Oops it did it again

 

Somewhere out there, there are some gods laughing. I publicly admitted to trusting my Garmin and within days there’s a problem. Now, I’m not going to be too harsh on Garmin here. I have been in the past when they’ve neglected to test obvious stuff and then a failure occurs. This failure seems to be a result of them moving up to the next level of complexity. Garmin used to control the whole shebang, watch, protocols, software, accessories. Then came third party sensors, but those used Garmin’s protocol so easy enough. With Fenix 5 Plus they’ve invited a whole world of pain through the door so I guess this was inevitable.

This morning I went for a run. 30 minutes later than planned because I wanted music from my watch and my watch said…well nothing actually. Between Bluetooth (which, Garmin suck at, by the way), headphones, spotify and syncing my watch had got into something of a poor state. I first noticed when my headphones connected but made no sound. No problems I thought, just restart. I restarted the watch and it hung on shutting down for about 30 seconds and then came back. Great, off we go! Nope. I navigated to where Spotify should be and it said “start music on phone”. This is secret code for Spotify isn’t here right now, goodbye. So I went into the music menu and launched Spotify from there.

And the cupboard was bare. Spotify had lost the ability to display most of its icons, and although I could see my music playlists I couldn’t launch them.

Restart, hang, same again

So I launched Connect, thinking the recent update to Fenix may need a resync to enable Spotify. Oh look, a Spotify update.

Hang

Reboot

Same

I was almost ready to reinstall Spotify and resync all the tracks over (surprisingly good) hotel wifi. Then I realised that the restarts hadn’t actually been restarting but showing a power icon then straight to time. So I held in the button to do a proper restart. The watch showed the Garmin boot sequence, and also played the startup sound through my headphones. Yes, Fenix 5 Plus has a startup sound, party like it’s 1999 people. Next we’ll be able to set the button noise to a quack like in Windows ’95!

Anyway, 30 minutes of hell later and I finally did my run out in the sunshine. As I said, this is one where Garmin couldn’t really test everything. They updated, Spotify updated, I have to re-pair my Bluetooth headphones each time because I use them on multiple devices. All these things are variables which add up to complexity, but that’s where Garmin is now, they’ve create a whole OS and ecosystem around it. Sometimes when you start letting the world in things go badly as Bill Gates once found out.

Sadly I fly home in the morning so I won’t be this warm again until March when I return for another “training camp” but it’s been a good week with lots of swimming, cycling and running.

2 Comments

  1. I recently upgraded to the 5X Plus, primarily for Spotify support. I read DCRainmakers review. He said, “I’ve been using both for a long-ass time now, and both work great. No issues when it comes to Spotify for me on either.” I’m not sure what magical world he is in, but I have to restart my watch every time I want to play Spotify. It acts like it runs fine. My headphones connect (usually, Jaybird X3’s), but I don’t get any sound. A reboot of my watch usually fixes the issues. But as you said above, at least for anyone but DCRainmaker, the Garmin Spotify integration is not fully baked. But, thanks to your post I see there’s a Spotify ConnectIQ update. Downloading now, fingers crossed.

    • To be fair other than this crash I’ve not seen issues with the Spotify app. The Bluetooth is the issue with the headphones and that’s on the Garmin side. My assumption was that it was down to my re-pairing the headphones elsewhere but maybe not. I have a similar issue with BTLE sensors not reconnecting although that’s true on the Vantage too.

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