Garmin has remained a staple in the extreme sports industry for a while. After their dominance in that market, they moved onto car-navigation steps and still remain the defacto standard for rugged products. With that said, their smartwatches carry the same persona to some extent.

This begs the question – are these watches only meant for Android smartphones or can they work with iPhones too? Read on to learn more!

Do Garmin Watches Work With iPhones?

To put things short, yes, Garmin watches work with iPhones. However, there are a few limitations that you’ll have to plow through in order to use the watch. What are these limitations? Here’s a quick look:

  • Need To Download An Application: Unlike the Watch app which comes pre-installed for the Apple Watch on iOS, you’ll need to download the Garmin Connect IQ application on your iOS. Until then, you won’t be able to pair it to the watch.
  • Notification Support: Let’s get this clear, you are able to receive notifications. However, you won’t be able to reply to most and your Garmin watch will, in most cases, be a glorified pager rather than a smartwatch.
  • No Apple Pay: Obviously, you won’t be able to make contactless Apple Pay payments with a Garmin watch since Apple has only bestowed its own products with this capability.

Besides that though, your Garmin watch will function normally. You won’t have any trouble when it comes to GPS, location tracking, or any of the other features which might have led you to pick up a Garmin watch in the first place.

Disadvantages Of Using Garmin With Apple Watch

As an extension to what we said above, one particular disadvantage that most seem to forget is the lack of optimization. What does that mean? Well, if you go through a new iOS update and your watch doesn’t seem to pair properly, you’ll be left at Garmin’s mercy to update the application in an appropriate manner. While unlikely, it can still happen.

Besides that though, your phone’s battery life might take a bigger hit as the application will need to be constantly turned on in the background. Unlike the Apple Watch’s integration with the iOS – which tends to be really humble with its battery life consumption, the Garmin? Not so much.

Why Choose A Garmin Over An Apple Watch?

There are a few distinct features that help differentiate between a Garmin and an Apple Watch. Since there are multiple iterations of a Garmin and an Apple Watch for that matter, we’ll be listing down a few distinct brand differences that set them apart.

Garmin WatchesApple Watch
Rugged and DurableFashion Over Form
Multi-Week Battery Life2 Days Of Battery Life
Better Fitness TrackingDetailed Health Tracking
Better GPS / LTE ReceptionMore Features With LTE 
Proprietary OSUses Apple’s watchOS

While a case can be made for both, we’d generally go for the argument that while the Apple Watch is a great all-rounder, the Garmin does have a lot going for it in terms of fitness tracking. Moreover, the fact that it has much better battery life allows it to step ahead of its competition in some cases.

Best Garmin Watch For iPhone: Garmin Instinct 2

Battery LifeInfinite (Theoretically)
ConnectionGPS, LTE
Size45mm 
CompatibilityiOS and Android
OS Proprietary 

Alright, so hear us out. Yes, the Venu 2 is more stylish and is meant for everyday use. But, let’s face it. If you were looking for a watch that resembles a fashion icon – the Venu 2 has nothing on the Apple Watch Series 7.

However, if you are looking for a rugged, durable watch that gets the job done, the Instinct 2 is definitely where it’s at. The best feature? Infinite battery life. Yes, you heard us right! Theoretically, if you spend enough time outdoors, the Instinct 2 should be able to run indefinitely on a single charge thanks to the second generation Solar charging module present inside it.

Besides that though, the watch does have some caveats: it features a monochrome pixel display which will be a pain to use especially if you use your watch for navigating. The display leaves a lot to be desired. But, other than that, the watch is intuitive, easy to use and has great fitness tracking features which easily make it one of the best Garmin smartwatches for iPhone.

Pros:

  • Extraordinary battery life
  • Great GPS tracking
  • Extremely rugged and durable

Cons:

  • No touchscreen
  • The display leaves a lot to be desired

How To Connect Garmin Watch To iPhone?

As mentioned earlier, connecting your Garmin Watch to your iPhone is relatively simple given that you install the required pre-requisite. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Download the Garmin Connect App. 
  • Now, open the application and create an account or Sign in
  • At this point, power on your Garmin Device and select your language
  • Now, on your device head to the Pair screen on your Watch
  • Follow the on-screen connections on your phone and your Garmin device should connect automatically.

There you have it, now, you’ll be able to enjoy your Garmin device on your iPhone!

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Founder & Chief Editor | + posts

I bought my first smartwatch in 2018 and have been wearing one ever since. It might get frustrating at times to receive 100 notifications a day. That's why we need to know how to make the best of them and how to use them to improve our daily lives, not the other way around. I write about the newest smartwatches, I create top picks, and I write helpful guides and simply explain complicated things.