more time in the gym or in your running shoes.

Compatible watches: Fenix 5 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive HR/Vivoactive 3, Fenix 3, Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935.

Download Beep Test 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, while 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 watches: Approach S60, Fenix 5 series, Fenix 6 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive/Vivoactive HR/Vivoactive 3, Forerunner 230/245//235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935/945, D2 Bravo, Marq, Venu

Download 7-Minute Workout 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 showing 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 watches: Forerunner 645/645 Music, Forerunner 245, Forerunner Fenix 5 Plus series, Fenix 6 series, Marq, Forerunner 945, Venu

Download dwMap Connect IQ app

Strength Training+

If you want your Garmin to be a better fit for the gym, this is one of the better apps on the Connect IQ Store to help you. Strength Training+ is able to deliver ‘Weight Adjustable’ calorie calculations based on your gym workouts, which can then be posted to Garmin Connect companion app.

Those calorie calculations are based on a formula from the Journal of Sports Sciences, so should serve up reliable data to represent how hard you’ve worked out. To use it you’ll need to pay $2 with the ability to trial it first for free for 10 minutes.

Compatible watches: Approach S60, Fenix 5 series, Fenix 6 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive/Vivoactive HR/Vivoactive 3, Forerunner 230/245//235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935/945, D2 Bravo, Marq, Venu

Download Strength Training+ Connect IQ app

Swimming App Professional

Pretty much all of Garmin’s watches are waterproof and for swimmers this is one of the best apps we’ve found on the store. It’s built for open water swimming, displaying key metrics like speed, pace and distance along with offering customisable data fields.

There’s also the option of displaying heart rate data when your watch is paired with an external sensor to deliver that accurate HR data in the water.

Compatible watches: Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935/945, Fenix 5/6 series, Vivoactive 3 series

Download Swimming App Professional Connect IQ app

SwimSports+

Another strong option for swimmers, particularly for open water lovers, this app offers an alternative way to track your time in the water. It features eight different profiles, offers five different lap methods and puts plenty of metrics on view during your swim.

There’s also the promise of a quick detect rest mode to let you know when you’ve taken a breather during your interval sessions. It’s a paid option, with a small trial on offer to see what it’s made of.

Compatible watches: Forerunner 245/745/935/945, Fenix 5/6 series, Vivoactive 3/4 series, Venu, Marq

Download SwimSports+ Connect IQ app

Garmin Connect IQ apps: Best of the rest

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

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, licence plate and even directions to the pick-up location.

Compatible watches: Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935/945, Fenix 5/6 series, Vivoactive series, Venu

Download Uber ETA Connect IQ app

Public Transport r.485

Another useful one for when you’re out and about, this travel app fires out requests to Google to find a route for somewhere you need to be without having to reach for your phone. As long as your watch is paired to your phone to handle the route request, you can then follow directions offline.

You can also set it up to save current locations or new addresses to make it quicker and easier to get some travel assistance.

Compatible watches: Approach S60, Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935/945, Fenix 5/6 series, Vivoactive series, Venu

Download Public Transport Connect IQ app

Air Quality

This is a particularly useful widget to have if you’re working out in a big smoggy city. it simply pushes data to your Garmin displaying real-time air quality.

It requires your watch being paired to your phone or Wi-Fi to present the data while a premium version will also present temperature, humidity and pressure data history.

Compatible watches: Approach S60, Fenix 5 series, Fenix 6 series, Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive/Vivoactive HR/Vivoactive 3, Forerunner 230/245//235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935/945, D2 Bravo, Marq

Download Air Quality Connect IQ app

Meditate

Garmin has started to introduce more mindful features to its watches and the simply titled Meditate seeks to help you clear your mind and getting you feeling zen again.

Tapping into heart rate and stress measurements via heart rate variability, the app can also provide haptic vibration alerts to help you guide you through the exercises. It’s currently only available for the latest Vivoactive, but here’s hoping it gets rolled out to more Garmin watches in the future.

Compatible watches: Vivoactive 3 and Vivoactive 3 Music

Download Meditate Connect IQ app

Toothbrush Timer

An app not for tracking your fitness but your brushing time in the morning and before you go to bed. The timer is set up for the two minutes that dentist recommend you should spend cleaning your teeth, highlighting the areas you should focus on.

It’ll also send a small vibration to let you know when to move on from those awkward bits at the back.

Compatible watches: Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935/945, Fenix 5/6 series, Vivoactive series, Venu

Download the Toothbrush Timer Connect IQ app

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 watches: Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935/945, Fenix 5/6 series, Vivoactive series, Venu

Download Hike2 Connect IQ app

Beer Earned Plus

This is one that stole our hearts. This Connect IQ data field 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 watches: Forerunner 230/235/630/645 Music/735XT/920XT/935/945, Fenix 5/6 series, Vivoactive series, Venu

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 watches: Fenix 3, Fenix Chronos, Vivoactive, Forerunner 920XT

Download Commute Tracker Connect IQ app

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