Garmin Express goes native on Apple Silicon: A simplified Mac experience

Garmin has rolled out an update to its Garmin Express software for MacOS. This new update brings native support for Apple Silicon, the chip architecture powering newer Macs. What this means is that the app is specifically designed to run on these chips, and allows for native mounting of Garmin watch folders.

Apple Silicon chips, such as the M1, M2, and their variants, offer substantial enhancements in performance and power efficiency compared to older Intel-based Macs. Apps like this updated Garmin Express take full advantage of the chip’s capabilities.


Native mounting: A useful update for Garmin users

As revealed in a Garmin Facebook group, this update introduces a significant improvement for Garmin watch owners: native mounting. Previously, connecting a Garmin watch to a Mac required using Android File Transfer (AFT), a third-party tool. Now, with this native update, your Garmin watch will appear as a regular storage device on your Mac, making it far easier to transfer and manage data between your watch and computer.

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While the native Apple Silicon support is a nice upgrade, there is a caveat. Users with older Intel-based Macs will still need to rely on OpenMTP (an alternative to AFT) or AFT to connect their Garmin watches. This is due to underlying differences in how these older Macs handle USB connections compared to the newer Apple Silicon models.

Here’s a screenshot of the new feature in action from the Garmin Facebook group.

Garmin Express Native Folders

Updating and connecting your Garmin watch

Here are the steps to get this working.

  1. Update Garmin Express: Download the latest version from the Garmin website.
  2. Connect tour watch:
    • Apple Silicon Mac: Simply plug in your Garmin watch using the supplied cable. It should automatically appear as a drive on your Mac.
    • Older Macs: Ensure OpenMTP or AFT is installed and running before connecting your watch.

This shift towards native Apple Silicon support in Garmin Express mirrors the experience PC users have enjoyed for some time, where seamless connectivity and data transfer have been the norm. Now, Mac users with newer Apple Silicon machines can enjoy the same streamlined experience.

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

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