Garmin Connect Windows, Garmin Express, Garmin Connect for Android... Why?

Completely new to fitness watches, and the Garmin Vivoactive 3.

I am likely doing something wrong here... Just a little confused on why we need a mobile app and two desktop apps?

Garmin Connect Windows and Garmin Express Windows and Garmin Connect for Android...

My galaxy Note 8 and the watch pair beautifully... Then I wanted new watch faces on my Vivoactive 3. I was told I needed an update for one of those watch faces. OK, fine...

But it was an update that could not be done unless I went to a Windows machine and physically connected my watch, which would then perform the update through Garmin express.
At least I think that's what it was telling me. I did that, performed several updates, and downloaded several watch faces. (which, btw, didn't seem to "take" unless I disconnected the watch in between every update and download.)

Is there no way for me to do this with *just the android app* and my watch? Will I always have to physically connect my watch to a Windows machine to get updates? That doesn't seem right in 2018... :-/ The whole process for watch updates and new watch faces seemed rather cumbersome, and a bit wonky (won't work with Firefox properly, having to disconnect the watch from the Windows machine numerous times to get the updates to take, etc.)

Could someone please explain to me in detail the difference between the apps; what they are supposed to be able to do or not do? And what I'm doing wrong?

Thank you in advance!
  • Garmin Connect Windows and Garmin Connect on Android are the same thing, just on different platforms. Garmin Express is the original sync platform before the GCW and GCA became available.

    Should be okay with just GCA. I don't know anything about watchfaces, they seem to cause a lot of trouble.
  • There are many people, myself included, that have multiple watches. This can be for functional reasons or simply because they have upgraded from an older model to something more current or because they do multiple sports and each has its own specific requirements. In my case, my primary watch is a VA but for cycling I use a FR910XT (which replaced an FR305).

    Web Connect is the foundation of the entire system & consolidates the info from different sources either through their mobile apps or through Express. In my case, I can sync the VA with my Android phone but the FR910XT will only sync with Express.so my phone won't work.Web Connect also performs the sleep analysis from watches that feed it night time movement data. Similarly Garmin map updates need to pass through Express. In other words, Express is pretty much a one-size fits all utility.




  • Garmin Connect Windows and Garmin Connect on Android are the same thing, just on different platforms. Garmin Express is the original sync platform before the GCW and GCA became available.

    Should be okay with just GCA. I don't know anything about watchfaces, they seem to cause a lot of trouble.


    Thank you for the response! GCA only definitely would be easier, but I had watch updates other than the watch faces (1 gps update, 1 gonass update, and one other that took the watch firmware to 5.5 I think...) that could not be performed with GC. It specified that I needed to do it through Garmin Express... or at least I thought so... Have you done updates to the watch itself through the Android app?
  • There are many people, myself included, that have multiple watches. This can be for functional reasons or simply because they have upgraded from an older model to something more current or because they do multiple sports and each has its own specific requirements. In my case, my primary watch is a VA but for cycling I use a FR910XT (which replaced an FR305).

    Web Connect is the foundation of the entire system & consolidates the info from different sources either through their mobile apps or through Express. In my case, I can sync the VA with my Android phone but the FR910XT will only sync with Express.so my phone won't work.Web Connect also performs the sleep analysis from watches that feed it night time movement data. Similarly Garmin map updates need to pass through Express. In other words, Express is pretty much a one-size fits all utility.


    Thanks for the explanation... :-) But from a new user's point of view, it would be nice if they consolidated all functionality, including whatever they needed for backwards compatibility, into the Android & iOS apps... For me anyway, part of the entire fitness watch / smartwatch thing is mobility... and if my phone needs a software update, it would be nice to be able to do that with just your phone.

  • To partly answer your other question, yes I've done firmware updates through my phone.

  • Yes, that does answer my other question... I was just doing something wrong obviously. Next time the watch has an update, I'll try again doing it through the phone. Thank you for your response!