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Does your Garmin watch have a GPS problem? Here’s why and how to fix it

a photo of the Garmin Forerunner 245
(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)

If you’ve spotted the maps on your Strava have looked a little strange of late, it might be your running watch, not your mind, playing tricks on you. If you don’t remember running that tiny circle, or through a building, the chances are, your watch’s GPS is suffering from a widespread accuracy issue. 

The problem, reported on by DC Rainmaker (opens in new tab), seems to show a GPS map with the right pattern, but with the path of the run in the wrong location. For example, the route will show you have run through a fountain or walked on water. The issue is said to have been fixed last night, but here’s what’s going on, and how to manually fix it if you’re still noticing odd uploads. 

The issue is said to have caused problems for Garmin, Suunto and Polar users last week on Tuesday, June 28, and Wednesday, June 29, then again from July 1 to July 5. The list of watches affected is huge, and includes most of the best Garmin watches, aside from those released in 2022, as they include a different chipset. The issue has impacted those watches with Sony GPS chipsets. This also includes Suunto and Polar watches, and all Coros watches aside from the Coros Vertix 2

The list of watches impacted includes the likes of the Garmin Forerunner 45, the Garmin Forerunner 245, the Garmin Forerunner 745, the Garmin Forerunner 945, and the Fenix 6. It also includes the Garmin Enduro watch, the Polar Vantage series, the Grit series, and Pacer Series. This list isn’t extensive, but it’s safe to say a lot of the best running watches on the market might be slightly off. 

According to DC Rainmaker, the issue has to do with the ephemeris or EPO (Extended Prediction Orbit)  data file, which isn’t caching the satellites correctly. The good news is that there’s a simple fix.  

How to fix your watch’s GPS if you are affected

If your watch hasn’t automatically updated, doing a manual sync should correct the GPS issue. Garmin says if your watch was correctly paired with your phone last night, the new EPO file that fixes the problem will already be downloaded onto your watch. If your watch wasn’t connected to your phone, or it was turned off, doing a quick sync should hopefully solve the problem, and have you running on the sidewalks once more. 

It’s worth noting that even once synced, the maps from old uploads aren’t likely to update. That said, perhaps looking like you have Spider Man’s powers to scale skyscrapers on Strava isn’t the worst thing. 

Jane McGuire
Jane McGuire

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past four years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.