How To Upload Your Garmin Workout During the Outage

For the last 18 or so hours, Garmin.com has been unavailable. And, if we know anything about endurance sports – it’s that if a workout isn’t uploaded to Strava, it definitely didn’t happen. So, I’m here to help you get the Kudos you deserve.

Now of course, there’s rumors and speculation out there on the cause of Garmin’s outage, none of it is concrete (and none of it from Garmin, except to say they’re down – totally down). What is concrete though is the fact that Garmin and the entire platform is down. Dead-down. Totally unresponsive like your legs the day after a marathon. Ultimately, every company out there has their ‘Oh snap’ sized outage. No matter how big or small, it eventually happens. For Garmin, today was eventually.

The good news though is that if there’s one thing to give Garmin credit for here, it’s that *EVERY* Garmin wearable, bike computer, hiking handheld, and so on, can be plugged into any computer and easily uploaded to any site you want. Be it Strava, TrainingPeaks, Myspace, or even MapMyRun. And, if you were around this block a few years ago before Bluetooth in watches – you might even still remember how to do it.

I note this because not all wearables actually support using a computer during an outage. In fact, surprisingly few do (such as not Polar, Suunto, Fitbit, COROS, and more). Whereas most bike computers do (including Wahoo, Lezyne, Stages, Sigma, and Hammerhead). I’ve never really understood why wearable companies are so against it, whereas bike computer companies do it just fine.

In any case, like Garmin.com, that’s neither here nor there. So, let’s get your workout up to Strava.

Note: For those with much older FR310XT, FR910XT, and some of the FR405/410 models, you can still do things locally, but you need slightly different instructions. See this comment here in the comments section, which outlines the steps. There’s a few variants of how you can do this, none of which is hard. Both variants are outlined below.

Update: Unrelated to this post (but in case people are ending up here looking for a solution), some people have reported issues where their Garmin won’t save activities anymore. This is both related and unrelated to the outage issue. Essentially the pattern is all those people had 199 activities on their units. and it turns out that behind the scenes Garmin Connect was clearing out the older activities to make room for the next one when it synced. But with that piece not online, the garbage man didn’t clear it out. To remedy this, simply move a chunk (or all) of the files in the ‘Activities’ folder to your computer. It’s the same folder this entire post is about down below in each section, so you can just follow those steps and simply remove the older activities (which have undoubtedly synced long ago).

From a Windows PC:

First, find the cable. Undoubtedly you know where that is, since it’s what you charge your Garmin with. However, if you have a Garmin Edge device which uses micro-USB (if newer) or mini-USB (if older), just be sure that if it’s not the Garmin cable (which are literally labeled with ‘Garmin’ at the end), that it’s a data transfer cable and not just a charging-only cable. I’ve got plenty of micro-USB cables that are charge-only, and they won’t work. In short, if the device doesn’t show up in your computer, then you’ve got a charge-only cable.

Step 1: Plug the device in: This is simple. It’ll automatically turn on, wait a few seconds.

Step 2A: (non-Music devices) Open Windows Explorer: For this step, I’m just showing you where the file is, before we actually upload it. It’s a practice run. Once your Garmin device shows up, it’ll usually have a Garmin icon and a drive letter. Inside that, you’ll find a folder called ‘Garmin’, and then another folder called ‘Activities’. Within that, if you sort by date modified, you’ll find a bunch of files. Your file is the one dated today, or, if not dated like a normal file, then it’ll be the most recent one.

Step 2B: (Music devices) Open Windows Explorer: In the case of music-enabled devices (like a Garmin Forerunner 245/645 Music, Forerunner 945, Fenix 5 Plus Series, Fenix 6 Pro Series, Vivoactive 3 Music, Vivoactive 4, Venu, etc…), these will show up slightly differently. You’ll see them listed by their full name without a drive letter, and then below that, you’ll need to go into the ‘Primary’ folder, and then the ‘Garmin’, then ‘Activity’ folders to find your activity file.

Step 3: Upload the file: Now, navigate over to your platform of choice, and choose the file to upload. For this example, I’ll use Strava.  In the upper right corner, select the drop-down “+” icon, and then choose ‘Upload activity’.

Step 4: Choose to Upload File: Now, simply hit ‘Choose Files’:

Step 5: Upload the file: That’ll pop-open a dialog box, which allows you to choose the file. Navigate back to the same place as before. Pro Tip: If you still have that Windows Explorer window open from before, then you can click on your file and select ‘Copy’, and then paste it into the File Name spot below and it’ll find it automatically. Either way, hit ‘Open’.

And with that – you’re done! Your workout is now available and good to go and available on Strava! In a few seconds you’ll be able to edit all the usual fields and save it:

Rinse, repeat for any other workouts during the outage (especially if this thing lasts a while).

From a Mac:

First, find the cable. Undoubtedly you know where that is, since it’s what you charge your Garmin with. However, if you have a Garmin Edge device which uses micro-USB (if newer) or mini-USB (if older), just be sure that if it’s not the Garmin cable (which are literally labeled with ‘Garmin’ at the end), that it’s a data transfer cable and not just a charging-only cable. I’ve got plenty of micro-USB cables that are charge-only, and they won’t work. In short, if the device doesn’t show up in your computer, then you’ve got a charge-only cable.

And, if you need a dongle to connect to USB-C, then undoubtedly you know where that is. It’s probably attached to your Mac, because you still need that thing every day.

Step 1: Plug the device in (unless it’s a music-enabled watch, then skip to Step 2B): This is simple. It’ll automatically turn on, wait a few seconds.

Step 2A: (non-Music device) Open Finder: For this step, I’m just showing you where the file is, before we actually upload it. It’s a practice run. Once your Garmin device shows up, it’ll usually be under ‘Locations’ and just say ‘GARMIN’. Inside that, you’ll find a folder also called ‘Garmin’, and then another folder called ‘Activities’. Within that, if you sort by date modified, you’ll find a bunch of files. Your file is the one dated today, or, if not dated like a normal file, then it’ll be the most recent one.

Step 2B: (Music devices only) Install Android File Transfer: In the case of music-enabled devices (like a Garmin Forerunner 245/645 Music, Forerunner 945, Fenix 5 Plus Series, Fenix 6 Pro Series, Vivoactive 3 Music, Vivoactive 4, Venu, etc…), these will show up slightly differently.

That’s because the Garmin wearables are in MTP mode, which is great for music, but sucky for accessing the normal files. You’ll need to install a little (and crazy-widely used) utility called ‘Android File Transfer’, as well, and then close/quit Garmin Express if you have it installed/running on your Mac (it’ll block access otherwise). Normally this utility is used to allow Macs to connect to Android phones. But works here well.

Once you’ve got it installed, open it up (again, remember to fully close Garmin Express first), and then plug in your Garmin device. It’ll show up just like below. Then, simply navigate to the Garmin > Activities folder within that to find the file.

Step 3: Upload the file: Now, navigate over to your platform of choice, and choose the file to upload. For this example, I’ll use Strava.  In the upper right corner, select the drop-down “+” icon, and then choose ‘Upload activity’.

Step 4: Choose to Upload File: Now, simply hit ‘Choose Files’ (you may need to first select ‘File’ from the left side):

Step 5: Upload the file: That’ll pop-open a dialog box, which allows you to choose the file. Navigate back to the same place as before. Again, you’re going to Garmin > Activities, and looking for the most recent file, updated today, hit ‘Open’.

And with that – you’re done! Your workout is now available and good to go and available on Strava! In a few seconds you’ll be able to edit all the usual fields and save it:

Rinse, repeat for any other workouts during the outage (especially if this thing lasts a while).

Wrap up!

Ok, with that – good luck! Note, there’s no method available to get things like steps, distance walked, or anything else onto other platforms (never really was, save some corporate wellness programs). That data is actually sitting on your watch in little .FIT files, but by itself it won’t sync without Garmin Connect being online. And given that’s not online, you’re not getting that data.

Fear not though – once Garmin.com is back up, that data will simply flow over to your account.

Also – don’t worry about duplicates on Strava. It’s smart enough to easily detect a duplicate file, and so when Garmin eventually syncs your workouts behind the scenes, it just discards duplicate files. This is a feature I ‘test’ every single day. So it works pretty darn well.

With that – thanks for reading!

DC Rainmaker:

View Comments (435)

  • Hey, was waiting for your post on this! Me and my mum have tried to connect ours - her 645 connected to the ipad fine but my 945 didn’t even show up. Is that COs it’s an iPad not laptop or is there a way for me to get my runs up? I don’t have access to any other tech for the next few days. Thanks!

    • Unfortunately you're out of luck with the 945. It's because Garmin changed how the watches communicate when connected via cable. Even on a Mac you need extra software to access the file system on the 945.

    • On Windows you don't need any extra software to access forerunner 945. The procedure discussed in the article worked for me

    • You can upload from an IPad Pro - I’ve just tested it and can fully browse my Edge 830 from the Files app without any third party support.

    • That's because the Edge devices still support access as a Mass Storage Mode (acts like a USB stick). This isn't the case for watches that support music (like the 945). These only use the Media Transfer Protocol. That's why you can't access them via iOS and need extra software on MacOS (Windows has the MTP built in, so nothing extra is required).

    • 935 connects as a mass storage device so this method will work, 945 may work differently as someone else said but i believe the MTP instead of mass storage thing is only for the newer watches that are music enabled but others probably can confirm that.

  • Hi,

    greetings from Germany. While we recorded our velohome podcast we were asking ourselves, who is better preparde for this kind of attack, Wahoo or Garmin? Or in other words, if you got the workaround for an upload, would the same work for wahoo as well?
    And generally spoken, which one to choose in this kind of infrastructure apocalypse…

    • Actually I was always under the impression that Wahoo is offloading the user credentials for the third party site to the device itself, so your device would upload to Strava and the other configured third party sites directly. If that's the case, Wahoo devices would just work in an equivalent situation.

      Could you drop them the question? It's an interesting design decision.

    • My Wahoo would continue to work just fine even if they went out of business tomorrow. The only thing I would lose out on would be updates.

      Now you should be questioning whether it's a good idea to own a product that a company can choose to end support for at a whim and you'd be out of luck.

      This is coming from a former Garmin owner who got fed up with their dumpster fire of an ecosystem and has never been happier to ditch an expensive piece of tech.

  • Thanks for the proactive help.

    I am using a mac and Fenix 6 Pro Solar.

    Closed Garmin Express. Installed android file transfer. Watch is plugged in via USB.

    I receive pop up message "No android device found"

    Any thoughts?

    cheers.

    • ooops never mind after several minutes it worked. I needed some patience :). Many thanks

  • Thanks for the post. I don't see how to do this with the Garmin Forerunner 920XT though. It syncs to Garmin Connect with an ANT+ connector in the USB port and it doesn't show up in Windows Explorer. And the charger seems to be just a charger with the two pin clip on it. Thanks.

    • The 920XT comes with a cable that you can download direct from. Are you thinking of the 910XT?

    • Oh, and if it's a 910XT, then those are actually local as well in a directory:

      On Windows:
      ProgramData\Garmin\GarminConnect\\FIT_TYPE_4

    • Oh yes my bad, it's the 910XT. The file are in that ProgramData folder, but only files that have already been synced to Connect. Todays run insn't there. The watch tries to sync, but Garmin Express gives a communication error with their server and doesn't retrieve the fit file from the watch.

    • Hi ... I'm experiencing the same issue as JP, except with a 310XT (yeah, I know it's old, but it's been a great device for me). Today's run is not showing up in \ProgramData\Garmin\GarminConnect\\FIT_TYPE_4. I guess I'm not sure if the watch syncing is failing or the FIT_TYPE_4 folder only shows the FIT files that have been uploaded to GarminConnect. Any suggestions welcome.

    • As others have pointed out, there's no way to upload 910XT files to your computer right now, as the USB cable is just a charger and Garmin Express needs internet access & working servers to download activities from your 910XT to your computer. Now it just gives a "Request Error. Sorry, we are having problems communicating with our servers" message. Files in the directory above are just old activities from before this armageddon. Good to know that there seem to be third party apps to transfer 910XT files, according to comments below.

    • There's an app you can use for androd phones that have an ANT+ chip built in. Uploader for garmin. This gives you the *.fit file that then you can manually upload to strave, TP, etc.

    • Hi when I plug 920xt into iPad I don’t see it.. does that mean its only a charging cable and wont work? Thank you

    • 910xt user here, no recent files in that location(seems to need a connection to Garmin Servers before uploading a local copy of the data?), but I found a workaround using Ant Agent. I added the steps I took in Reply to a message from FOO in the thread...

  • The fact that this fully-offline data transfer is possible is the primary reason I switched back to garmin from suunto. Online services will always have outages, sometimes permanently. I don't want to be beholden to a single service to use my hardware.

    Do you know if the other manufacturers support offline data transfer like this? Coros? Polar?

    • Bryton, like Garmin, can be used completely locally, with no Internet. Connect via USB and copy FIT file over.

      Polar, on the other hand, even though it can be connected to your computer via USB, offers no local access. If you don't have an Internet connection, or their servers are down, it's a little brick.

    • In the realm of bike computers I know that Wahoo files can be offloaded in the same way to Garmin (via MTP).

  • For anyone still using a 310XT or similar devices, you cannot connect via a cable but I've had good luck using ANTFS-CLI (for Mac/Linux). It uses the ANT+ stick to bypass Garmin's servers and download a FIT file directly to your computer. Using it does require a little knowledge of the command prompt.

  • Oh the humanity! I can only view my steps and body battery on my tiny little watch face for a while...

    Serious question for you though...

    Because Wahoo hasn't implemented broadcasting on their flagship product (yet), I have to give Zwift permission to upload to Garmin to get Zwift workouts in the Garmin logs. With Garmin being down, will these activities be able to be manually pushed later when Garmin is back up? And how would that work?

    Of course I chose today of all days to do another FTP test and wanted to compare my power curve...

    • Nevermind. I think I recall... you can open the Zwift file on your PC and go to connect's website to upload the file. Crisis averted!

  • I did a run last night. I saw the activity on the Connect home screen but couldn't see any details. But the run showed up on Strava just fine. I wonder if I got it in right when the outage started.

    I assume we can continue to record activities as normal.

  • I have worked in IT long enough to know that it is not true that every company will have total failure like the one that has happened to Garmin.

    Things like this happen because of either a lack of due diligence (eg no backups and backups not tested), putting all your eggs in one IT basket (to save money) or making skilled staff redundant (again to save money). It could even be all three.

    Any decent company would avoid these things.

    • I didn't say a total failure - I said a major outage.

      (Assuming this isn't ransomware)

      There's plenty of cases that don't fit into the items in your second line. And any of the biggest and smartest/best tech and otherwise companies in the world can demonstrate it. When systems get big and complex enough, eventually there's edge cases or combinations of scenarios that simply can't be fathomed until they happen.

      And having worked in IT in some of the most complex systems in the world at some of the largest scale in the world, it's inaccurate to say it's just a case of having more backups or testing more.

    • I believe the total failure comment refers to the fact they lost voice, email, and web services. That is nuts.

    • I read somewhere[tm] that it's indeed ransomware. Critical infrastructure on Windows does that to you.
      Then again, you only need to take a look at their FIT SDK - if this is the quality of code they release to the public, I don't want to know what their shameful dusty corners (that indeed every company older than a few years has) look like.

    • Fully agree with you DC. Security Analyst here and can tell you that this kind of outage can happen to ANY company.

    • I think Garmin turned off their support channels because they would just be overwhelmed, when there’s no support to offer anyway.

    • There are no skilled staff at Garmin, trust me.

      Unless you count execs finding ways to release completely beta software and hardware to meet a deadline so they get a bonus a skill, then I guess there's some.

    • John, I also work Tier 3 IT. I am the one who often finds the other side of 6 Sigma. 6 Sigma is 99.9999% reliable. Which mean that 0.0001% of the time stuff will fail.
      I am aware of one company that was hit by a firmware bug in their storage arrays that caused complete data loss. The array vendor couldn't even recover these storage arrays - 100s of TB of data. It took this company a number of white knuckle 24 hr days to get their systems stablized. Nigel

    • Not always. If the backups are on the same network then, yes, they can be corrupted just as easily as other servers on the network. But if the backups are offsite then the chances of that happening are pretty slim. If Garmin was smart then they kept all user data backed up daily offsite with intermittent hourly backups on top of that. I do that myself with websites I manage. So easy to compile a backup and push it someplace like Amazon S3. Just no excuse to not do it. From there, Garmin can reconstruct their servers using images of the server, code from offsite code repositories, and backups from offsite backup sources. My guess is that’s exactly what they had to do. And, with multiple servers running multiple services, they had to work to get all of them wiped and backup up at the same time. With ransomware like this, you can’t just do it server by server. Have to do it all at once. Probably effected a lot of workstations as well, which further complicates things.

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