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Garmin reveals how to re-enable ECG functionality on recent smartwatches alongside delivering new update

ECG functionality continues to work on stable Venu 3 series updates. (Image source: Garmin)
ECG functionality continues to work on stable Venu 3 series updates. (Image source: Garmin)
Garmin continues to release odd updates to one of its latest smartwatches. Distributed as Beta 9.18, the update makes no obvious improvements over previous Beta Program builds. Garmin has now advised owners how to re-enable ECG functionality that earlier beta updates disabled, though.

Garmin is ending January with another beta update for the Venu 3 and Venu 3S. While the company tends to roll out weekly beta builds to the Fenix 7 series, equivalents for the Venu 3 series have been few and far between. Until this month, Garmin had only delivered two beta builds for its Venu 3 models since their August 2023 launch.

However, less than three weeks have elapsed between the release of Beta 9.15, Beta 9.16 and Beta 9.18. For some reason, all contain similar changelogs with mentions of adding a jump rope activity and new male audio prompts, among several bug fixes. Garmin unceremoniously disabled ECG functionality across the Venu 3 range with Beta 9.16 though, which the company explained as follows:

Important note about ECG App: Moving forward, the Beta software available for the Venu 3/3S will have the ECG feature disabled. If you would prefer to keep the ECG App feature accessible on your watch, we recommend not participating in the Public Beta program. The ECG App feature will be made available again on versions of beta software that we anticipate becoming Live updates. In other words, you will see the ECG feature become enabled again in Beta software toward the end of our quarterly beta cycles. The ECG App feature will remain available with Live software updates (on compatible watches).

Not only did the lack of prior warning draw ire from various Beta Program participants, but so did the lack of help for returning to stable builds. Thankfully, Garmin has now listened to participants who took to its Community Discussion forum to raise the lack of stable rollback files. Please see the advice below for returning a Venu 3 to Stable Version 8.28, including a download link to the associated zip file that Garmin hosts on its servers.

Backdating Venu 3 Software to Enable ECG App

If you would like to backdate your Venu 3/3S software to the most recent public release version, see the instructions below. 

Backdating software will fully reset your watch to default settings and delete all user data off the watch. You will be required to set up the watch once more, including going through the ECG App set up after pairing the watch back to your compatible smartphone. 

To backdate your software:

  1. Unenroll from the Public Beta program. See “How Do I Leave the Beta Software Program?” section of this FAQ
  2. Download and unzip the attached file. Locate the folder that corresponds to your watch to locate the backdate GUPDATE.GCD file.
  3. Connect your watch to a Windows computer..
  4. Press the Windows key + E on the keyboard to open Windows/File Explorer.
  5. Select This PC (Windows 10 only).
  6. Double Click on Venu 3 or Venu 3S.
  7. Double Click on Internal Storage
  8. Place the unzipped GUPDATE.GCD file in the Garmin folder.
  9. Disconnect the watch from the computer and allow it to update.
  10. Once updated you can set up your device once more.

Please note, this backdate option is being provided as a one-time backdate option and we do not plan to include backdate software in future Beta software versions.


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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2024 01 > Garmin reveals how to re-enable ECG functionality on recent smartwatches alongside delivering new update
Alex Alderson, 2024-01-30 (Update: 2024-01-30)