How to connect a Garmin forerunner to your macintosh with OSX.

Ok the instructions that come with the Garmin forerunner are completely wrong, the CD is useless (it has the manual but no software) and the Garmin support website is not much help either. There are all sorts of discussions on the Garmin site for Mac users about ‘it does work with Lion’, ‘it doesn’t work with Lion’ and so on. At one point it even had me downloading a PC .exe file!

The answer is that it  does work very well with OSX but there are two separate pieces of software that need to be installed.


1. The first piece of software is a Safari/Firefox/Chrome Plugin that lets your browser talk to your Garmin. You can download it from under ‘Support’ menu then ‘Software’ then ‘Software for Mac OS’ then ‘Garmin Communicator Plugin‘.

When it’s downloaded you can test it on this test page:


2. The second piece of software is a USB driver that talks to the Antenna. Again, you get it from ‘Support’ menu then ‘Software’ then ‘Software for Mac OS’ then ‘Garmin ANT Agent’. When it’s downloaded you can ‘pair’ with your Garmin device as per the instructions.


Finally if you want you can go to the mac app store and download the Garmin fitness software for free.


24 responses to “How to connect a Garmin forerunner to your macintosh with OSX.”

  1. Thanks. I own both a mac and a garmin watch, so this was useful.

  2. Ramon

    finally!!! thanks so much for sharing. Incomprehensible that this is so hard for Garmin to include in their own instructions!

  3. Austin

    THANK YOU!!!! Banging my head on this one.

  4. Sam

    And then you turn pairing on in your garmin and it is done!

  5. Fab

    Thank you so much for this very clear post…It helped tremendously…Garmin’s instructions are so wrong…

  6. Eric VdB

    The aforementioned explanation is supposing the use of an ANT usb devise plugged in the MAC that talks wirelessly over ANT … but normally I thought you could also connect directly the Forerunner via the USB cable. Isn’t it the case ? Is the only way to make the Forerunner to talk with OSX via an ANT USB devise plugged in the Mac ?
    Thank you

  7. David

    Trouble connecting Forerunner to MAC/OSX, try these small steps.
    If all drivers and Garmin SW are installed and you still can not connect:
    power down Forerunner (hold light button 5 seconds).
    Put in cradle, then plug in to USB.
    Works every time.

    1. Steve

      quick and easy solution. big Thank You.

  8. juyeates

    Ive downloaded these plugins, when I plug in my forerunner with the usb cable the laptop can see it but the garmin connect website still can’t see the device.
    I’m running osx 10.6.8

  9. Dave

    Trying to connect my forerunner 305.
    Tried all the above, no luck.
    I have a garmin 800 connected no problem…

    garmin connect says no garmin communicator installed. I have installed it, restarted after the install, uninstalled, reinstalled, restarted ….. same error, no garmin communicator installed.
    Don’t have ANT, I am using usb.

    Any other advice?



  10. Ben

    Have a new Mac and not able to connect Garmin Express to Garmin Connect for my Forerunner 310XT. Afraid the advice here does not work now. Seems to install and pair to the device ok but when I go to sign in to Garmin Connect to transfer data, I get an error message saying “There was a problem connecting to the Garmin servers. We’re unable to sign you in because our servers are unavailable at this time.” Clearly a software issue but Garmin’s support team not helping at all (will not refer this to software team because I don’t have any logs for the device – of course I don’t the application has not installed properly)! Issue has been ongoing for days, product support is totally useless. If it isn’t fixed I will be giving the device away and buying a Suunto and saying bye bye to Garmin for good.

    1. ADR

      I have the same problem… I have read the FAQ and the solutions on Garmin website, but still not working.
      Any suggestion for this issue?
      I wrote a email to Garmin support and I’waiting their response in three working days :-(

      1. Sara

        I am also having this SAME problem and it is very extremely annoying. I can’t seem to find a solution that works! So if anyone finds anything out, I would appreciate a post.
        Thank you and happy training!

      2. JT

        Did you ever get a reply from Garmin on your connecting issue. Would be interested to hear what they have to say as I am having the same issue. I also emailed them and have note heard back yet.

    2. Je3ff

      UPDATE Oct 18 2017
      Just got off the phone with Garmin software support. Trying to connect my old Forerunner 305 and get the “Cannot connect to Garmin Servers” error message. I was told that they have “recently become aware” of this issue (ha!) and know what the problem is, they just need to create the fix (write some code) and update the software version. “It should be pretty soon” he said… I was added to an email list that will notify me when the fix is in!!! Until then, my old 305 is a paperweight…

  11. Steck08

    THANK YOU David from September 22, 2014!! That absolutely did the freaking trick!!!! FINALLY!!!

  12. I may have missed this in the above comment, so forgive me if that’s the case. But for me, the solution was simply to switch of the watch (hold down power button – top left) for 15 seconds until it goes off. Then hold down the same button until it powers on again. Hey presto, it works!

    1. David Leigh

      Definitely works, just tried it on my new Frontrunner 10. Looked like it had frozen, but this sorted it out- thank you.

  13. Forgive me, it looks like David had already found the solution. I was just so excited I got mine working I jumped the gun and went and posted. Sorry guys!

  14. Scott

    I have been unable to get my new Forerunner 310xt to work with my Mac Mini or my Macbook Pro.

    I downloaded the plugin with high hopes as I have tried everything else I can think of to get things to work. Unfortunately, I still cannot get it to work.

    I had the 305 prior and was having pretty good success using the prior Garmin Training software and the USB cradle. I first thought that the 310 would work with the old software, but then realized there is no cradle and the USB cord is only for charging, not data transfer.j

    I have installed the Garmin Ant Agent and Garmin Express software on by of my Macs, hoping I could at least get one to work. No dice. The Mac Mini registers the Ant stick, but usually does not recognize the 310. Garmin Express doesn’t recognize even the Ant stick, so it cannot speak with the 310.

    The Macbook Pro does not register the Ant stick, with either GAA or Express software.


    1. Kevin

      Same problem. Spent an hour and a half on the phone with Garmin tech support. They concluded it is something wrong with my MAC settings that are preventing connecting to their servers. I’ll try Apple tech support next.

  15. Axl

    Chrome No Longer Supports this Plugin — use Safari browser instead!

  16. Alfredo TEIXEIRA Moura

    I’m Stil truing to connect my S2 to my MAC but doesn’t work. Please! I lost all courses and I don’t know how to get it again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.