How to Update Garmin Maps of All Types

All about updating Garmin street, outdoor, and sports maps

Garmin's line of geolocation devices features a mix of free and paid upgrades to maps that are supported by the Global Positioning System. They can be used to track and identify routes and locations.

Updating old Garmin maps is the best way to make sure you're getting the most out of your GPS device.

Garmin navigation device on car dash

Rebecca Nelson / Getty Images

Your Garmin Account

Downloading maps and updates, whether free or paid, requires a Garmin account and registration of your Garmin device. You need to register an account before you begin. You'll register your device during the initial device pairing with the software.

Maps and updates that are available to you are accessible through the Garmin Maps and Maps Updates page or the Garmin Express application.

Free Garmin Map Updates

If you purchased one of Garmin's many GPS units that offer free map updates, you can visit the company's Map and Map Updates page and select the map category you want to check for updates.

Garmin Maps and Map Updates web page

In most cases, you must have the Garmin Express application installed to download any updates. Garmin notifies you if you need to download the app.

Downloading and Installing Garmin Express

The Garmin Express application is key to updating maps for many devices.

Plug in your Garmin device through your computer's USB port, download and install Garmin Express for Mac or Windows, and open the application. The program should automatically find your device and show that it's connected. The app prompts you to update your software or maps or to sync your data.

Garmin Express download screen

The Garmin Express application offers a convenient way to maintain the latest information on your device. After Garmin Express informs you that the update is complete, disconnect your device. Then turn it on to restart it. This activates the updated operating system.

Your Garmin will prompt you as it steps through the update process. Your devices will typically retain your personal settings after any operating system or map updates.

Garmin Golf Course Maps

Garmin golf devices come with free lifetime course updates, including more than 15,000 courses worldwide. Garmin pioneered free course updates; companies used to charge significant annual fees for this feature. Much like map updates, you'll update golf course maps through Garmin Express. You are notified if you need to install it.

Garmin Maps and Map Updates showing Golf option

Garmin Maps for Cycling

Garmin offers map updates for City Navigator maps and Garmin Cycle maps. Use the Garmin Express desktop app to update the cycle maps that came with your device.

Maps for Outdoor GPS

Handheld GPS devices are great companions for hiking, fishing, hunting, and other outdoor activities. Garmin's outdoor map updates keep you navigating with the latest and most accurate information. Go to the Maps and Maps Updates page and select Outdoor to see if updates are available.

Marine Charts

Update Marine charts using Garmin Express. Download the latest charts to a memory card and transfer them to your device.

Aviation and Avionics

Aviation is a separate and highly regulated part of Garmin's database of offerings. The Fly Garmin page serves as your central resource for staying on top of the latest information and keeping your data current.

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