How To Reset Garmin Watch?

In today’s digital age, Garmin watches have become an integral part of many fitness enthusiasts’ arsenals. These connected gadgets are designed to provide accurate tracking and insights, but like all tech devices, they can sometimes encounter issues. 

Whether it’s a frozen screen, a glitchy GPS signal, or just the need to troubleshoot, there are times when a reset becomes necessary. Depending on the severity of the issue, you might opt for a soft reset, a modest reset that reverts the watch to its original settings, or a hard reset that takes the device back to factory settings. 

Each Garmin sports watch model might have slightly different instructions, but we’ll provide the general gist of the process in this guide.

How to Reset Garmin Watch?How to Reset Garmin Watch

Soft Reset: Quick Troubleshooting:

If your Garmin watch is acting up, a soft reset can often resolve minor issues. This is especially useful for problems like a frozen screen or a glitchy GPS signal. To perform a soft reset:

  1. Hold down the power button (sometimes labeled ‘Light’ or ‘CTRL’) for about 15 seconds.
  2. If the above doesn’t work, press the power button until a carousel of options appears and select ‘Power off’.
  3. To turn your Garmin watch back on, hold the power button for a brief second.

Note: It’s a good practice to sync your data before performing a soft reset, as there’s a slight chance some data might be lost during the reboot.

Modest Reset: Back to Original Settings:

For those who wish to revert their watch to its original settings without losing all activities, personal data, and music, a modest reset is the way to go. Here’s how:

  1. Access the ‘Menu’ on your Garmin watch, typically by holding down the ‘Up’ button.
  2. Navigate to ‘Settings’, then ‘System’.
  3. Find ‘Reset’ and select ‘Reset Default Settings’.
  4. Confirm the action when prompted.

Hard Reset: Factory Settings:

A hard reset is a more drastic measure, wiping all user-entered information, activity history, and personal data. This is ideal if you’re planning to sell or gift your watch. Remember, learned training data like VO2 Max and Training Effect will be erased, but some can be restored upon re-pairing. The steps vary slightly based on the model but generally involve navigating through: Settings > System > Reset > Restore Defaults or Delete Data and Reset Settings.

How to perform a soft reset on a Garmin watch?

Garmin watches, like many electronic devices, can sometimes face minor glitches during usage. A soft reboot can often resolve these issues, ensuring the watch continues working optimally. Here’s how to perform a soft reset:

  1. Initiate the Soft Reboot: Hold down the power button, which might also be labeled as ‘Light’ or ‘CTRL’ on certain models, for approximately 15 seconds.
  2. Power Off Option: Alternatively, you can press the power button until a carousel of options appears on the screen. From this menu, select the ‘Power off’ option.
  3. Powering Back On: To turn your Garmin watch back on, press and hold the power button for just one second.

Note: Before initiating a soft reset, it’s a good practice to sync your data. There’s a possibility of data loss during the reboot, so ensure your data is safely stored elsewhere.

Reset Default Settings on a Garmin Watch? (medium reset):

For those using Garmin watches, especially the newer Forerunner and Instinct models, there’s an option to reset the watch settings without erasing all your activities, personal data, or music. This is often referred to as a medium reset. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Accessing the Menu: On your Garmin watch, press and hold the button, often labeled as ‘Up’, to access the menu.
  2. Navigating to System: Scroll down to the ‘Settings’ option and then select ‘System’.
  3. Resetting to Default: From the subsequent options, locate and select ‘Reset’. You’ll then see an option for ‘Reset Default Settings’. Choose this.
  4. Confirmation: A prompt will ask you to confirm the reset. Remember, this action won’t delete your activities or music.

Warning: Be cautious when opting for ‘Reset Default Settings’. Some newer Garmin watches have a “Restore Defaults” option, which is essentially a hard reset and will revert the watch to its original factory settings.

How to perform a hard reset on a Garmin watch?

A hard reset is a more comprehensive reset option. It wipes all contents, including user-entered information, activity history, and personal data. This is particularly useful if you’re considering selling or handing down your Garmin watch. Here’s the procedure:

  1. For Garmin Forerunner, Fenix, Instinct, and Vivoactive watches: Navigate to Settings > System > Reset. Here, you’ll find options to ‘Restore Defaults’, ‘Delete Data’, and ‘Reset Settings’.
  2. For Vivomove touchscreen watches: Go to Settings and select ‘Delete Data and Reset Settings’.
  3. For Approach golf watches: Navigate to Settings > Reset and choose ‘Delete Data and Reset Settings’.
  4. For Quatix and Descent watches: Go to Settings > System and select ‘Restore Defaults’ followed by ‘Reset Settings’.
  5. For earlier Forerunner models: Navigate through Menu > Settings > System > Restore Defaults and confirm with ‘Yes’.

Note: If you decide to continue using your watch after a hard reset, remember that certain learned training data, such as VO2 Max, Distance Totals, and Training Effect, will be erased. This data will need to be relearned over time. Some activity data can be restored when you re-pair the watch with your device.

How to Clear User Data on a Garmin Watch?

Garmin watches are a staple for many fitness enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. Over time, these watches accumulate a wealth of user data, from activity history to user-entered information like height, weight, and age. Sometimes, for various reasons, you might need to clear this data. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

  1. Power Down the Device: Before you begin, ensure that your Garmin watch is powered off. This can typically be done by holding the back button or the power button.
  2. Initiate the Clear Data Process: With the device powered off, hold the back button and simultaneously power on the watch. This will prompt the watch to ask if you want to clear user data.
  3. Confirm the Action: Once the prompt appears, release the back button. You will then need to select or confirm the “Clear User Data” option. This will erase user-entered information like height, weight, and age, but your activity data will remain intact.
  4. Complete the Process: After confirming, the watch will proceed to clear the specified data. Once done, you can power up the device and go through the initial setup process. It’s also a good practice to let the watch acquire satellite data by placing it outside with a clear view of the sky for at least 20 minutes.

Another way to Restore Default Settings?

Garmin, a renowned company in the world of outdoor watches, offers another method to restore default settings without navigating through multiple menus:

  1. Power Off the Device: Begin by ensuring your Garmin watch is turned off.
  2. Initiate the Restore Process: Before powering the watch back on, hold down the Back/Lap button. As you continue holding the Back/Lap button, press the Power/Light button to turn on the watch.
  3. Confirm the Restore: Keep holding the Back/Lap button until the “Restore Default Settings” message appears on the watch face. Once you see this, release the button and select “Yes” to confirm the process.
  4. Finalize the Reset: After the process is complete, the Garmin compass arrow should display on the watch face. This indicates that it’s time to set up and pair the watch again.

How to Reset My Garmin Outdoor Watch?

While Garmin doesn’t generally recommend resetting your watch, there are instances where it becomes necessary:

    • The watch isn’t acquiring a satellite signal.
    • The device is set to the wrong language.
    • The watch becomes unresponsive or frozen.

If you’re facing such issues, here’s how to perform a hard reset:

  1. Hold the POWER Button: If your watch is frozen or not responding, start by holding the POWER button. Note that you might need to hold it for up to 30 seconds.
  2. Release and Restart: Once the watch face goes blank, release the POWER button. Then, press the POWER button again to turn the watch back on.

If the hard reset doesn’t resolve the issue, you might need to explore other reset methods.

Other Resets:

After performing specific resets, certain learned fitness values, such as VO2 max and Training Effect, will be reset. The watch will need to relearn this data. However, some of this information can be restored once you sync with Garmin Connect, especially if your watch supports Physio TrueUp.

Remember, not all fitness data can be synced through Physio TrueUp. If your watch was previously paired with your phone, you’d need to re-pair them after the reset. Always refer to the owner’s manual for detailed instructions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

How do you reboot a Garmin watch?

Rebooting a Garmin watch can be a simple process. If you ever find your device acting up or not responding as it should, a reboot might be the solution. Think of it as giving your watch a fresh start, much like restarting a computer. It’s a way to refresh the system and potentially resolve minor glitches.

Does Garmin have a reset button?

Yes, Garmin watches come equipped with a reset button. This feature is designed to help users quickly restore their device to a functional state if it becomes unresponsive. The reset button is a handy tool, ensuring that you can always get your Garmin back on track when needed.

What does a master reset do on a Garmin?

A master reset on a Garmin device is a more comprehensive process than a simple reboot. When you perform a master reset, it will erase all your waypoints and favorites.

The device will revert to its default factory settings, essentially making it as if you just took it out of the box. It’s a way to wipe the slate clean, removing any potential issues that might have accumulated over time.

Can I reset my garmin Forerunner?

Certainly! If you own a Garmin Forerunner, you have multiple reset options at your disposal. You can opt for a “System Reset,” which will restore your device settings to factory default values but will save your activity information.

Alternatively, choosing “Reset Settings” will only affect your device’s settings without touching your activities or history. If you want a complete overhaul, “Delete All” will erase everything, giving your Forerunner a fresh start. Always remember to back up any essential data before performing any reset.


Concluding this comprehensive guide on “How To Reset Garmin Watch,” it’s evident that while technology offers us unparalleled convenience and precision, it’s not without its occasional hiccups. Garmin watches, like any technological innovation, require maintenance and understanding. However, the ability to reset and rejuvenate these devices testifies to their resilience and adaptability. As users, it’s essential to approach our gadgets with both appreciation and a keen sense of awareness, understanding that for every minor glitch, there’s often a simple solution. Remember, each reset is not just a reboot for the watch, but an opportunity to start afresh in our fitness and adventure journeys.

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