About

How to improve GPS accuracy on Fenix 6 smart watches

Garmin Fenix smart watches come with support for the GPS, GLONASS and Galileo satellite systems. In most cases, you will find that Garmin devices are able to pick satellite signals easily. Accurate distance tracking of 3 meter or 10 feet is an acceptable standard of the Fenix 6 smart watches as well as other Garmin outdoor wearables.

How could you ensure that the GPS accuracy of a Fenix 6, 6S Pro, 6X Sapphire or the 6X Pro Solar is within the established levels of GPS accuracy claimed by Garmin. We discuss the steps that you could take to achieve a higher GPS accuracy for all the Garmin and Fenix series watches over here.

GPS setting on Garmin Fenix 6 watch


The default GPS setting on the Fenix watch should be GPS + GLONASS. This setting means that the Fenix 6 watch will pick GPS satellites from the US based GNSS and the Russian owned GLONASS GNSS (global navigation satellite system). Using a mix of the GPS and GLONASS is known to provide the most accurate GPS data, especially when you are looking for tracking data in densely populated cities or densely forested areas.

Before undertaking any activity, do ensure that the Fenix watch reads -GPS ready. GPS soak is a period of 2 minutes that must be given to the device to stabilize the GPS communication between the Fenix 6 watch and the satellite system. Once you have made sure that the GPS signal is good and you have allowed a couple of GPS soak minutes, we will make sure that the EPO file is also updated.

EPO file on Garmin Fenix 6 watch


EPO or the Extended Prediction Orbit file contains satellite data that your Fenix 6 watch should pick. The file contains the most proximal satellites that are available at your place. EPO files are created with a pre-determined expiry of 3 to 14 days. After the time period lapses, new EPO files are loaded on the Fenix 6 watches. The updated EPO files will carry the latest GPS satellite positions. For GPS accuracy, we need to make sure that our EPO file is the latest and we connect from Fenix 6 watch to the nearest satellites. You can update the EPO file using the Garmin express software on your desktop. Alternatively, you can update the EPO using the Garmin connect app on your mobile phone. Once you have the latest EPO file, we can alter the recording method to capture the tracking data.

You can check the latest EPO file status by following the steps below:

  1. From the Fenix 6 watch face, press and hold the Up/Menu button
  2. Select Settings
  3. Select About
  4. Scroll down to the last page to view the EPO file status


Enable Every-second recording on Fenix 6 watch


Fenix watches come with two modes of data recording. You could record the data using the default setting of smart recording or you could choose to enable the every-second recording. Smart recording will record data based on change in direction, heart rate, speed of activity or the elevation change. Lesser data points are created with smart recording. For most activities, smart recording mode is sufficient as it provides ample data points to plot the data to precise GPS accuracy.

For a better accuracy, we can enable the every-second recording. In this mode, data for the outdoor activity is recorded every second. It creates more data points than the smart recording mode and is therefore able to achieve higher GPS accuracy. To enable every second recording, please follow the steps below:

  1. From the Garmin watch face, press and hold Up/Menu to access the main menu
  2. Select Settings
  3. Select System
  4. Select Data Recording
  5. Select Every Second

This will enable the every second data recording on your Garmin smart watch.

Minimize GPS drift on Fenix 6 watch


GPS drift is the degradation in GPS data on account of multiple factors including, but not limited to, poor GPS satellite acquisition, strong winds, dense population or densely forested areas and dense structures within a geographical area. GPS accuracy can be improved by trying to achieve minimal GPS drift. The most significant way to reduce GPS drift is to begin or resume the activity with a good GPS satellite acquisition. That is, your Fenix 6 watch should create a good initial connection with the satellite to ensure that data recorded from thereon is precise and accurate.

Whenever you break an activity or take a stop on your path, it is advised to pause the tracking. This is done to ensure that when you resume the activity, you can initiate a good quality connection with a GPS or GLONASS or Galileo satellite system. Also, when you are at rest, there are higher chances of the GPS drift to be at play as also the loss of quality GPS signal.

You could choose to pause your tracking and resume it on a manual basis. Or, you can choose the Garmin’s auto-pause feature to pause recording as and when your activity stops. To enable auto-pause on a Fenix 6 watch, follow the steps below:

  1. From the Fenix 6 watch face, press and hold Up/Menu to access the main menu
  2. Select Settings
  3. Select Activities & Apps
  4. Select an activity
  5. Select the activity settings
  6. Select Auto Pause

As and when you resume activity, you can pick a good satellite signal to initiate accurate GPS tracking.

Using these four steps will improve GPS accuracy of data recorded by the Fenix 6 watch. You can use these instructions to fine tune GPS accuracy on a Fenix 6, Fenix 6S Pro, Fenix 6 Sapphire, Fenix 6X Sapphire and Fenix 6X Pro Solar models of the Garmin Fenix series smart watches.