Image source: Garmin

Garmin Beta firmware: Why ECG is missing & how to get it back

Garmin has recently released a software refresh, Beta 9.16, for the Venu 3 and Venu 3S models. This update, which is the second in a short span, notably disables the ECG (electrocardiogram) functionality on these devices without any prior warning to users. The same is the case with an earlier update for the Fenix 7 Pro series.

The removal of ECG functionality was not communicated to watch owners. Which has left them puzzled as to why the feature is gone.

It turns out, the underlying reason for this removal is rooted in the certification process that Garmin must undergo for each software release that includes ECG features. During the Beta phase, Garmin opts not to certify these releases with ECG functionality. That’s because the Beta versions are essentially test versions and are subject to frequent changes.

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Here’s what Garmin had to say on its forums.

“If you would prefer to keep the ECG feature accessible on your watch, we recommend not participating in the Public Beta program. If you do install Beta software but then wish to access the ECG feature again, you can do so by backdating your watch to currently Live software.”

Garmin also adds that the ECG feature will be made available again on versions of Beta software that transition into Live updates. Which will occur towards the end of the quarterly Beta cycle. So it is just the early versions of the software, the ones you manually initiate the installation process, that have this problem.

How to backdate the software on your Garmin watch

To backdate the software on your Garmin smartwatch and return to a stable, live version, follow these steps:

  1. Locating backdate files: First, you need to find the backdate files for your specific Garmin product. These files are typically included in the first post of the current Beta cycle for your device. Visit the Garmin forum. Go to the Announcement post section for your product, and locate the first post for the current Beta cycle. Scroll to the bottom of this post to find the backdate files.
  2. Using the backdate files: Once you have located and downloaded the backdate files, you will find a zip file containing all necessary files, including a ReadMe.txt document. This document contains additional instructions for backdating your software.
  3. Leaving the Beta Program: After backdating your software, it may be advisable to leave the Public Beta program. This step is necessary to avoid receiving the same Beta update again. The Public Beta system delivers eligible Beta software updates “Over The Air” (OTA) to your watch. The system cannot determine if you have installed the Beta update once and then backdated. To leave the Beta Software Program, sign into Garmin Connect, go to Device Settings for the enrolled product, and opt out of the Beta Software Program.

You can find more info on backdating the software on Garmin’s website.

Remember, backdating your software to a live version will restore functionalities like ECG, which may not be available in Beta versions. However, this process will also reset all settings on your Garmin product. So ensure to back up any important data before proceeding.

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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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