How to Update the Garmin Nuvi

By Danielle Fernandez

Ditch a GPS device's outdated map data

How to Update the Garmin Nuvi

While the Garmin Nuvi comes preloaded with default maps and location information, new roads, points of interest and other routing information changes can quickly cause the device's map data to become outdated. Unless you want to get lost or stranded in unfamiliar territory, it's a good idea to update the Garmin Nuvi from time to time.

Before you begin

To properly update your device, install the Garmin Express app on your computer. The software, which updates most Garmin devices including the Nuvi model, is available free and is compatible with systems running Windows Vista SP2 or newer as well as Mac OS 10.10 or newer operating systems. You also can use it to upload activities to the software, register your device(s) and update golf course map data. Once the application is successfully installed, simply plug in your device; then follow the on-screen prompts to add your device and register its purchase with Garmin. Additional devices can be added by clicking the home icon at the top of the window and repeating the process.

Updating the device

Once the Garmin Nuvi device is added to the Garmin Express application, navigate to the app's main dashboard, and click on the Nuvi in the list of registered devices. The app will automatically open an information window that displays the device's status as well as information about available updates. If any updates are present, simply click "Install" or "Install all" next to the available updates and follow the on-screen prompts to be guided, step-by-step, through the process. If multiple updates are available, users can also select "View Details" to choose the specific ones you'd like to install on your device. If no updates are available, the app has determined that your device is already up-to-date.

Additional considerations

  • Because new maps often hold more navigational details than the maps they're replacing, they sometimes take up more space on the device. The Garmin Express app will help manage the current data storage if enough space is not available for the update. 
  • If the device supports a memory card, expanding the storage will help avoid issues caused by overly large updates. Garmin Express will automatically detect when a memory card is installed and prompt users to tell it where they would like to install the update.
  • If the device does not have a memory card or has unexpectedly run out of room, choose to install only regional map data to fit the space available.
  • The Garmin Express app also provides all manuals and FAQ for supported models.

About the Author

Based in Tampa, Fla., Danielle Fernandez been writing, editing and illustrating all things technology, lifestyle and education since 1999. Her work has appeared in the Tampa Tribune, Working Mother magazine, and a variety of technical publications, including BICSI's "Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual." Fernandez holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of South Florida.