Garmin's first Forerunner 965 update is a laundry list of bug fixes

Garmin Forerunner 965 on wrist in the dark
(Image credit: Garmin)

The Garmin Forerunner 965 has received its first big update, and it reads like a laundry list of pre-existing bug fixes rather than adding any new features. 

The update, dubbed Beta version 4.12, is currently in its beta stage. Beta version 4.12 is currently only available to Garmin beta testers, but is expected to be rolled out to all Garmin Forerunner 965 devices worldwide soon.

The AMOLED-packing timepiece will receive almost thirty fixes. The biggest new feature is that support had been added for new watch faces downloaded through Garmin's Connect IQ, but UI fixes to cycling, strength training, and golf modes are all included in the update. Bugs that cause inaccurate sunrise/sunset times, flawed navigation to previously saved locations, and turning on Incident Detection, have all been allegedly fixed. 

It's not uncommon for devices to be patched after launch, and the best Garmin watches typically receive regular updates to add new features and solve issues raised by the community. However, the extensive list here does make us wonder if some of these could have been fixed before the Forerunner launched last month. 

You can check out the list in full below, first brought to our attention by a post on NotebookCheck:

  • Adds additional shortcuts to glances from some watch face data fields.
  • Adds support for Connect IQ System 6 watch faces.
  • Adds support for entering a decimal weight value during a strength activity.
  • Fixes a layout issue with the strength workout timer screen.
  • Fixes an issue causing Connect IQ watch faces to wake up the screen even with gestures disabled.
  • Fixes an issue causing the Performance Condition alert to play a tone with alert tones disabled.
  • Fixes an issue that could cause the device to reset when changing the plot time on the barometer glance.
  • Fixes an issue that could cause the device to reset while panning or zooming the map during an activity.
  • Fixes an issue that could cause the seconds value on a watch face to be slightly cut off.
  • Fixes an issue that could prevent activities synced from other devices from loading correctly when viewed in History.
  • Fixes an issue where AutoShot data could fail to be detected correctly when golfing.
  • Fixes an issue where cycling ability was unavailable without a course profile.
  • Fixes an issue where exercise videos were not available to preview before starting a workout.
  • Fixes an issue where incident detection could be turned off but not on again on the device.
  • Fixes an issue where low battery alerts could fail to sound a tone or cause a vibration.
  • Fixes an issue where pace was not properly filtered during a Navigate activity.
  • Fixes an issue where stride length or vertical ratio data from a running dynamics pod could sometimes be missing or inaccurate.
  • Fixes an issue where sunrise/sunset times could be inaccurate.
  • Fixes an issue where the device could fail to route to a saved location with an error about missing routable roads.
  • Fixes an issue where the device could show a phone connection error.
  • Fixes an issue where the privacy setting was incorrectly affecting tones and vibration for notifications.
  • Fixes an issue where workouts with time-based steps could have an incorrect total distance.
  • Fixes an issue with auto-pause not working correctly on lifts for skiing and snowboarding.
  • Fixes an issue with resuming golf activities at a later time.
  • Fixes an issue with the data screen layout not refreshing when the layout is changed.
  • Fixes an issue with the edit workout menu not refreshing following changes to intervals.
  • Fixes an issue with the layout of the training page shown during a custom HIIT or strength workout.
  • Fixes an issue with touch controls on maps not working correctly.
  • Provides workout suggestions for upcoming bike events.
  • Updates translations.

There's currently no word on updates to its smaller sibling, the Garmin Forerunner 265.

Garmin Forerunners 965, 265 and 265S

The Garmin Forerunners 965, 265 and 265S (Image credit: Garmin)

Analysis: Early Forerunner fixes

Does the new update make the Forerunner 965 worth buying? Our biggest problem is that it's very similar to last year’s Garmin Forerunner 955, with the big differentiator being that gorgeous and vibrant AMOLED display. It’s bright, easy to read in all lighting conditions, has a sharper 454 x 454 px resolution, and it’s a slither larger at 1.4 inches (the 955 is a 1.3-inch display).

There are other improvements, too, but they’re a little less obvious. For example, the bezel is now made of Titanium, and the whole watch is a little thinner, but the price has jumped from $499 to $599. The latest batch of bug fixes makes the watch run a little smoother, and it's nice to be able to pick and choose from a new selection of watch faces. But it's not adding any major new features, such as a firmware update to the Fenix 7 last year bringing the Training Readiness score feature to the older watch.

Is it worth it? It really depends on what you’re looking for, since the Garmin Forerunner 955 is still such an excellent running watch. We even called the Solar version “the best Forerunner yet”, just a few months ago.

That means that this improved version is naturally even better, but for the price, there’s sure to be a bargain to be had on the previous model.

The elephant in the room is the Apple Watch Ultra, which is one of the best running watches available right now if your budget allows and you're an iOS user. It offers watchOS which has its own benefits like an onboard app store, but it has less battery life than the Garmin, lacks fitness features like recovery time and training load, and is considerably more expensive.

Lloyd Coombes
Freelancer & Podcaster

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance tech and fitness writer for TechRadar. He's an expert in all things Apple as well as Computer and Gaming tech, with previous works published on TopTenReviews,, and Live Science. You'll find him regularly testing the latest MacBook or iPhone, but he spends most of his time writing about video games at Dexerto.