Garmin 945 – What no apps? – Side Loading & Comparison Photos

Being an unpaid 3rd party CIQ app developer probably makes it hard to keep up with making your apps support the latest, greatest Garmin watch. Especially when 5 are released at almost the same time, as was the case recently.

So your Forerunner 945 owners may have already found that your favourite watch face or app from the 935 no longer works. That’s a Grrrrr moment, if ever there was one. Fear not!! you can sideload the app and it probably will work. I’ll tell you how in a second

WARNING: The true title of this post should be “How to break your expensive, new Garmin“. Beware! Your apps and watch faces don’t work because they haven’t been tested and verified. However if you are porting an old app to a new watch (eg 935 to 945) then this will probably all work fine but if you try to put a new app onto a really old watch, say the Forerunner 235, then take a big spoonful of hope before you start.

LATEST: Garmin Forerunner 945 Review


If you try to get the award-winning CRYSTAL watch face on your 945 then you won’t be able to (yet). But, hey, look here. I did it.


Here’s what you need to do

Download and unpack the .PRG file from this link on this site: Crystal Watch Face (Zip)

Alternative: Do not trust me at all and get the same file from the Garmin\app folder on your 935. It will be called 23C86B85.PRG. Or use any other PRG file, you can guess what it does based on the date it was installed onto your 935

Place the PRG file into the Garmin\App folder on your 945.


That’s all folks. The same principle applies to apps like the Humon Hex app which I’ve also tested in this manner. Of course, Humon and other developers are in the process of making their apps available on the 945 right now. Indeed the STRYD data fields already work as they should.

If you now check GARMIN EXPRESS, you will see the new additions you have made to your watch perhaps do not quite appear ‘properly’ eg in the following image the side-loaded apps/watch faces seem to be missing their icon and are given a modified name indicating they are in ‘development’.


Part 2 – Side-Loading Elsewhere

The side-loading of apps might get more interesting in the future. Whilst the method I just described probably won’t change too much for those of us testing beta data fields in the Garmin environment, other watch vendors could start to more openly support and promote 3rd party ‘apps’.

For example Hammerhead’s KAROO bikenav is essentially an android smartphone. It certainly is possible to port numerous android apps (like STRAVA !!)  across to it and there is a little community of users who are doing precisely that. I believe that Hammerhead are toying with the idea of promoting that ability a little bit more. #NiceIdea

Whilst I didn’t test the side-loading in my Hammerhead Karoo Review, I did link to some of the forums where this happens. Have a read, if you like.

Hammerhead Karoo 2 Review in detail | the other opinion


Part 3 – Comparisons


Part 3 of this post is entirely unrelated and it’s just here because I took some nice-ish photos of my near-identical twins. Even though they look the same there are subtle differences (very subtle) but most people would think they were two exactly similar watches of the same age rather than two quite different ones (under the hood) that, in fact, are 2 years apart.

The obvious difference is the V3 ELEVATE unit on the rear.

The next, less obvious, difference is the colour of the buttons which are now a slightly nicer, darker shade of grey.

Then, whilst the watch face and bezel look identical, there are tiny differences in the markings around the rim of the glass and, of course, the glass is stated on to be Gorilla glass rather than the chemically-strengthened crystal glass of the 935.


OK. Get back to work.

Garmin Forerunner 945 – Shipping NOW (EU/UK)


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9 thoughts on “Garmin 945 – What no apps? – Side Loading & Comparison Photos

    1. Not sure I should say ‘thank you for the link’ as I’m now going to spend several HOURS checking a few of them out 😉 good to see that Humon are in there already, they were still testing yesterday (I helped 😉 )

      I think most of the major players should add theirs wuickly but I know things like my FULLDAY watch face might take several weeks to turn around by the developer, so the tips is good for niche cases like this OR for when a developer just forgets to include a model when they submit the app. (I had another issue with 230 vs 235 a while back when clearly the app would work)

  1. It’s interesting that stryd was quick to get their apps verified for the 945 but why would anyone need stryd when the 945 has onboard power measurement? I’m looking forward to that feature when I upgrade because I’ve found stryd to be unreliable and too hard to use.

    1. how so? just add a STRYD datafield and off you go. You don’t even have to pair the sensor.
      After that it’s training by power just like cyclists do.
      STRYD is more of a proxy for effort than Garmin Running Power IMHO. STRYD is more expensive of course.

  2. This should at least work for most apps. Seems like the biggest difference, as I port my own apps, is the bigger fonts are, well, bigger on the 945. So layouts could be a bit messed up and text overlapping in places. Impacts multi field data fields where you are trying to cram a lot of data into a small space the most. So don’t be surprised to see those kinds of glitches. And please don’t hound us developers with those kinds of bugs or bad reviews when side loading.

  3. Any chance you could do us a solid and upload the “Barcode Wallet” app?

  4. Hi, does this still work for new models? I have 955 and I can’t see installed prg files on the watch filesystem, neither it is possible to copy and use prg on the watch.

    My old 645 supported this.

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