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Garmin Forerunner 965 Essential Tips and Setups

·663 words·4 mins·
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In this post, I want to share a list of tips/setups for the Garmin Forerunner 965 watch. Some of the settings are also applicable to other Garmin watches.

Garmin connect and connect IQ APP

Garmin has two APPs for their watches, one is Garmin connect, which is used to show your activity and health info and set up the watches. The other APP is connect IQ, which is used to manage applications and watchfaces and sync to your Garmin watch.

Data screen setup for activity

For each activity, we can create some data screens to show different info during the activity. For each data screen, you can choose the layout (how many fields to show) and which data to show for each field. All this can be done using the Garmin watch only, without using your phone.

However, I find it easier to set up the data screens using the Garmin connect APP once it is paired with your watch. In the connect APP, we can click More --> Garmin Devices, then click the device. Now we are in the watch configuration page, which is essentially a mirror of settings in your watch. Click Activities & Apps, select an activity, e.g., walk, then click the Data Screens. In the Data Screens pages, we can manage the data screens in a much easier and faster way. These settings will be synced to your watch automatically.

Free maps for Garmin

The maps that are preinstalled on Forerunner 965 depend on the region. If we go to other parts of the world, we may need to download the maps manually. The following two websites have some good maps for different countries/regions:

How to connect Garmin watch with macOS

For Windows, it is easier to connect your Garmin watch to the system. For macOS, there is no native support for the Garmin watches. Some tutorials recommend using the Application Android File Transfer, which has limited featured. Another good option is the openmtp application, which can be downloaded from GitHub.


In the connect IQ store, there are a lot of watchfaces that you can install for your watch. You can also install watchfaces from the website watchfacebuilder.


Garmin has its own weather app, which can be used by different watchfaces as the weather source.

Also some watchfaces also support open weather map (OWM). To use OWM, you to need to sign up and verify your account, then you can get your API keys under the user page. It is free if you call the OWM API less than 1000/day, which is enough for the watchfaces.

There are also some weather APPs built for Garmin watches. The APP Weather Pro Widget is quite good an app for checking the weather.

Navigation settings#

Keep the map zoom

During an activity, in the map view, we can long press the Up button to change the zoom level of the map. However, the zoom level changes automatically if we hit the Back button, which is annoying. To fix this issue, go to the watch settings page, click the Map setting. Scroll down and turn of the Auto Zoom feature.

Change the navigation course line color

By default, Garmin use a purple color to represent the course in the map, which can not be changed in the watch. There are some hacky ways to change the navigation course color. You can connect Garmin watch to your computer. Under the directory Garmin/MAPTHEMES, there are some predefined map themes. We can create new map themes based on the existing themes. I tried the method, but it didn’t work well for me. There are some decoding issues, the watch can not show the name custom defined color theme correctly: only part of the name is shown or some garbled text is shown. Except the missing styles, the format should be correct xml. Not sure why this happens.




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