Why is my Garmin battery draining so fast?

Garmin smartwatches are known to have extended battery backup times. Most Garmin smartwatches can offer 7 to 18 days of battery backup on the smartwatch mode. However, you may experience that the Garmin watch battery may be draining faster that its usual average. How would you go about isolating the cause of battery drain on the Garmin smartwatch. We look at a few commonly used strategies to uncover the cause of battery drain of a Garmin watch.

Content on this page:

  1. Battery drain due to firmware
  2. GPS usage
  3. Backlight timeout
  4. Age of the Garmin watch
  5. Watch Face
  6. Notification settings
  7. Wireless Protocol
  8. Battery Saver Mode
  9. Summary

Battery Drain due to Firmware

It has been found that the old or buggy firmware of the Garmin device could cause the battery to drain faster. For example, the firmware version 22.10 of Fenix 6 series smartwatches has caused issues with battery drain for many Fenix 6 device owners. It is always a good idea to ensure that the firmware on your Garmin smartwatch is updated to the latest version. You can use Garmin Connect app or the Garmin Express application on your computer to deploy the latest firmware on your Garmin smartwatch.


GPS usage on Garmin watches

Garmin watches have extended battery life on the smartwatch mode. However, on the GPS mode, the battery drains much faster. For example, the Forerunner 955 series can last for up to 18 days on the smartwatch mode. However, when we initialize the GPS mode, the backup reduces to 30 hours only. Therefore, it is important to use GPS on the Garmin smartwatches on a conservative basis.

Using multi-frequency positioning sensor for multi-band GPS data will also cause heavy battery usage. Use the multi-band frequency during periods of outdoor runs only. If you pay special attention to the multi-frequency positioning sensor, you could conserve battery life on running watches like the Forerunner 955 and Forerunner 255.

We do suggest that you must turn off the GPS or disable it when you are not using it. This could cause your battery life to be conserved.

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Backlight on Garmin Display screen

The backlight on Garmin watch display is powered by battery. The backlight has a significant drain on the battery life of the Garmin watch. It is always suggested that the Backlight setting on your Garmin watch is set to be turned on manually.

Apart from turning-on the backlight manually, it is also important to configure the Backlight timeout on the watch to a low time frame setting. You can access the Backlight setting on your Garmin watch from the Settings > System > Backlight.

Garmin has also suggested that the users must shorten the Backlight timeout on the watch to conserve battery life.

Age of the Garmin watch

New smartwatches tend to offer better battery backup times compared to the aged smartwatches. Garmin smartwatches that are 2 or more years old will offer lesser backup on the battery. This is a natural cycle of battery’s degradation due to normal use of the watch. If you have been using a Garmin watch for 3 to 4 years, you will notice that the battery backup time offered by the watch has reduced over time.

Unfortunately, aging of smartwatch will always cause degraded performance of the watch. There is nothing that can be done to circumvent this.

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Watch Face on Garmin watches

Watch faces can be downloaded from the Connect IQ store on Garmin smartwatches. It is always important to try and pick a watch face that does not cause a drain on the battery life of the watch. Watch faces with second hands of the clock tend to update every second. The frequent updates due to the seconds hand would cause significant load on the battery. Eventually, you will experience degraded battery performance on the Garmin smartwatches.

Notifications on the Garmin smartwatch

Garmin smartwatches can receive text notifications from a paired Android smartphone. These notifications are powered by the battery backup. Optimizing the number and type of notifications received on the Garmin smartwatches will help prolong battery life or conserve battery backup.

You can use the smartphone message notification settings through the Garmin Connect app to limit the notifications that are displayed on the Garmin smartwatch.

Wireless settings on Garmin smartwatches

Garmin smartwatches support Bluetooth and ANT+ wireless technologies. Some Garmin watches, additionally, support the Wi-Fi networks as well. Using wireless connections at all times will cause battery to drain faster. Bluetooth wireless connections for pairing with the smartphone are known to cause battery drain. On a similar basis, when you use ANT+ wireless protocol to relay data to ANT+ capable devices, you are making use of battery life at a much rapid pace.

Therefore, it is suggested that Bluetooth or ANT+ should be used during the times when you need these for activities or listening to music. At other times, we must turn off Bluetooth and ANT+ wireless protocol on the Garmin watch.

Battery Saver Mode on Garmin watches

Some Garmin smartwatch models come with a battery saver mode. It can be turned on or off through your watch. Battery saver mode is very useful when are running low on battery charge. It could help prolong the battery life by reducing the number of active features on the watch at any given point of time.

Battery saver mode is very useful when you out of your place and are not carrying the charger to charge your Garmin smartwatch.


Conserving battery life of a Garmin smartwatch is an easy thing once you imbibe the process. It is more about changing or altering your approach towards using some of the most battery intensive features of the Garmin smartwatches. Music and GPS are two features that are known to degrade battery at a faster pace. Aside from these, you could always look at tweaking the backlight settings and picking a battery-friendly watch face for the Garmin smartwatch.

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Helen Kurt - Contributor on TECHEPAGES.COM. Reach me on email.

Helen Kurt is a geeky nerd who loves to cover the wearables space. She has over 5 years of experience in the smartwatch domain. You can reach her on email at [email protected].