Image source: Garmin

Garmin Forerunner 945 plagued by battery drain following update

A number of users have reported battery drain issues with their Garmin Forerunner 945. The problem seems to have appeared following the most recent software update.

Owners of the Forerunner 945 have taken to social media and Garmin forums to complain about software update 6.2. The firmware was released on February 18th. It was quite a big upgrade with a long-list of additional features. You can view the full change-log on this link.

As useful as some of this new functionality is, there is one unwanted consequence of installing the software. Users have noticed that instead of the previous 7-10 days in smartwatch mode, their Garmins only last around 3-4 days. The watch is eating up about 1-2% of battery juice per hour!

Curiously, the 945 works just fine in activity mode with GPS. It lasts even longer than the 18 hours as per the specifications. So this is clearly a software-related issue that arises in smartwatch mode.

A few suggestions to try

A user on Facebook contacted support and was told there had already been a number of similar enquiries. He sent his 945 to Garmin to receive a shiny new one 3 days later. He updated it to version 6.2 only to find to his dismay – the issue is still there!

To those complaining, Garmin support has suggested you try and do a hard reset. However, reports are that this does not do anything to resolve the problem. Worth a go, anyway.

An additional thing to try according to official channels is to plug the Forerunner into the computer to try and force any further updates. This will work eventually when Garmin issues a fix.

One user has had some luck when he removed the pulse-ox widget. So this might be worth a try.

Typical solutions to increase battery life on Garmin watches

The usual solutions that help increase battery life of Garmin devices might help, but they won’t make the problem go away. For completeness sake, we list them below.

  • Switching off the backlight on your watch is one way to extend battery life. Even the strength of the backlight determines if the battery drain is quicker or slower. So having the backlight at 100% is probably not a good idea! You can also change the timeout setting. This determines the amount of time the backlight will shut off. Or try the manual backlight setting. It is much more battery friendly.
  • Most people know that built-in GPS uses a lot of energy when switched on. Make sure to only utilise it when tracking outdoor activities.
  • On this topic, another thing to do is to use standard GPS tracking mode. Using additional modes such as GLONASS will be less energy efficient as the device is connecting to multiple satellites. This can be done in the GPS settings on your watch.
  • Alerts with vibrations are battery intensive. If you have lots of alerts and each triggers a vibration, battery life will suffer. Switch off vibration to get more juice.
  • Choose only the notifications that are important and turn off the rest. This can be done in the smartphone app by going to settings>notifications centre.
  • The bluetooth connection also uses energy. How much, depends on how many alerts you get and how often you sync. Not much you can do about this one apart from switching off notifications and not syncing too often.

Should you update?

If you’ve not updated your Forerunner 945 yet, it might be a good idea to wait until a fix is issued. Hopefully Garmin will sort it out soon and things will be back to normal. Other devices in the company’s range have suffered from this problem in the past, and a software update corrected the issue.

If you’d still like to take the chance, the update can be downloaded through Garmin Express or the smartphone app. You might want to check on the Garmin thread discussing the problem before you take any action.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

2 thoughts on “Garmin Forerunner 945 plagued by battery drain following update

  • Typical reaction from Garmin when complaining about bugs in there software:
    1. Try a restart (No Garmin, a restart does not solve bugs)
    2. Swap the device for a refurbished one (No, this does not solve software bugs either)
    3. Update to the latest firmware (Garmin first have to fix bugs for this to be useful)

  • Really need an honest answer of the problem. The 945 isn’t really cheap and should stand behind the product


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