Easy Fixes For Garmin Forerunner 235

At its heart, the Garmin Forerunner 235 is a running watch. When you look deeper it has a wealth of features at a great price point. The forerunner 235 is also a standalone smartwatch so you don’t need to pair it with a phone to use a lot of features. On this page, I am going to cover some of the common problems and frequently asked questions. If you are considering buying one or you have a problem I hope to answer all the usual questions. If you have a question please contact me and I will endeavor to get an answer.

Release Date

The Garmin Forerunner 235 was released in 2015 so its not a new device but when you consider it has built in GPS, up to 9 days of battery and a color screen that is still stands well in comparison to newer models.

Garmin Forerunner 235

Is The Garmin Forerunner 235 Waterproof

Yes the Garmin Forerunner is waterproof. The rating is 5ATM this is equivalent to 50 meters! so swimming, diving, showering and rain are no problem! Worth noting that the heart rate monitor doesn’t work when you swim with it on.

Can I Take It Swimming

So yes you can take it swimming what are the features that specifically support swimming there is no stroke meter nor can you track distance swam indoors. The Forerunner 235 does support outdoor swimming as it uses GPS to track distance. If you are looking for a Garmin device to track your swim consider these options.

Can I Use It For Golf?

Yes but it depends on what you need from a golf watch. Like with smartphones you can download apps from Garmin Connect IQ Store. Here is an example of a golf score app you can download. The options are limited to recording scores, it doesn’t record the distance between holes or how far to the pin. If you are looking for a Garmin watch for golf then consider the Garmin Approach series.

How To Change Watch Faces

Using the Garmin Connect IQ Store you can download watch faces. By Default you can change the inbuilt watch faces directly on your watch by selecting:

  1. Menu > Settings > System > Clock
  2. Select <Watch Face>
  3. Choose your new watch face from the list

Here are some other options for 3rd party watch faces via the IQ Connect app on your phone.

Garmin Forerunner 230 vs 235

The main notable difference between the 230 and the 235 is that the 235 heart rate monitor works on the wrist. The 230 heart rate monitor works via a chest strap that is ONLY included in the bundle edition. Given the slight price difference, I would recommend going for the Forerunner 235 if heart rate monitoring is important to you. If you find that the wrist heart rate monitor of the 235 isn’t as accurate as you would like you can still use a compatible chest monitor with both.

Can You Show Maps On A Garmin forerunner 235?

Yes you need to use Garmin Connect IQ Store to download an app here are my favourites:

all these maps are compatible with the Garmin Forerunner 235

How To Reset Garmin Forerunner 235

If your Forerunner locks up you will need to reset it. To restart the device follow these steps.

Button Layout Of Garmin Forerunner 235
  • Hold Button 1 for 15 seconds
  • Wait for the device to turn off
  • Press Button 1 for 1 second to turn on

Garmin Forerunner 235 Hard Reset

Sometimes resetting the device isnt enough so a full reset is needed. This is known as a factor reset.

This deletes all data!

  • Hold Button 1 (power) to turn off
  • Hold Button 1 (power) and button 3 (Back)
  • Select Yes

Download Instruction Manual

You can download the Garmin Forerunner 235 Instruction Manual in PDF format here:


Battery Life

The Battery Life on the Garmin Forerunner 235 isnt terrible thanks to the built in rechargeable lithium ion battery. Now if you look at the manual you will see that the battery life in “watch mode” says 9 weeks. Let me explain “watch mode” puts the device to very low power mode after 5 minutes. However for real-life usage sees more like 11 hours when you look at reviews.

To keep power usage low adjust the following settings:

Change the backlight timeout

Go to Menu > Settings > System > Backlight.

Turn off “Keys And Alerts”

Turn off “Wrist Turn”

Lower the “Timeout”

Put Into Watch Mode

Select the following option to put the device into watch mode to save power and preserve battery:

Menu > Activity Settings > Power Save Timeout.

Select the “Normal” option

Disable Activity Tracking

To disable activity tracking to save power and increase the battery life do the following:

Select Menu > Settings > Activity Tracking > Status > OFF

Change Data Recording

Reducing the frequency that the device captures data can help battery life. To do this select the following:

Select Menu > Settings > System > Data Recording.

Set to Smart

Disable GPS

Disabling GPS can give you extra battery life if you dont need GPS tracking you can disable it by doing the following:

Select Menu > Activity Settings > GPS > GPS +

Turn off the Bluetooth

To turn off the bluetooth do the following:

  1. From the time of day screen, select to view the controls
  2. Select > Bluetooth > Off.

Turn Off Heartrate Monitor

Turn off the heartrate monitor to increase battery life.

Select Menu > Settings > Heart Rate Monitor > Off

How To Update Garmin Forerunner 235

Updating the smartwatch is very easy. either via installing Garmin Express on your computer.

Or Garmin Connect App on your Mobile.

The update process is automatic and happens when you connect your PC or Mobile to the watch.

Is Garmin Forerunner 235 compatible with strava?

Strava is a 3rd party site for collecting running and cycling data. The service analyses your goals and route as well as being able to share it with others. Garmin works well with strava, details on how to get started are here.

garmin forerunner 235 not charging

Charging problems are common this is because as with most battery devices you can only charge it so many times before it stops working. However there are a few things you can do.

  1. Check the charging cable and watch contacts, dust, paper and dirty contacts can all cause the device no to charge.
  2. Replace the charging cable. These are cost effective and worth replacing before you throw it away
  3. Try resetting the device (above)

Heart Rate Monitor Not Working

There are a number of things you can check if you have problems with your heart rate monitor on the garmin forerunner 235 this includes heart rate accuracy,

  • Clean the heart rate contacts with a cotton bud or clean cloth
  • Tighten the watch slightly as it uses light to measure your heart rate
  • Make sure the watch is correctly on your writs and NOT your wrist bone.

Garmin Forerunner 235 Alternatives

As a runners watch im choosing alternatives with the same features at the same price range.

Garmin Forerunner 45

this newer model comes with extras like incident detection, stress and is smaller and lighter.

Fitbit Charge 4

Polar Ignite


The Garmin Forerunner 235 is a cracking runners watch that has stood the test of time. If you have problems then let me know.

Leave a Comment