Best Garmin watch compatible with iPhone

Best Garmin watch compatible with iPhone

Garmin smartwatches are cutting-edge tech devices with sheer accuracy and tons of features. This is the reason why smartwatches and fitness enthusiasts around the world have a longing to use these watches. This fact doesn’t change even if you are a devoted iOS or iPhone user as Apple Watches are great smartwatches as well.

It is just that, Garmin watches are designed with so much focus on athletes and sportspeople, it has a different kind of loyal user base who are concerned about absolute accuracy and durable performance of their fitness tracker rather than fancy smart features.

So, keeping these valuable sentiments in mind, this article will provide you with information about the best Garmin smartwatches that you can purchase for your iPhone and focus on your fitness goal with an unparallel regime and dedication.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 

Garmin Vivoactive 4 is a fitness-focused smartwatch from Garmin. It is different from the rest of Garmin smartwatches in terms of the details and information it provides to the users. So, if you are looking for a Garmin smartwatch that is fully compatible with your iPhone and provides you with in-depth stats and readings of fitness data, you should look into Vivoactive 4. You will surely love it.

Features of Garmin Vivoactive 4 

  • Vivoactive 4 smartwatch from Garmin is designed for an active lifestyle. It will help you achieve your fitness goals while being comfortable on your wrist.
  • Garmin Vivoactive 4 comes with an amazing Garmin Chroma Display protected by strong Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The always-on feature is another addition to the display capabilities.
  • With a built-in GPS, you can use your Garmin Vivoactive 4 for tracking outdoor activities (like step counts, distance, and elevation ) without using your phone for GPS tethering.
  • Body Battery Energy Monitoring is a unique feature with most Garmin smartwatches and Vivoactive 4 doesn’t miss out on that. This particular feature monitors the energy level of your body throughout the day and lets you know about the best times of the day for workouts and rest.
  • Garmin Vivoactive 4 comes with Garmin’s trademark Pulse Ox Sensor technology that reads and monitors the blood oxygen saturation level during the day and when you sleep. Thus, you will have precise information about how well your blood is taking in or absorbing oxygen.
  • Vivoactive 4 can detect when you are stressed with its Stress Tracking feature. Consequently, it will remind you to take a short calming breathing session when it detects stress.
  • Hydration tracking can be used with this particular smartwatch so that you don’t miss out on your targeted water intake during the day. It also adjusts the hydration tracking depending on how much sweat you lose during your workout activities.
  • With Respiration Tracking and Mindful Breathing features, you can full control of your breathing mistakes and calm yourself with guided breathing sessions. This will help you understand better about your breathing patterns.
  • Garmin Vivoactive 4s comes with PPG Wrist-based heart health monitoring and will send you alerts when the heart rate fluctuates abnormally.
  • Advanced Sleep Monitoring is another useful feature where you get a full picture of your sleeping patterns and habits.
  • With Garmin Coach and guided workout sessions, you can continue a sustainable workout regime.
  • With other features like Garmin pay, a smart notification from your phones, over 20 preloaded sports tracking, and onboard music storage, Vivoactive 4 is the complete package.

Specifications for Garmin Vivoactive 4 smartwatch

  • Battery life – 8 days without GPS, 6 hours with GPS and music
  • Water Rating – 5 ATM (great for swimming, showering, and spa)
  • App – Garmin Connect
  • Compatibility- iOS and Android smartphones

Pros Garmin Vivoactive 4 smartwatch

  • Optical heart rate monitoring underwater
  • Supports Pilates tracking
  • Animated workout sessions
  • Pulse Ox sensor and respiration tracking
  • Music storage and support for Bluetooth earphones

 Cons Garmin Vivoactive 4 smartwatch

  • Expensive compared to other brands with similar features
  • Too many smartphone apps
  • Too many badges

Garmin Vivomove HR (The magnificent Hybrid Smartwatch from Garmin)

Are you looking for an iPhone-compatible smartwatch that comes with real watch hands for that classic look and yet does all the job of a premium smartwatch? Well, you are in luck as Garmin Vivomove is just the smartwatch you might be looking for. Garmin Vivomove HR is a fashionable hybrid smartwatch with real watch hands and a hidden smart display. On the surface, it looks classy and premium but with a single swipe, it turns into a sophisticated smartwatch. How cool is that? Let us see the features.

Features Garmin Vivomove HR

  • Fitness Monitoring is truly amazing with Garmin Vivomove HR as it gives you a better idea of your current fitness levels and an estimation of your fitness age. This will help you to plan and leap towards your fitness goal to get a lower fitness level.
  • The wrist heart rate monitor on Garmin Vivomove HR provides you with a VO2 max reading which is a measurement of cardiorespiratory fitness level and aerobic performance capacity.
  • The 24/7 Heart rate monitor is supported by Elevate wrist heart rate technology in the hindsight.
  • The Vivomove HR records calories, steps, distance covered, and intensity minutes. You can have a glance over these stats with a simple swipe.
  • Move IQ is another great feature that you will love in Garmin Vivomove HR. You don’t have to manually start and stop tracking activities like running or walking. The Vivomove HR is smart enough to automatically recognize these activities and starts tracking them.
  • Vivomove HR from Garmin tracks your sleep pattern in a much more advanced manner with sleep stage analysis. The smartwatch gets data about your heart rate and the variability of heart rate to let you know how much time you spend in each sleep stage precisely (light, deep, REM).
  • Garmin’s Stress Tracking is a feature loved by all. And Vivomove HR doesn’t miss out on that. Active stress tracking and recommendation of mindful breathing sessions during stressed phases help you calm your nerve and resume your day with a better grip on your actions and conscience.
  • The hidden display in Garmin Vivomove HR is OLED thus providing you with better readability even in bright sunlight or outdoor lighting conditions.
  • Garmin Connect is a great companion app for Garmin Vivomove HR as all the data and tracking is logged into the app which allows you to see trends and bigger pictures.

Specifications for Garmin Vivomove HR Hybrid Smartwatch

  • Battery Life – 5 days in smart mode, and 2 additional weeks in watch mode
  • Water rating – 5 ATM
  • Variations – Sports (silicone), and premium ( leather)
  • Compatibility – iOS and Android

Pros Garmin Vivomove HR 

  • Garmin Elevate heart rate tech is amazing
  • Stress tracker and relaxation timer focus on the well-being of the user
  • Design is lovely
  • Hybrid mode is refreshing and has a classy feel

Cons Garmin Vivomove HR 

  • The absence of GPS is disappointing
  • Screen quality is poorer compared to other Garmin smartwatches
  • Battery life is not great given that the display is a secondary hidden screen

Garmin Venu

Garmin Venu is relatively newer than Vivoactive and Vivomove HR and comes with a better display and built-in GPS for untethered tracking of your activities. Garmin Venu is a complete package when it comes to features. Given its price, it is a premium smartwatch from Garmin that looks beautiful on the wrist.

Features Garmin Venu

  • Garmin Venu is equipped with GPS, GLONASS, and GALILEO sensors for accurate tracking of your activities when you are outdoors.
  • Venu is more than capable of tracking steps, calories, floors climbed, distance covered, and intensity minutes. The Auto goal and Move Bar feature makes it an amazing smartwatch with great utility.
  • Venu is also great for tracking Gym activities like cardio, strength training, Yoga, and Pilates. The Onscreen workout animations along with the Garmin Coach feature provide you with solid direction to reach your fitness goal and maintain a sustainable workout regime
  • The AMOLED screen is simply beautiful with a crisp display even in bright sunlight. The screen is guarded by a strong Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection along with stainless steel bezel.
  • Like most of the Garmin smartwatches, Venu too comes with Body Battery Energy Monitoring and Pulse Ox Sensor. With Body Battery Energy Monitoring, you get an exact idea of when you are ready to work out or recover. Pulse Ox sensor tracks your blood oxygen saturation throughout the day and lets you know about your body’s ability to absorb oxygen.
  • Coming to the famed stress tracking, Venu does it quite well. Every time Venu detects high-stress levels, it recommends guided breathing periods for mindfulness so that your nerves could calm down.
  • Women can use Garmin Venu in sync with the Garmin Connect app to track their menstrual and pregnancy cycles efficiently. It also provides suggestions regarding exercise and nutrition to deal with difficult phases of the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
  • With Venu, you can track your breathing patterns throughout the day and even during sleep or yoga workouts. Hydration tracking reminds you to fulfill the water quota that is needed by your body for optimum functioning.
  • In-depth Sleep tracking, monitoring, and analysis will make you aware of your distinct sleep patterns. Along with the SpO2 and heart rate data, you can try better ways to get a great sleep which is quite essential for refueling and healthy life overall.
  • Heart rate tracking is wrist-based in the Venu smartwatch. It also provides you with alerts when the heart rate deviates from the normal towards an abnormal high or low.
  • You also get smart notifications, Garmin Pay, and onboard music storage to reduce your dependency on your smartphone when you are working out outdoors.

Specifications for Garmin Venu Smartwatch

Battery Life – 5 days with smartwatch mode, 6 hours with GPS and music, 20 hours without GPS, and with music

  • Water Rating – 5 ATM (apt for swimming and showers)
  • Compatibility – Android and iOS

Pros  Garmin Venu Smartwatch

  • Fitness tracking is best-in-class
  • The AMOLED screen is bold and bright with an always-on display
  • Garmin Pay is helpful
  • GPS is fully-functional
  • Standard Music storage

Cons  Garmin Venu Smartwatch

  • Price is higher
  • App Store is limited
  • The touchscreen can be glitchy at times
  • Only one case size is available

Garmin Fenix 6 and 7 (The Multisport champion Garmin smartwatch for you iPhone)

When we move towards the high-performance premium multisport smartwatches from Garmin for your iPhone, Garmin Fenix stands tall and astounding. Garmin Fenix 6 and 7 fall into a different class of smartwatches that are capable of doing so rare tasks that most of our everyday smartwatches simply cannot. Fenix 7 is rugged, high-tech, and a monster when it comes to performance.

Features Garmin Fenix 6 and 7

  • The 1.3 inches display (260 x 260 pixels) is a high-tech transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) type that is visible in sunlight. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass DX and the case material is a fiber-reinforced polymer that provides ruggedness and robustness to the water altogether.
  • Garmin Fenix comes with preinstalled sports profiles for swimming, running, biking, trail running, hiking, browning, skiing, surfing, golfing, indoor climbing, and much more
  • Garmin Fenix is capable of differentiating between skiing and climbing. So, it will show readings for either descent or ascent.
  • You can measure the actual exercise load of your cross-country workout with the XC SKI Dynamics feature when paired with the HRM-Pro chest strap (sold separately)
  • With the Surfline Sessions feature, Garmin Fenix creates a video of every wave that you ride in front of a Surfline Camera. With your Surfline sessions subscription, you can watch these videos later and analyze your performance
  • MTB (Mountain Biking) Dynamics can be tracked with Garmin Fenix. The tracking is insanely detailed with trademark Grit and Flow measurement which essentially measures the difficulty of the train and how smoothly you descend with a score.
  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions can be tracked efficiently with the Garmin Fenix smartwatch.
  • PacePro technology helps you with your pace by helping you adjust your pace when you run a course
  • The ClimbPro feature provides you with information about your current and forthcoming climbs with details like gradient, distance, elevation gain.
  • You can track VO2 max (a metric to show your cardiorespiratory health) and real-time stamina so that you don’t overdo your activities. The Recovery Time advisor provides you with detailed info about when to relax and when to resume your exercise.
  • Garmin Trademark features are present which include
    • PPG-based (Wrist-based) heart rate tracking
    • Stress tracking along with suggestions for mindful breathing
    • Pulse Ox Sensor for Spo2 measurement
    • Hydration and respiration tracking
    • Body Battery Energy Monitoring feature
    • Sleep score and detailed Sleep stage analysis along with continuous monitoring
    • Smart notifications, Spotify support
    • Garmin Pay for contactless payments
    • Safety and tracking features with built-in incident detection 

Specifications for Garmin Fenix 6 and 7 smartwatch

  • Battery Life – up to 18 days with smartwatch mode, 57 days with battery saver mode, 57 hours with GPS only modes, 40 hours with all satellite modes, 10 hours with all satellites and music
  • Water Resistance – 10 ATM
  • Onboard memory – 16 GB
  • Compatibility – iOS and Android

 Pros Garmin Fenix 6 and 7

  • Brilliant tools for multisports
  • The navigation app is the best-in-class
  • Extra rugged design for durability
  • Training tools fit for experts and professionals

 Cons Garmin Fenix 6 and 7

  • Display with low-contrast
  • No microphone present for taking calls
  • Price is an issue

Garmin Instinct 2 – Standard Edition (The Adventure smartwatch from Garmin for your iPhone)

When we are talking about rugged and high-performing Garmin smartwatches, we cannot miss the all-new Garmin Instinct 2, the watch that is engineered for endurance. This beast of a smartwatch with built-in GPS is tough and water-resistant to a depth of 100 meters. So, when your friends tell you about tracking their workout, you tell them “how about monitoring an adventure?”.

Features Garmin Instinct 2 smartwatch

  • Garmin Instinct 2 comes with Multi-GNSS support. This will provide you with global several global navigation satellite systems including GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo to track your hiking, MTB, trail running, skiing in the most challenging locations.
  • The ABC sensors (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass) in your Garmin Instinct 2 records your elevations, weather, and trail maps with the best details possible.
  • With the Trackback Routing feature, you can navigate the same path to make your return from a hike or a trail run in unknown adventurous locations.
  • Garmin Instinct 2, like its other brothers, comes with a Sports app preloaded for tracking all the popular sports like swimming, strength training, golf, yoga, etc.
  • High-Intensity Interval Training tracking including AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible), EMOM (Every Minute On Minute), Tabata, and custom exercise regimes is seamless with Garmin Instinct 2 smartwatch
  • With the active VO2 Max feature, you can expect the quality of your performance and analyze it.
  • Based on your current training loads and status, you will be provided with daily workout suggestions to take your fitness to new levels with Garmin Instinct 2 smartwatch.
  • The Recovery Time feature on Garmin Instinct 2 helps you recover and informs you when you will be ready for another round of hard workouts. It takes into account all the factors like stress, daily activity, and sleep data.
  • Garmin’s trademark features are present as expected.
    • Wrist-based heart health monitoring via the PPG method
    • Active Stress tracking and recommendations to tackle stress
    • Amazingly detailed sleep monitoring and analysis along with sleep score
    • The famous Body Battery Energy Monitoring feature lets you know when you need rest and when can you workout
    • The trademark Pulse Ox Sensor for tracking how well your body is taking in or absorbing oxygen
    • Fitness age and Intensity minutes during your workout
    • Women’s health tracking like Menstrual cycle tracking and pregnancy tracking

Specifications for Garmin Instinct 2 smartwatch

  • Battery Life – 28 days with smartwatch mode, 65 days with battery save mode, and 30 hours with GPS mode
  • Water rating – 10 ATM (suitable for swimming and water-related sports)
  • Memory onboard – 32 MB
  • Compatibility – iOS and Android

Pros Garmin Instinct 2 smartwatch

  • All sports-related functions available
  • Upgraded heart-rate sensor
  • Great battery life
  • Great pricepoint
  • You can edit the activity screen using the Garmin Connect App

Cons Garmin Instinct 2 smartwatch

  • The screen is relatively small
  • There is no map tracking
  • The music feature is missing
  • WiFi support is also not present

List of Garmin smartwatches Compatible with iPhone

Now that I have listed the best Garmin smartwatches that you can purchase for your iPhone, there are other Garmin watches too that will work great with your iPhone and they deserve an honorable mention –

  • Garmin Forerunner Series
  • Garmin Vivoactive Series
  • Garmin Fenix Series
  • Garmin Instinct Series
  • Garmin Vivomore Series

All of these Garmin smartwatches connect to your iPhone via the Garmin Connect App. Garmin Connect app is compatible with iOS version 13 or higher only. So, you need to make sure that your iPhone is running on iOS 13 or higher.

Steps to remove DRM from Apple Music file and convert it to MP3

  1. You can download Apple Music Converters like Ondesoft Apple Music Converter on your Windows or Mac computer.
  2. Once downloaded and installed, you need to sign in with your Apple Music account credentials
  3. Change the output format on the app to MP3 or other supported formats as per your liking
  4. Now, you can select the playlist or album that you want to convert by following the instructions on the screen.
  5. Once selected, click on the Blue Convert button to start the conversion process
  6. After the conversion process is complete, click the folder icon to go to the location of the downloaded songs

Upload Converted Apple Music mp3 files to your Garmin watches

  1. Download and install the Garmin Express app on your computer.
  2. Once installed, click on Get Started and then click on Add Device
  3. Now, Plug your Garmin watch into your PC using the charging cable and click on Add device
  4. Now, sign in to your Garmin account using your credentials for login
  5. Click on the Music option on the Garmin Express app. Now click on the folder icon to navigate the music files you just converted
  6. Select the songs and click on Send to Device

Garmin Watches that are capable of playing music

  • Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
  • Garmin Forerunner 645 Music
  • Garmin Forerunner 945
  • Garmin Venu
  • Garmin Vivoactive 4 and 4s
  • Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music (LTE & non-LTE version)
  • Garmin Fenix 5, 6, and 7
  • Garmin D2 Series
  • Garmin Legacy Saga and Hero Series

Here is how you can connect and sync the Garmin smartwatch with your iPhone:

Apple Watch vs Garmin Vivoactive 4

How To Sync Garmin Watch With iPhone?

  1. First, download the Garmin Connect app from the iOS App Store on your iPhone and install it
  2. Now, make sure that your Garmin smartwatch has enough battery power
  3. Now, enable the Bluetooth connection on your iPhone
  4. Now, turn on your Garmin smartwatch and select the language of your preference
  5. Next, open the Garmin Connect App on your iPhone and create an account by entering all the required information. Once the account is created or if you already have a Garmin account, simply login to the app
  6. After the login, the app will automatically detect your Garmin watch via Bluetooth
  7. Enter the 6-digit code from your Watch screen when prompted
  8. Now, follow the instructions on the screen to enter details about yourself
  9. And you are done! Your Garmin watch is now synced to your iPhone.

Since Garmin Vivoactive 4 is the latest watch version in the Vivo series, it is only fair to compare it with the latest Apple Watch, which is Series 7. Here is a concise comparison between Apple Watch Series 7 and Garmin Vivoactive 4.

FeaturesApple Watch Series 7Garmin Vivoactive 4
Body BatteryNoYes
Under-water wrist-based heart rateNoYes
Stress and RecoveryNoYes
Irregular Heart rate detectionYesNo
Cellular ConnectivityYes (optional)No
Case MaterialAluminum, stainless steel, titaniumFiber-reinforced polymer
Dial Size45 mm and 41 mm30 mm
Display396 x 484 pixels (45 mm)352 x 430 pixels (41 mm)260 x 260 pixels
Display typeLTPO OLED Retina DisplayTransflective memory-in-pixels( MIP)
Water-resistant5 ATM5 ATM
SensorsGPS (GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS), ECG, optical heart rate sensor, accelerometer, altimeter, barometer, compassPulse Ox sesnor, thermometer, compass, gyroscope, optical heart rate sensor, GPS (GLONASS and GALILEO)
Storage32 GB4 GB
Battery Life18 hoursSmartwatch mode – 8 daysGPS with music – 6 hours
PriceStarts at $399Starts at $399


  • If you are looking for great activity monitoring along with a bunch of smart features, Apple Watch Series 7 is the watch for you
  • If you are looking for a smartwatch that focuses primarily on your activity and workout tracking throughout the day and the smart features are not important, Vivoactive 4 is the watch for you
  • If battery life is a deciding factor, Vivoactive 4 is the winner.

Garmin vs Apple Watch heart rate accuracy

Garmin uses an optical heart rate sensor to monitor your heart health. The proprietary Elevate feature is used in the Fenix and Forerunner lines to measure the heart rate with Garmin watches.

Apple uses both optical and electrical (ECG) methods to monitor heart rate via your wrist. Given the presence of ECG, the readings from Apple Watch are slightly more accurate compared to Garmin.

But, the margin fluctuates with each measurement and sometimes Garmin watches do better. Either way, none of these devices are FDA-certified medical devices. So, their accuracy is good for an overall picture only and you cannot make medical decisions based on these readings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I get Apple music on my Garmin Vivoactive 4?

Garmin Vivoactive 4 is one of the best and most affordable Garmin smartwatches you can get to go with your iPhone. It comes with all the advanced features and onboard music storage. There are music apps that can be used on the Garmin Vivoactive 4. You can use Spotify and Amazon Music to play music online.
But, there you cannot use the Apple Music app to stream music on your Garmin Vivoactive 4 as it is not compatible with watches of other brands (including Garmin) except Apple Watches.
However, you can use your downloaded Apple Music files and upload them to the onboard storage on your Garmin watch and play them on the go. You need to remove the DRM protection on Apple Music files via third-party pc apps like Apple Music Converter. After the files are converted to a supported format like Mp3 or M4b (audiobooks), you can use the Garmin Express application on your PC to add these music files to your Garmin watch.

How do I connect my Garmin watch to Apple music?

There is no official way for you to connect your Garmin watch to Apple Music App. It is not possible at all. Apple apps don’t provide support to other smartwatches and smart devices apart from their own. This is to maintain a pure and close Apple ecosystem and provide better service to their users.
However, if you have purchased music from the iTunes library and want to play them on your Garmin watch, it is quite possible with a small hack. Since Apple Music files are DRM protected, you can convert them to MP3 format and remove the DRM protection using third-party applications on your Windows or Mac computers. After that, you can use the Garmin Express application to upload this converted MP3s to your Garmin Music watches.

Is Garmin compatible with Apple music?

Unfortunately, No. Garmin watches are not compatible with Apple Music. Apple or iOS always has maintained a closed system for its devices and apps. Thus, you cannot use Apple Music on any other smartwatches including Garmin watches.
However, you do get compatibility with multiple other awesome music apps like Spotify, Deezer, and Amazon Music with your Garmin watch. Thus, you can download the Apple Music files, convert them to MP3, and upload them to your Garmin music watches to play them on these great third-party music apps.

How do I download Apple music to my Garmin?

Apple Music App is not supported or compatible with Garmin watches. But you can download Apple Music songs and upload them to your Garmin music watches where you can play them via Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, and iHeartRadio.
But, there is a problem with uploading the downloaded Apple Music songs to your Garmin watch. Since, Apple Music downloaded songs are DRM protected, they need to be converted to Mp3 format before you upload them to your Garmin music watches.
Garmin Music Watches supports different media formats like mp3, m4a, wav, and audiobooks (m4b). The AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) music files are DRM (Digital Rights Management) protected, and you need to remove them first.


Phew! This detailed guide about the best Garmin watches for your iPhone took an insane amount of time in deciding what watches to include and what to miss. Anyway, I hope this information is worthy enough for you to make a wise decision. Garmin Connect App works with iOS version 13 or higher. So, this should be taken care of. And, Apple Music is not compatible with Garmin. So, you need to use Spotify which is another awesome music app that is loved and adored by millions around the globe.