Image source: Garmin

Software update fixes Garmin Forerunner 955 battery drain

The latest software beta that goes under number 12.20 fixes one of the main causees of the Garmin Forerunner 955 battery drain problem.

The watch was released alongside the Forerunner 255 back in June. The 955 is perhaps Garmin’s greatest watch yet – at least in terms of ability. It has a few new recovery metrics, namely HRV Status and Daily Training Readiness, which add a whole new dimension to your training. Granted we are expecting other Garmin devices to inherit this ability, namely the Fenix 7 range and Epix 2 – and the features are already in Beta on these devices.

Garmin Forerunner 955 – battery drain

The advertised battery life of the Forerunner 955 is 15 days between charges with typical use or 42 hours in GPS-only mode without music. Of course, switch the all-systems GNSS mode on and this comes swiftly down to around 20 hours.

These figures improve slightly on what you can expect on the 945 line. Of course, there’s also a solar option of the 955 which (in ideal conditions) adds 5 days to smartwatch mode and 7 hours to GPS-only mode without music.

Essential reading: Garmin Forerunner 955 vs Fenix 7 – comparison feature

But does the device live up to these battery life claims? The answer if you read the Garmin Forums over the past few months is – perhaps not.

There’s a long thread there discussing battery consumption on the device. It seems that some people are experiencing a battery drain issue.

“I have noticed an unexpected battery drain, where I am losing about 10% per day, even on the days when I’m not using GPS. Glad I’m not the only one.” says one person.

“Also losing a lot. Lost around 10% without any activities over a 12 hour period. No notification etc as those disabled SO2 also off.” another one chimes in.

Granted, the forum thread is a mix of people reporting the issue, and those saying there are not experiencing a battery drain. So it’s a mixed bag.

I’ve had my Garmin Forerunner 955 since June and am getting battery consumption that is more or less in line with the advertised figures. With all-night SpO2 monitoring switched on, it equates to about 5-6% on days that I don’t train. Which is what I would expect.

I would suggest to stick to default watch-faces at the outset. For example, it is good to avoid watch-faces such as Titanium which has been reported to be a battery hog. That may be part of the explanation for the poor performance you are seeing. Stick to watch-faces which do not have too many data fields. And avoid using the data fields which require high refresh rates. 

Essential reading: Garmin Forerunner 955 vs 255 – which should you get?

You can always do a reset by holding down power button for 30 sec and powering back up. This has been known to clear battery issues with other Garmin devices.

Of course, there is an outside chance your Forerunner 955 could be faulty. In which case you should return your device.

Garmin Forerunner 955 battery drain fixed?

In fairness, the device hasn’t been around for very long. A battery drain with certain configurations of the watch might be a price you need to pay if you are an early adopter.

The company has had these types of problems before. You just need to go back a couple of months for the most recent occurrence. Firmware update 21.00 for Garmin Fenix 6 brought a bunch of useful features. But for some users it also brought heavy battery consumption.

The good news is that Garmin has found the cause of the problem on the Forerunner 955.

“We believe that we have a fix for this report that will be rolling out with the next software release for this device. While I do not have a timetable for this release, I will be updating this thread as information is made available. Thank you for your patience while we work towards a resolution for this report.” one of the Garmin forum moderators wrote a few days ago.

Now the company has released firmware 12.20, which fixes the issue. It is in Beta currently and should reach public release in the weeks ahead.

Early reports are that this does, indeed, help to rectify the problem. It seems to address the main cause of the battery drain – the post activity behaviour of the watch. Most of the users reported the heaviest battery drain after a run or cycle. Whether the GPS remained connected is not clear but restarting the watch after an activity stopped the battery drain. With Beta 12.20, you no longer need to do this. So a massive improvement.

Part of this update is also SatIQ which is something else that can help to extend battery life. When enabled it will automatically choose the most power-efficient mode for satellite connectivity while not jeopardising accuracy.

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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.

4 thoughts on “Software update fixes Garmin Forerunner 955 battery drain

  • I have a Garmin 945 and train almost every day. Purchased last year March, and I lose 25% battery every day. I did log the issue last year . I am not happy.

  • Just bought my 955. After 24h there is only 45% of battery life left. Without any activity. Only receiving notifications. This is ridiculous

  • I turned off the wifi on the 955 and so far it has helped a lot.

  • Bought a forerunner 955, 8 days ago. But battery drain is super heavy. 11% a day.

    Googled the issue and reached this page. Glad to know that Harmon is aware of same and coming with a fix, but looking at the dates, this is an old issue. My watch was bought July 2023

    Pls respond on what can be done.


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