What you need to know
- The Garmin Forerunner 965, 955, 265, and 255 have received software update 17.24, as of November 30.
- The update adds features introduced by the Venu 3 like Nap tracking, enhanced Body Battery, improved UI tricks, and new activities.
- The public beta of this update launched on October 31.
Garmin's top-end Forerunner models of the last two years have received a key software update this week, bringing improvements introduced by the Venu 3 when it launched in August.
Garmin software update 17.24 launched as a public beta in late October, and most of the updates are unchanged. My Garmin Forerunner 965 auto-updated yesterday with the public version and already shows the live changes, so I've been able to check a few of them out.
The highest-profile addition from the Venu 3 is a new Naps widget that detects sleep during the day and incorporates that recharge into your Body Battery score. Although you have Sleep Score, you don't get Sleep Coaching, something Garmin might be reserving for its Venu series.
Body Battery also gets a revamp: instead of merely showing your score, you'll see specific points of your day and how they impacted your energy, including stress levels, activities, naps, and so on.
One improvement not found in the initial beta is Course point improvements. Right now, you can follow along with a custom course created in the Connect app or with a previous run activity — but they weren't easy to follow. Now, Garmin says, courses will have a "large number of course points" and better "turn notifications" than before.
Also, on the Forerunner 955 and 965 specifically, you'll get "Up Ahead Voice Prompts" that play over Bluetooth to your phone's connected earbuds.
Another cool trick is the ability to add more than one location to the Weather widget. Inputting a city name on the watch is slow and finicky, but it lets you type and search on your phone via the Connect app (which I recommend). I managed to add one new location, but trying to add a second seems to be making the watch glitch, as it says the watch is "busy" and then infinitely searches.
Back to changes introduced by the Venu 3: Update 17.24 adds a large font mode to make the text more readable — especially useful for the MIP Forerunner models — and gives you the ability to see images in your phone notification pop-ups. Unfortunately, the latter update will only work if you have an Android phone.
Next, like the Venu 3, the AMOLED Forerunner models — the 265 and 965 — add a Red Shift mode, which "changes the display color to red, green, or orange to preserve night vision in low light." It's useful for nighttime activities or for checking your watch in bed without blinding yourself.
Rounding out the list, you'll find "new activities for team sports, racket sports, and more," though the update log doesn't specify what those new activities are. The current full list of team and racket sports are the following: Basketball, Volleyball, Field Hockey, Ice Hockey, Football/Soccer, American Football, Lacrosse, Rugby, Ultimate Disc, Cricket, Softball, Baseball, Tennis, Pickleball, and Padel.
If your watch isn't set for automatic updates, you can check our guide on how to update your Garmin watch to get these features yourself.
The Garmin Forerunner 265, the site's favorite running watch, just got even better thanks to update 17.24. It's comfortable, long-lasting, has a bright AMOLED display (now with Red Shift added), and has all the training metrics and guidance you need to get more fit.
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Michael is Android Central's resident expert on fitness tech and wearables, with an enthusiast's love of VR tech on the side. After years freelancing for Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, Digital Trends, and other sites on a variety of tech topics, AC has given him the chance to really dive into the topics he's passionate about. He's also a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves D&D, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.
For wearables, Michael has tested dozens of smartwatches from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, and other brands, and will always focus on recommending the best product over the best brand. He's also completed marathons like NYC, SF, Marine Corps, Big Sur, and California International — though he's still trying to break that 4-hour barrier.