Image source: Garmin

The persistent GPS alert bug in Garmin Fenix 6 series watches

Some Fenix 6 series watches have been plagued by an annoying bug that’s been causing a stir among users. This bug, affecting the beep and vibration notifications when acquiring GPS signals, has been around for a while now. It is believed to have originated from an earlier firmware update, specifically version 26.00. The problem has escalated into a widespread concern, leaving users frustrated and demanding a fix.

Details of the bug

Missing notifications for GPS signal acquisition

The core of the problem lies in the watch’s failure to vibrate or beep when selecting an outdoor activity, and GPS acquires a fix. Users get the green color indicating GPS lock but no other notification. This issue is specific to this scenario, as the beep and vibration work fine in other use cases. The bug has persisted for a couple of months now, and the lack of a permanent fix is surprising.

Adding to the frustration, some users are also experiencing a delay in call notifications. This delay, reported to be up to 8 seconds between an incoming call and the signal on the watch, further diminishes the watch’s utility and responsiveness.

Granted, the Fenix 6 has been around since 2019. And three years in the wearable tech world is a long time. But this appears to be a software rather than a hardware issue.

Garmin’s response and user workarounds

Garmin’s testing

Garmin has publicly addressed the issue on its official forum pages, stating that they have tested various Fenix 6 series watches with version 26.00 software with little luck in replicating the problem. They have suggested solutions such as soft resetting the watch and resetting it to defaults. A soft reset does the trick, but only temporarily. The same is the case with a factory reset.

Other fixes

Some users have taken matters into their own hands, finding workarounds like downgrading to previous firmware versions or force restarting the watch. Downgrading appears to be the only working solution. But while this resolves the issue, it is not a permanent solution. One user even had to downgrade to specific versions of firmware, GPS, and Sensor Hub to restore notifications.

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Interestingly, another user found relief by disabling the Do Not Disturb (DND) mode. However, others have confirmed that this solution doesn’t apply to them.

Why this issue is annoying

These might seem like minor bugs. And they probably are. But the absence of beep and vibration notifications for GPS signal acquisition does have an impact on the user experience. For outdoor enthusiasts who rely on these watches for tracking activities, the lack of immediate feedback can cause confusion and disrupt the flow of their exercise routine. The delay in call notifications adds to the inconvenience, making the watch less reliable for timely communication.

These bugs undermine the very functionality that makes smartwatches an essential tool for so many of us. Let’s hope Garmin addresses and fixes this issue soon.

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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.

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