Garmin LiveTrack reliability?

I searched but didn’t find anything very recent; can anyone speak to the reliability of Garmin’s Live Track? I’m running an older (810) unit and the Live Track feature is useless with how often the signal drops and/or disconnects. My wife really likes being able to watch my long rides for peace of mind, especially with two little ones at home.

Anyone using a newer Garmin unit that finds it reliable? It works fine on my Fenix 5x watch with iPhone, but I need a head unit for road rides/races.

I’m also open to switching to a Wahoo head unit, if their equivalent works better.

I found 520 was very flaky but 935 was pretty reliable. I now ride with both and have just the 935 enabled for LiveTrack. At the end save the 520 ride and discard the 935.

I used it on a 520 plus for a couple of years and now on a 530 and find it pretty reliable. No major issues. My wife enjoys being able to check in on me.

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i haven’t experimented much - but i’ve noticed if my phone & garmin connect are not constantly paired it will start, then fail. When I shut off my varia it normally reconnects.

Doesn’t strava and specalized ride (angi) apps have similar things? they may be more reliabile.

Last time - iPhone/iWatch and find my friends = non cycling specifc solution to this problem.

My 530 is rock solid and no problems at all. Following a course also works well and shows where you at on the route which is something wahoo has done for a while.

I use livetrack on both my Forerunner 945 (when running) and 520 Plus (when riding). MY wife says both work well. My issues are more around cell reception than garmin device signal. As long as I am in an area with decent cell coverage though, my wife is able to track me. FWIW, I use an android phone (Google Pixel) .

Are your dropout issues the garmin device losing GPS or losing connection to your phone?

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I’ve been wondering about this exact thing. Specifically for XCM racing so my wife and kids can make it to viewing points in time/know where I am.

Does it need cell service the whole time? Does it have a smooth feed in real time?

I had a Lezyne and the live track thing on that ended up with a dot that jumped such large distances around the forest that we missed each other a couple of times.

It is not cell-coverage related, as it happens on all rides whether I am in the city parks or out on country roads, and it seems to work fine with my Fenix 5x.

I guess what I’m trying to figure out is if it’s a Garmin issue overall, or is my 810 outdated enough that this function will always be unreliable. I’m willing to go out and buy a new Garmin if this issue will go away, but I don’t have the warm and fuzzies about it.

I get the “live track started” message when I begin a ride, but every time it loses connection early in the ride.

It sounds like the answer may be to record my ride with power on my head unit, live track on my watch and then discard my watch’s ride when finished.

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On the handful of rides I’ve been on so far with my newish 830, LiveTrack has been reliable. I have it set so that it turns on when I start a ride and automatically sends an email (with the LiveTrack link) to my selected recipients.

Before the Garmin, I had a Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT that I used for almost 2 years. While the tracking worked well most of the time, there were a handful of times where it stopped tracking in the middle of my ride. After a bit of searching, it appears that this was a known occasional bug whenever you get out of cell service and then come back in. Unfortunately, this led to some concerned texts and calls.

Zero issues with my 830. I use LiveTrack every time I’m on the bike. Like a Varia radar, it’s something I use because my family needs me, as much as I need them.

I did recently purchase this thing (link below) for my son who is doing ultramarathon stuff in the mountains and out of cellular signals. It works amazingly well, and is absolutely a game-changer for me, as a nervous dad, when he’s beyond cellular coverage. It would work the same on the bike – maybe even better, because there is more likely a clear view of the sky.

I don’t care what the thing costs. I don’t care what the subscription costs. Knowing that a loved one, is ‘finadable’ when out of cellular coverage is priceless. Battery seems to last for days.


Yes in-reach works very well and the sub is really not that much in the grand scheme of things.

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It has worked nearly flawlessly for me on a 520+ (part of why I bought it), Fenix 5, Fenix 6, and 830.

I have it set up to automatically send a message to myself and to my GF.

I am also an ultra runner, and do MTB rides that get me to VERY out of the way places with no cell signal. This is tethered to my running pack and always running when I am wearing my pack, but I will toss it in my pocket on my MTB rides where I am going to be out there.

ROughly $250 and $25 a month. There is a cheaper plan but it doesn’t have tracking, just emergency messaging.

If you lose cell signal but regain it, then it all updates. You are just “lost” when you are out of range.

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InReach can use your cellphones BT connection to make data input easier, but all of its tracking and security functionality is based on the Iridium satellite network. If you can see the sky, it can send a signal anywhere on earth.

When my son is running, it sends his lat/lon every 10 minutes and plots it on a topo map on a Garmin website.

Not trying to hijack the thread. LiveTrack, via cellphone in my jersey, works fine while cycling. I rarely cycle alone, so there’s a secondary safety net with my friends on the road. My son is out there in the woods by himself and it scares the s^&t out of me.

My 530 virtually never drops, my 245 watch does livetrack intervals where it works for 11 minutes and stops for 7 over and over trying to give my wife a heart attack.

For all those who never experience drops…do you have other Bluetooth pairings to your head unit? Like radar, PM, or other devices? Or do you pair all sensors via ant+ and leave just the phone as the sole BT connection to the head unit.

My suspicion is Bluetooth to phone has to be rock solid and un-interupted.

I’m interested in this as well.

My Fenix 5X is also paired to my phone during rides with the Edge 810. I wonder if they “fight” over Bluetooth signal and/or priority? I don’t log the activity on my watch when I use the 810, but it’s still on my wrist and connected to my phone.

Update to this:

I’ve been using my Fenix 5X for LiveTrack and then discarding the ride when I finish; no issues so far and my wife is happy.

Edge 810 is still recording my road rides but LiveTrack is disabled.

I’ve had a TON of issues with my edge 520, so much that I tossed it. I have an Elemnt now and its flawless. The interface and ease of use is night and day better, the battery life blows the old one out of the water.

We were sat outside a cafe after our group ride on Sunday. When my mate got a text from his wife, who said you could have a Starbucks. Looking all around the carpark he was certain his wife must have been there. Then he realised she had found him on Live Tracks :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: