Love it or hate it? The polarizing Garmin Connect version 5 update

After months of beta testing, the latest Garmin Connect app update is finally live. Version 5 delivers a whole new user experience with a major redesign that places significant emphasis on the look and feel of the interface. Most notably, the home page receives a dramatic makeover with a new focus on customization.

After updating, Garmin introduces a personalization step. Users are invited to select the primary focus for their dashboard from options like “Be Healthy,” “Stay Active,” “Track My Training,” or “Custom.” By choosing one of these, you are customising the stats that will take centre stage. Of course, later on you can always edit what you want to see on the Home Screen.

Garmin app new look

The new aesthetic centres around a clean, card-based format. You can scroll up and down on the screen, as well as left and right. Clicking on any card takes you through to more details.

Sounds good in theory. But what do users’ think?

We’ll its quite a mixed bag. Some are fans of the new design, while others are vocal in their disapproval.

Actually if you check media platforms such as Reddit, the latter group seems to be in majority. Now that might be because those that are dissatisfied are more likely to post on social media. But here is the gist of what they don’t like.


The look and feel: A divided community

At the heart of the criticism lies a perceived reduction in information density, a trade-off of data for visual appeal. The emphasis on larger cards and a cleaner aesthetic means less information fits on the screen at once. This forces users to scroll more frequently to access the same metrics they could previously see with a quick glance. The overall navigation is also less intuitive, with vital data points now buried deeper within menus.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

Users also lament the inability to truly personalize their dashboard like they could before. Adding tiles for specific metrics or activities is no longer an option to the same extent, confining users to the pre-determined choices set by Garmin. Frustratingly, even seemingly simple features like editing sleep times directly from the homepage have been removed, adding an extra step to a once simple process.

The redesign’s impact on the motivational aspect of Garmin Connect has also drawn ire. The vibrant color coding that signaled goal achievements or progress is gone, replaced by more subtle and less impactful color schemes. This change strikes many users as a step backward in the app’s ability to encourage and drive users towards their targets.

Beta testers have added their voices to the disgruntled chorus, expressing disappointment that their feedback during the testing phase seems to have been largely disregarded. Specific pain points and suggestions for improvement appear to fall on deaf ears, leading many beta participants to question the purpose and value of the testing process itself.


Garmin’s challenge

It’s a tale as old as time – humans and their aversion to change. You could give us the cure for the common cold wrapped in a shiny new interface, and we’d still find something to complain about. Garmin’s new look has undeniable visual appeal, but it seems they may have sacrificed some beloved features in its pursuit. Now, Garmin faces a disgruntled fanbase while trying to stick to its design guns.

Some cry out for the option to revert to the classic look, but Garmin likely envisioned a streamlined future. Supporting two interfaces is messy business, potentially slowing down those exciting new updates.

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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.

55 thoughts on “Love it or hate it? The polarizing Garmin Connect version 5 update

  • I wish I could get the old screens back. I’m 70 and don’t like change. I’ve been faithful to Garmin for years but feel betrayed. This is not an improvement.

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    • I’m with you Joe at 65 this should have had a resort to old screen button. I’m thinking maybe it’s time to buy an iwatch 😡

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    • I feel the same way. I hate the new look.

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      • I agree with above, It is hard to find what you are looking for and it takes up much more room. The information I had previously is gone which was very helpful. Thank goodness my peloton app keeps my stats for me. I will have to rely on that now except for the steps and calories burned for the day.

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        • Enshitification of Garmin app is what the headlines should read.

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    • I feel very similarly to you. I am 47 and have been using Garmin for about 10 years. I just want the option to use the old format (legacy mode). That being said, I’ve put my Garmin away and rediscovering my old analog watches now. 🙂

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    • Not only do I hate the new design, it’s not accurate. My steps aren’t recorded properly. Today, the friggin thing is adding my steps to yesterday’s step. I think I’m going to ditch it for an Iwatch.

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  • I hate it. For Focus, I want to add something that isn’t a choice. When I take a brief walk I don’t want that at the top. I always swipe right to get rid of those. No option to do that, now.

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  • I definitely don’t like the new design at all and already addressed this in the Beta program. I hate, that you have the same view on the small mobile app than on the large PC screen. I work a lot with own targets and statistics like weekly or monthly activity time, climbing meters and so on. In the old dashboard I was easily able without any clicking to view the important figures for me. The new design is just for standard fitness tracker users, but not for ambitious athletes.

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    • no issue with new, could be better but can live with extra click. but please realize what happened to web version of connect too – it’s a mirror of app… it lost so much vs far from perfect previous instance.
      What’s this nonsense Garmin paddles up? i stead of adding features to app, they remove from web interface? wrong direction over simplification of all around, someone up there in hq got hooked on teenage trends?

      Reply
    • Well, I am not an ambitious athlete, but I also hate the new look. Previously all that I wanted to see fitted in one screen. Now I have to scroll through three and it still doesn’t have the functionality I need. I also addressed this issues in beta version but apparently garmin doesn’t give a f***

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      • Agree the old app user interface should be returned, it was easy to navigate , allowing quick and simple access. The new interface you spend to much time with configuring parameters and navigating screens.. …

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  • Horrible – have lost track of annual goals and 4 months of cumulative runs. No easy way to set/see personal goals. No easy on line help for customization.

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  • Didn’t anyone learn anything from Windows 8? Users don’t like tiles. Only Product Managers that don’t have original thoughts like tiles.

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  • Hate the new UI and would love a rollback option!

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  • Don’t like the new home page!

    Instead of beta testing a NEW look and function, beta testing SHOULD have been driven by the bulk of the current users and what they NEED and WANT to see. Enhancements and fixes first! Make Additions and then slowly foster new useful information. Phase out older functionality a little at a time? This new home page look literally has turned current users and new users away from Garmin connect!

    Older home page was customizable, drag and drop or simply ADD, by each user requiring no babysitting by Garmin. It was all good. Now, I bet phone support is ringing off the hook!

    New Home page does NOT allow users to show equipment, gear status. I.E. add shoes with the mileage (example), show which watch device was used, etc. A simple weekly mileage status with intensity minutes,etc. MANY users want the ability to keep their old custom homepage with ability to switch to the new home page when ready.

    In my opinion, this new home page lacks customization. I want to quick glance my weekly mileage, intensity minutes, and gear mileage (shoes, etc) on ONE page.

    It feels like developers are trying to get users to look at data differently? We know what we want. Many of us have been training successfully for years. That is why we spend good money on these watches!

    Reply
  • HATE. IT. I can’t find Courses on the Web UI–that’s the only thing I go there for.
    HATE. IT.
    HATE. IT.
    HATE. IT.

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  • I agree! Totally hate it!

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  • I never thought I’d go back to Apple…this is terrible

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  • I hate it with a passion. I offered feedback in the beta preview that, like too many others, was completely ignored. Garmin Connect is currently completely unusable and has been deleted from my phone. I’m now considering just going back to MapMy apps to track everything.

    Apple and Samsung are the only entities that will benefit from this needless own-goal.

    Reply
  • I hate it! With all the technology, you would think Garmin would provide an option to keep the old settings.

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  • Hate the new screen. Have lost a lot of historical data and only tracked one of my two activities today. Is there a way I can revert back?

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  • I agree with everyone. I absolutely dislike it!! Adding things requires more steps to do. I also enjoyed the colours that showed up whenever I added an activity.

    Reply
  • Why would Garmin do this? Less useful information on the screen. Who sold them on this format?

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  • Hate it! My Garmin 5s was five years old and I raved about it. Was going to upgrade soon and buy the top of the line smaller Garmin. Hate the new interface and am now asking for an Apple Watch for my birthday. Have an Apple iPhone and Garmin worked well before but I just want to see the home page with all the data, not a bunch of big blocks of empty space. What were they thinking?

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  • Also hate it.

    I want to see everything at once, instead of having to click see all. Also, if the “in focus” is supposed to be the stats most important stats to you personally, then why are stats 2-5 hidden behind swipes?

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  • The WORST. You can’t even see what your planned workout is for the day on the Home screen. You have to go to the calendar and then to the specific day (two extra clicks)!! Reallly?!?!?!

    Reply
  • Brilliant … ly bad. I’ll give them 3 days to figure out this was a mistake and back-pedal out of it. If not, 2 Venu’s and a bathroom scale end up in the landfill.

    Reply
  • Garmin have Disneyfied and dumbed down the app to appeal to a wider customer base who aren’t that interested in data. They just want to wear a fashion accessory.
    It’s extremely insulting to Garmin’s existing customers. Give them back their data!

    Reply
  • I love the Garmin devices. I barely tolerated the app. now they are making it worse than ever. I really don’t want to abandon my Garmin devices and switch to other platforms, but I am now seriously looking at it. sad to think they will drive away loyal repeat customers because the techies are so disconnected from the users they are not seeing the basic needs and desires of their user base. strongly suggest they find a way to let us use the My Day page again. in the meantime, I’m gonna start researching alternative products. it’s a shame, because I always felt Garmins were the best devices out there.

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  • Truly a decrease in functionality. So much so that it makes my Fenix a lot less appealing a purchase.

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  • I have purchased five Garmin watches. This will be my last, unless they fix this mess.

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  • The update to the app is horrible. Change is fine when it makes something more useful. I use my watch for sports activities. The default home screen is about menstrual cycles and stress?! And were only women given this menstrual cycle as a default? I have to dig thru menus to get to activities, training plans, etc. You know, the things a fitness app should be about? Activites are relegated to the MORE section as it is. How about spending more time figuring out why the watches lose connection with the phone often.

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    • It appears that Garmin did some kind of randumb (sic) arrangement of tiles for its users. In the Beta my set made sense, though the interface was useless. My set of tiles were data I don’t have like bp, weight, power…it didn’t have my cycling, and I never found how to get anything useful up that showed metrics I used to have. Long wat to say I’m surprised it didn’t have menstrual data for me a 68 y/o man. Unbelievable mess they made. I was set to buy a Venu 3, but won’t now unless the fix things and restore the website data.

      Reply
  • Hate the new interface. Way to fix something that’s not broken. I’m very disappointed. Been a Garmin device user for over 10 years. Now I’m looking for something else.

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  • Two words! IT SUCKS!
    It is not easy to use, and hate it. I have had a Garmin device for years, but am quickly looking for a replacement device!

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  • I’m 74 and a longtime Garmin user. I’m not averse to change – when it makes things better. The changes (can’t call them upgrades) to both the web version and the mobile app fail to make things better; in fact, things are much worse. Less customization on dashboards, less emphasis on goals, etc.

    Reply
  • Hate it. Very combersome to set up

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  • Now new in Belgium:
    HATE IT !!!

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  • Hate. Same information, none if it where it used to be. I’m spending more time sorting through screens than working out. Absolutely pointless. At least give us a choice before imperiously throwing the switch!

    Reply
  • I went as far as purchasing a new smart watch
    What good is the watch if the software is irritating and stressful… Not the best interaction with a health oriented gadget. It is rude to force software on clients that pay so much for a watch and remove customization in favor of let’s add another confusing layer and difficulty. As a older user I now have to find glasses to read the giant empty space cluttering Homescreen icons. I lovedy Garmin watch… Well I will never buy another Garmin device ever. The money waisted on creating a debilitating software would have Benn better spent to improve watch functions or add more choices. This is yet another example of customers NOT being listed to.

    Reply
  • This was an awful update which has been roundly condemned by the Garmin community forums.

    Good to see the tech press picking up on this, maybe Garmin will actually listen.

    Reply
  • I am firmly in the hate it camp. I even went as far as asking their tech support how I could make the new home screen look like the old with no luck. I’m hoping there will be enough of us that the app development team adds a ‘revert to classic homepage’ option.

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  • Didn’t love it at first but now I am used to it. I don’t really like having to do a couple of extra clicks, but so be it. I have it set up so that it works for me. There are many things to get stressed out about in this world today and I choose not to sweat the small stuff.

    Reply
  • What a total FU.
    The interface is now practically unusable.
    Great work guys………err NOT.

    Reply
  • In the wake of committing such a market blunder, Garmin did what every “good” government would do. They locked down the communication on their blogs. Why listen to the voice of the customer? That would only lead to success.

    Reply
  • Hopefully, the designer of this “new” interface got a fat check from Apple and Samsung. 🙂

    Reply
  • I’ve used garmin for around ten years now
    I cannot stand this new screen and will be getting an Apple Watch

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  • 100% HATE the new interface. Too much scrolling, and I miss the bright colors of my different workouts and achievements. Whoever approved the new update ought to be fired.

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  • Sometimes you need to recognize what users are telling you. The new version should be optional, not what Garmin thinks we need. I see not benefit in the new home screen. The UI dev team should be sacked!

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  • Turning a highly informative and userfriendly app into a close to useless app such as the new version Connect 5.0 is destructive for users. Reactions as those above, in reviews on Google Play etc. all point in the same direction – Roll back to version 4.77.1 now, please, so we can regain quick and not least legible and informative overviews of our activities instead of these unhelpful “Windows 8 tiles”. I find that I use the new app so much less than I used the predecessor because it is a true waste of time. I consider rolling back to the 4.77.1 version which can still be found on the net, but there are risks at that.
    Give us back the 4.77.1 and its functionalities and swallow hurt designer pride. Please.

    Reply
  • Solution for the tech savvy:

    If you trust apkmirror.com and only if you trust them, download the last Garmin Connect App version before 5.0, which was 4.77.1.

    Go to Google Playstore, look for the INSTALLED Garmin Connect App, uncheck automatic updates.

    Uninstall the 5.0 version.

    Install the 4.77.1 version by the downloaded apk file.

    Start the app, input the Garmin Connect login data and set the necessary permissions, if needed.

    If you unchecked automatic updates on the Garmin Connect App in Google Playstore, it will not update to the next version(s), at least, as long you do not perform a manual update of the app.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your valuable guidance. Though this can be done I hesitate exactly because I will then have to block updates which may include security updates every now and then – so, preferably Garmin should listen and remedy their disaster. But I certainly am tempted – and in the long run may abandon Garmin.

      Reply

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