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Garmin Removes Course Point Limitation in Instinct 2 Series

This will likely seem like a niche post, and I’m OK with that. But, buried in a side-load only, no-new-feature, beta release 14.05 for the Instinct 2 series yesterday was a notable line item:

“Removed the limitation on the number of points allowed in a course.”

I usually only briefly skim these release e-mails when I don’t see the words “Add” at the top, indicating adding new features. Instead, this e-mail was full of “Fixed” line items, of course totally normal for the beta process. However, for whatever reason, this one caught my eye, and boom – finally!

For those that haven’t had the pleasure of this particular “by design” bug, essentially, Garmin devices have a limit on the number of “points” in a pre-planned course (route) file. That means if you loaded up some longer (but not really long) routes to your Instinct device (any generation), it’d fail. Technically it’d still work, but then at some unknown distance through the route it’d stop giving you turn notifications. When you initially load the route, you’d get this:

Now, this ‘by design’ feature was even more infuriating because there was no discernible/listable actual limit. Technically the limit was “50 course points”, except, the definition of a “course point” was fuzzy at best, and non-existent in most scenarios. It was not a given turn quantity, nor a preset distance, or even the number of times you passed a waterfall with an ice cream stand. Instead, it was entirely nebulous, based in part on which tool you used to create the route, and how curvy the route was. Thus, I had routes as short as a 10 mile (for real) trip/break it, and routes as long as 50KM not trip it. You never knew, until you were at the trailhead ready to begin, and found the failure.

As a reminder, here’s what I said in the summary section of the recent Garmin Instinct 2X review this past spring – taking up about 25% of that final summary section:

Now for many, this unit will fit the bill well. However, I can’t help but be (extremely) disappointed at the continued max course point issue. Last year in my Instinct 2 review, I outlined the problems with this, and here we are 14 months later and somehow – in 2023 – this is still a thing. Most other Garmin devices don’t have this issue, or at least this low of a threshold. The fact is that we have a watch designed to last literally forever in terms of battery life, yet can’t navigate a mere 10 miles before it stops properly navigating. Again, this shouldn’t be an issue this decade, and certainly not from Garmin, of all companies.

Like I said, it was kinda mind-boggling these even existed.

But with beta version 14.05, this limitation is now gone. In order to test this, here’s the 110KM route on the same watch, back-to-back after the upgrade. At left, showing the failure, and at right, showing it…well…working (can’t really show an error message that doesn’t exist – so here’s a pretty elevation profile instead – no error message):

Now technically speaking the limitation also exists in Garmin’s other watches, but the limit is much higher (historically). The Fenix/Epix/etc range and the Forerunner were set for considerably higher limits, so it was a bit harder to hit those course limits. Nonetheless, this change will be rolled into future firmware updates for other products like the Fenix 7 and Epix series, which already had higher limits.

Either way, super good to see this finally fixed/addressed.

With that, thanks for reading!

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  1. Rick H

    Should this apply to the Instinct Crossover too?

  2. Nelly

    Will this update also be applied to the instinct 1? sick of the routes not accepting more than 50points… even where i haven’t included any..

  3. Paul Grave

    The Instinct 2 Series has been one of the buggiest Garmin devices I’ve owned. I’d experience crashes just by navigating to glances. I always had the feeling that the hardware could barely run the software. As if the chipset didn’t have sufficient CPU or memory capacity.
    I can’t remember the last time the device crashed. I wonder if this limit was removed because Garmin now has a better handle on resource management.

    • Interesting, I’ve generally had pretty good luck with Instinct series, in terms of crashes.

      That said, Instinct devices as a philoshopy is basically Garmin trying to conserve battery life at every possible turn, all the time. So in effect, any time there’s a chance to reduce processing power they’re going to take it, to try and unlock the infinity battery symbol goal (which, in the right conditions, they can with Solar editions).

    • Belmont

      I had such huge problems with battery life when navigating with my Instinct 1; it went from 50% to dead within half an hour. Not sure if it was a bug with my particular unit, but it felt more like navigating a route while recording an activity was putting a huge strain on the resources.

  4. Neil Jones

    I see the beta release notes also include “Fixed issue that would prevent access to Team Sports activities”, which I interpreted as Garmin bringing support for the team sports already supported on other devices (e.g. football, basketball) to the Instinct 2, but I’m still not seeing them, or even an option to add them. Did I misunderstand something here?

    As an aside, every time I have to delete files on my I2 to free up space to side-load a beta, I marvel at how any device could be released in the 2020s with 32MB of storage.

  5. Steve Martin

    Glad to see this improvement and looking forward to applying a future software version with this fix on my Fenix 7

  6. Mark R.

    Oh wow.
    So, so overdue.

    I’ve been burnt by this limitation so many times across a succession of Garmin devices over the last 15 years.

    This makes me unreasonably happy.

  7. Mark

    I remember running into the same 50 point limit when I was using my FR935 for routing bike rides before I got an Edge.

  8. Gerhard

    link to support.garmin.com

    Garmin forerunner has the limit 50 and edge 200.
    Annoying. Hope this is changed for my 255.

    • I believe that article is actually somewhat incorrect. I think the 9xx series have the 200 waypoint limit. Or at least, I’ve had pretty good success loading up longer courses into the 955 and 965 without error.

  9. Mark P

    Ray, is this the same (or related to a) problem I have with route navigation on an Enduro (gen 1) – specifically, when I upload longer routes, many of the trackpoints are removed and straight lines are drawn between those remaining. And if so, will this get fixed in the Enduro with a similar update?
    Or is this a different issue specific to the Enduro? As with the Instinct, how long the route can be before the problem happens varies depending on complexity but is typically about 25km – not much use in a watch specifically design for ultramarathons.

    • I don’t think that’s the same thing. That sounds like some sort of Garmin Connect thing.

    • Anthony

      Fellow Enduro owner here. The only workaround I have found is to break courses up into chunks. It’s possible to load a new course section in mid-activity after you complete the last section.

      That being said, my watch has bricked itself every time I try to use it for any multi-day effort. 🤬🤬🤬

    • Mark P

      Thanks Anthony and Ray.
      I thought it might be a Connect thing but the same happens if I use Explore, Basecamp or direct copy to get the route on the watch.
      After failing to resolve it with Garmin support, I went back to using a Suunto watch when I need navigation, which works flawlessly every time. With the Enduro, even 20km sections can be a problem if they have a lot of points (and mine has crashed during races too).
      I assume this doesn’t affect the Fenix 6 & 7 because I don’t hear owners complaining.

    • Interesting, I wonder if it’s an Enduro 1 thing. I know it’s not an Enduro 2 thing (or other Fenix/etc) watches). Garmin has repeatedly noted that Enduro 1 was a whole pile of special sauce to make the battery happen, primarily in the ‘reductions’ category. Whereas Enduro 2 was more additive over Fenix.

      For example, while Enduro 2 still has the same course-point limits as Fenix 7, I managed to get a 180KM course for Tour du Mont Blanc to load properly. Granted, I could only find one specific GPX file that worked (all others failed), but hey, it was possible…

    • Anthony

      AFAIK all Fenix/Enduro have the same recommended 200 point limit for courses which is frankly ridiculous. Based on my experience you can get larger routes loaded but Connect will strip out as many points as it can. I’ve found chunks less than 40 km seem to work better.

      Navigation definitely seems to tax the capabilities of the original Enduro. As I mentioned it’s prone to locking up and needing to be rebooted. In my last race (a 200 miker) I even had to factory reset it just to get it working again.

    • Maybe if I get bored this week, I’ll dig out an older Enduro and play around with it. I haven’t seen the ripping out out of points on the Fenix 7/Enduro 2, rather, it just truncates/alerts when it hits it.

    • Dom

      I assume this doesn’t affect the Fenix 6 & 7 because I don’t hear owners complaining.
      I’ve done 80km races with both Fenix 6x and 7x and in both cases the track was absolutely fine, definitely no long straight line segments. I think the coursepoint limit struck in both cases, but fortunately didn’t take any wrong turns as a consequence.
      I recall working out that the F6x at least simplifies the track a bit, but it wasn’t problematic, again no straight line segments that weren’t straight lines on the ground.

  10. SoCorsu

    Hi, thanks for this article i forget how this feature/limitation is named so i request the same change for Fenix 6 Series. I regularly encounter this limitation creating my own course with turn-by-turn indication.


    Maybe F6 will only receive semestrial update now, but it’s always active and many people use it. End of sales is very recent at Garmin side


  11. Leo

    I don’t think garmin deserves praise for something they should have fix many years ago.

    • I’m not sure where you think I’m praising them.

      It’s literally an entire post dedicated to me pointing out how “infuriating” and stupid this supposedly by-design bug has been.

    • Leo

      @Ray. Oh, sorry, wasn’t personally to you. More a bit to other readers and mainly to let out years of frustration.

    • Leo

      But I do have to say. You never mentioned this limit in any review and now garmin announced a fix, all of a sudden you’re outraged. Hmmm.. a bit late in the game.

    • I literally copied and pasted a section from a review I to this post. I even liked to said review, and included photos from two previous Instinct reviews in this post where I covered it.

      Take your faux anger somewhere else.

    • Leo

      That’s exactly why I hesitated with my comment. You fon’t take criticism very well.

      No, you never mentioned it in any forerunner watch I owned.

      But I will take my attention to somewhere else.

    • I’m not sure I follow.

      You said I didn’t cover it in any reviews. I pointed out that not only did I cover it in multiple reviews, I even copied/pasted said critiscim into this review.

      Now you’re apparently upset about the Forerunner. Which, is funny, because you’re not upset about actually running into said issue, you’re upset I didn’t mention it in a Forerunner.

      Why not? Because, it’s at least 4x higher than the Instinct (in theory, in practice, I think it’s actually unlimited) . Even more critically, I’ve never run into it. Further, there’s not a single reference to any Forerunner 955 or Forerunner 965 user running into it. Not one forum comment or anything Google can find. Literally, I even tried this last summer – I couldn’t get the Forunner 955 to trip on the 180KM twisty-turny Tour de Mont Blanc route. And more normally, I’ve never run across the limit even once on any Forerunner during my normal navigation…otherwise, I’d have point it out.

      Thus, as a general rule of thumb, I don’t make-up things (issues) merely to them pretend they exist in a review. Either I run into something and write about it, or I don’t. In this case, said thing hasn’t happened to me – and according to Google, hasn’t actually happened to anyone else on a Forerunner either.

      So yes, feel free to take your attention and faux outrage somewhere else. I have absolutely zero patience for it here.

  12. Brian Reiter


    This is a big deal for trail running of even medium distances that involves navigation up to and including the fenix 7, epix 2, and enduro 2.

  13. Heinrich Hurtz

    I really like the pic of the monitor over the toe of the show. Great colors and composition for something so simple.

  14. Juro

    A rather annoying byproduct of this limitation was that creating PacePro strategies for a course with 50+ points straight up crashed the watch (instead of throwing and error message).

  15. Dries O.

    That’s good news for Instinct users and later for us Fenixers as well. I am wondering however if it is a good idea to skip the limit completely. Wouldn’t that make it possible to make the watch crash on an insanely big gpx? Like a ddos attack for watches? Or is there a file size limit still in place which will prevent this?

  16. Stanislav

    The limit applied not to points on the navigation track but to course points. Course points are those that have turn directions (generated by Garmin Connect) and also user custom course points for points of interest (the ones that users can add in course editor in Garmin Connect). Fenix 6 and Fenix 7 do have limit of 200 course points and I have run into that limit when logging courses for longer ultramarathon races.

    For example see this Garmin Forums post:

    link to forums.garmin.com

    It is worth mentioning that Garmin later added a checkbox in Garmin Connect that allows to not transfer turn directions to the warxh. That takes care of not exceeding the limit but that also results in not having turn notifications.

  17. RunLB

    I realize this post is about the Instinct but you do have some references to the forerunner. I have the 245 and it has a hard limit at 50 points before it stops giving the turn directions. Are you saying Garmin might actually remove that on the 245 or am I missing something?

  18. Ginny

    Thanks for the updates on this watch! I see the Instinct and Instinct Solar in the comparison tool, but don’t see the Instinct 2/Solar. Any chance it might join them?

    Thanks for consistently bringing your real world human experience, and humor, to these reviews.

  19. Bas

    I notice that both Instinct (1) and Instinct 2X have limited details in courses. I’m not talking about waypoints. It’s about the number of straight lines in multi-day-courses. See picture. I get more details using the Connect than using the Explore app. My question: will this update give more detailed tracks?
    The track in the picture is a 500km walk (GR5A Belgium).

    • Mark P

      This is exactly what the Enduro does, though with tracks much shorter/smaller than 500km.
      The course point limit change has made no difference to this behaviour.
      I’m guessing the underlying reason is the same for the Instinct and Enduro: an underpowered processor and very little memory, to help achieve the headline battery claims, at the expense of some watch functionality.
      In the case of the Enduro, it also means it crashes easily (just by pressing buttons too quickly), things can be very slow to load, some functions don’t work (e.g. Strava segments) and FIT files are frequently corrupted (so won’t upload to Connect). Hopefully the Instinct doesn’t have these problems!