garmin watch gps not working

Wondering why Garmin watch GPS not working? Let’s explore the GPS essentials first!

The GPS on a Garmin watch will often take a while to get satellite signals, but sometimes when the reception is weak then the GPS completely stops working.

In this guide, we’ll learn all about the necessary requirements as well as how to overcome GPS hurdles on the Garmin watch!

If your Garmin watch’s GPS isn’t working, restart the watch to re-attempt connecting to the satellite.

In case that doesn’t help proceed with updating the software, move to an open area and avoid standing below grown or near large metal objects!

There is so much more so let’s dive in!

Why Is My Garmin Not Connecting To GPS?

If the GPS on your Garmin watch is not functioning, there may be any interference preventing your watch from connecting to the satellite signals.

However, many other factors might often restrict the watch from getting GPS connectivity so let’s unwrap them all below:

garmin watch not connecting reasons
  • A physical signal obstruction
  • Software issues or glitches
  • Outdated Garmin watch OS
  • A low Garmin watch battery 
  • The GPS mode is turned off 
  • GPS not properly configured 
  • Bluetooth access is disabled
  • Change of the watch’s location

There are many more surrounding factors so let’s jump right in!

How To Fix When Garmin Watch GPS Not Working?

If your Garmin watch GPS is not working whether it uses built-in GPS or the connected GPS, follow the troubleshooting methods below. Let’s get started!

Quick Tip:

First, check the charging of your Garmin watch and if the battery is Low. Then charge the Garmin watch and attempt to connect with the satellite GPS.

1. Move to an Open Location!

move to an open location

If you are trying to connect the GPS at some location surrounded by different obstructions such as tall buildings or trees, or at your home, it’s possible that the signal is weak.

Such loss of GPS signal appears in dense cities, thick forests, and mostly while underground.

  • Move to an open and less obstructed area to sync the GPS of your watch!

Furthermore, if there are any wireless devices nearby, move to another place because their signals may often interfere with the GPS.

If you’re at home, go outside under the sky and stay for several minutes until the watch is synced. 

2. Restart the Garmin Watch

Such as other devices, Garmin watches may often experience software glitches or bugs that might malfunction the watch’s GPS or other features’ functionality.

However, you can easily address these glitches in the watch by simply restarting your Garmin watch.

restart garmin watch

Here is how to restart the Garmin watch in easy steps:

  1. Press and hold the Power button for about 10 seconds.
  2. Release the Power button to switch off the Garmin watch.
  3. Note: If a menu appears, then tap on the power to turn it off.
  4. Turn on the watch and test whether the GPS is now working.
Important: If you’ve recently flown and moved into a different country, the watch might need up to an hour to sync the GPS and start working.

3. Check Bluetooth & Location!

If your Garmin watch uses your mobile device’s GPS, check to make sure that both your mobile device and your Garmin watch have Bluetooth enabled.

Also, check that the Garmin Connect app has continuous access to your device’s location.

How To Check Bluetooth Connectivity:

  • On your phone, go to Settings > Bluetooth > Turn on.
  • On Garmin Watch, tap on the Action Key > Settings > Bluetooth > Turn on.

Enable Location Permission In Garmin Connect:

enable location permission
  1. Open the Garmin Connect app.
  2. Navigate to the app Menu.
  3. Tap on the Settings.
  4. Press on the Phone Permission.
  5. Go to the Manage Permission.
  6. Tap on the Permissions tab.
  7. Choose the Location Permission.
  8. Set it to Always or All Time.
Tip: When you’re ready, restart the Garmin watch, using the power button!

4. Refresh the GPS Positioning

If your Garmin watch has GPS enabled but it’s still not working, you should refresh the GPS positioning by turning it off and then turning back on the GPS.

By doing this, the GPS feature restarts completely and will hopefully connect to the satellite without any trouble.

refresh gps position

Here is how to refresh the Garmin watch GPS positioning:

  1. Turn on your Garmin watch.
  2. Navigate to the watch Menu.
  3. Tap on the System option.
  4. Tap on the Sensors.
  5. Select the GPS option.
  6. Tap on the toggle to turn off the GPS.
  7. Wait for 5 seconds.
  8. Tap on the toggle to turn on the GPS.
Note: You can also switch to another GPS positioning if your watch has multiple options!

In case that doesn’t help, proceed with the next step!

5. Adjust Data Recording Settings!

The next step is to check the current data recording settings on your Garmin watch.

This is important because sometimes the settings might experience issues while tracking your activity and maybe that’s why Garmin GPS is not working.

The Solution?

adjust data recording settings
  • You just need to change the current settings of data recording to another option!

Here is how to adjust the Garmin watch data recording settings:

  1. Navigate to your watch Menu.
  2. Tap on the System button from the menu.
  3. Tap on the Data Recording.
  4. Check the settings of data recording.
Info: If the data recording is set to “Smart Recording”, change it to “Every Second Recording” and vice versa.

6. Inspect CPE File Status!

It is very important to update the watch CPE (Connected Predictive Ephemeris) data because CPE files routinely get expired and cause GPS tracking issues. Simply check the CPE files and sync to update them if they are expired.

Inspect the Garmin Watch CPE Files:

inspect cpe file status
  1. Navigate to your watch Menu settings.
  2. Tap on the System button.
  3. Tap on the About option.
  4. Check for current, expired, or missing.
Note: The solution is to sync your watch with Garmin Connect or Garmin Express.

How To Sync With Garmin Connect?

  1. Press the Up and Down button to go to the About section.
  2. Click on the CPE from the menu.
  3. Check the status of CPE (it can be Expired or Current)
  4. If expired, update the CPE files.
  5. To update the files, connect the watch to the computer via a USB cable.
  6. Then navigate to Garmin Connect or Garmin Express.
  7. Click on the Sync button to update the watch.

When you press the Sync button, stop interacting with the device for a few minutes until you’re confident that the process is finished.

7. Update the Garmin Watch

Updating the Garmin watch with the time is very important for the reliable performance of the device.

Maybe your watch is running under an older version and that’s why Garmin watch GPS not working properly. No worries, simply check for updates to update the watch software!

update the garmin watch

Here is how to check for Garmin watch software updates:

  1. Turn on the Garmin watch.
  2. Long press the Menu button for a while.
  3. Scroll down into the menu.
  4. Tap on Software Update.
  5. Check for the latest version.
  6. Then tap on the Install Now button.
  7. Tap on Confirm to continue.
  8. Wait until the process ends.

Once the Garmin watch updates to the latest version, then check for the GPS!

8. Reset the Garmin Watch!

If the GPS on your Garmin watch is still not working after trying all the above methods, then perform a factory reset on your watch.

Keep in mind that doing a reset will erase all the configured settings from the watch, but will surely help with the GPS issue on the device!

Here is how to factory reset the Garmin watch in easy steps:

  1. Press and hold the Light button for about 30 seconds.
  2. Next, press and hold the Back and Start/ Stop buttons.
  3. Tap on Yes when the reset prompt appears to confirm.
  4. Wait until the watch resets completely and start the setup.
  5. When you’re ready with the setup, test the GPS feature.

Need More Help?

If you have followed this guide to troubleshoot your Garmin watch, but the GPS is still not working, then you need to contact Garmin Support to get professional help.

In addition, check whether the warranty is intact, just in case it turns out that you’ve been shipped a faulty unit.

Quick Recap:

Whenever your Garmin watch GPS not working, move to an open area, restart your watch, and check whether Bluetooth is enabled.

In case everything appears normal, check whether the location permissions are allowed and factory reset the Garmin watch! 

Read Next: Garmin Watch Stuck On Triangle? – Working Solutions

Nicole B