Image source: Garmin

Garmin Fenix 7 update brings Connect IQ System 6, Jet Lag support & more

A hefty Alpha firmware update has landed for the Garmin Fenix 7 range, Epix Gen 2, Enduro 2, Quatix 7 and Marq 2. It adds support for the Connect IQ System 6, Jet Lag feature and a few other bits and pieces.

Garmin has switched this year to a quarterly firmware release. So this marks the start of the next cycle. Additional features and fixes should be added in the weeks ahead. Also, other watches such as those in the Forerunner line should also get an Alpha update soon. Many of the features in today’s Alpha will probably make their way over to some Forerunner devices, Instinct 2 and perhaps Venu 2.


Garmin Connect IQ System 6

Garmin has announced the Connect IQ System 6 a few months ago. Improvements are across the board. The company says they’ve worked to improve every phase of the development cycle. For example, there are new APIs for action menus, toasts, native page loop indicators, multi-GNSS, Instinct 2 menu icons, and even fēnix 7X flashlight support. With this Alpha update developers can start testing their software on real-world devices.

Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets

The browsable store was expected to be put in place by the end of this year. At the moment it seems unlikely this deadline will be met. But it should follow soon. This will also be made available on the watches – think of it as an on-device store. Users will have access to all categories for their particular timepiece.


Jet Lag feature

The Jet Lag Advisor is not entirely new. However, up to now it has only been available on the Garmin MARQ Gen 2 series. To remind, that one launched in October 2022.

As its name implies, the feature helps you adjust to airplane flight effects and different time zones. The app and watch widget will let you know how much jet lag you can expect. It will also guide you as to your sleep requirements and easing back into working out.

In order to use the feature, you’ll need to first enter your trip details in the “more” section of the Garmin Connect app. The other steps are as follows:

  • Choose Training & Planning > Jet Lag Adviser > Add Trip Details.
  • Add the destination. You can also add another destination (if needed). Also, you can make adjustments to your schedule if there are any changes (flight delays, etc).
  • Choose Next.
  • Now it is time to add the Return trip details. If this is a one-way trip, there’s also an option for that.
  • Click Finish and sync your watch. The trip will appear as an event in your Garmin Connect calendar.
Garmin Jet Lag

When you arrive at your destination the jet lag information can be viewed in Garmin Connect or via the watch widget. This is where you’ll find the above mentioned information on how to acclimate to the new time zone (if there is one) and deal with the jet lag symptoms.

Some useful strategies include adjusting your internal clock by light avoidance (or light seeking) or making tweaks to your sleep schedule. Another popular option is to influence your circadian rhythm by exercising. This can be used to send the message to your body that it is time to be awake and alert. 


The change-log – Alpha build 11.15

Here’s the full change-log of the Alpha update.

First we have the additions:

  • Support for Connect IQ System 6.
  • Distance to Start data field for the Sail Race activity on the Regatta Timer page.
  • Jet Lag Adviser.
  • Multi code point emoji support.
  • PacePro strategy page to Race widget.
  • Race Day card for the Morning Report.
  • Sail Expedition app.
  • Stamina data field for bike sports.
  • Unspecified gender support.
  • Wakesports activities (Wakesurf, Wakeboard, Waterski, Tube).
  • Workout Execution Score for post-activity summary.

There’s also a long list of fixes and improvements. You can check them out in full on Garmin’s website.

If you have not done so already, you’ll need to join the Beta program to install the updates. This is a one time procedure which ensures all firmware releases are delivered to your watch via Garmin Connect.


Potential issues you might encounter

The update was only released 17 hours ago so it is still early days. But a few issues have already been reported.

For starters, if you own a Stryd you may want to wait before installing anything. That’s because the footpod does not play nice with the new software. We’re guessing the issue will be ironed out in the next Alpha release.

Also, you may have issues when using the Jet Lag feature. One of the Garmin forum moderators has posted the following explanation.

Our servers need time to recognize that you are on updated software, which now supports the Jet Lag feature. Sync with Garmin Express on your computer to help speed this up, or wait a few more hours and GCM will refresh in time.

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