Garmin nuvi Map Update

Garmin nuvi Map Update - nuMaps Lifetime

Garmin nuvi Map Update - nuMaps Onetime

You might need a special web gps just to navigate the vast map and update resources on the Internet for your Garmin device – ha,ha – just joking!

But, there is a lot to learn and it’s definitely overwhelming, especially if you are a first time user.

The information here will hopefully make it a little easier to do a Garmin nuvi map update for your GPS.

If it’s time to replace your GPS with a newer model, don’t waste your money on maps for the old one – have a look at the Garmin nuvi 1450LMT (our baseline model in this review), and go to Garmin nuvi Update and check out the newer models.

What You Need to Understand and Do First Before Updating

How to Do a Garmin nuvi Update Depends on Where You Are Coming From.

  • What maps are you updating?
  • Is your GPS new and never been used?
  • Have you been using your GPS for more than 90 days?
  • Did your GPS come with a Garmin nuMaps Guarantee?
  • Are you subscribed to Garmin nuMaps Lifetime updates?
  • Are you updating software?

Before Answering Any of These Questions, You Will Need the Following:

  • Your Garmin GPS device
  • A mini USB cable
  • Optional MicroSD Memory Card(s)
  • Host Computer (PC or MAC)
  • Internet Connection

Next, Make Sure That You Have Completed These Tasks:

  1. Your computer’s ‘hibernate’ mode is disabled, because map downloads may take a few hours and you don’t want the computer going to sleep during the download.
  2. The battery of your Garmin GPS is fully charged – to do this, connect it to the host computer using the USB cable and let it charge to 100%.
  3. A user account has been set up for your Garmin products at and you are signed in.

The myGarmin Home page shown below is a directory of all of the services of the website. These services can also be accessed from the tabs at the top of the page.

Home at

Home at

While signed in to your myGarmin user account,

  • Register your GPS product.  I highly recommend this because it will simplify the management of all aspects of your Garmin GPS.
  • The Garmin Communicator Plugin will be installed in your Internet Browser – this allows the Garmin website to access your GPS, to determine its identity and update status, to register your device, and to manage downloads of new map updates and other data (vehicles or voices).
  • Take action to update Windows Media Player and USB Drivers if requested because they are essential to successful operation of the plugin.
  • Connect your GPS to the computer with the USB cable – it should be detected by the Communicator Plugin.
  • The firmware in your GPS will be checked and automatically updated.

Now, explore the different tabs on the myGarmin web page.

In myDashboard below you will find a summary of the status of your GPS device, memory available, map updates ready for download, and purchase options.

myDashboard at

myDashboard at

MyProducts shows a list of your registered GPS products. Click on ‘Details‘ to show more information about each product as in the screenshot below.

myProducts/Details at

myProducts/Details at

myMaps shows the maps installed on your GPS and whether updates are available for download or purchase. The ‘Details‘ gives more map properties including the ‘unlock’ codes, and specific updates with download/purchase options.

myMaps at

myMaps at

In myExtras, other items associated with your GPS product can be accessed, if any are available.

myExtras at

myExtras at

Different Scenarios and Different Kinds of Map Updates

That brings us to the questions that were posed earlier.

Guess what!  Most have already likely been answered with the information you saw in the myGarmin pages referenced above.

You will find that if your GPS was new out of the box, there was a free update waiting for you, compliments of the nuMaps Guarantee.  The Guarantee is activated when you first connect the GPS to your computer, as above, or after the first satellite fix when you begin to use your GPS outdoors, whichever happens first.

If your Guarantee has expired and your GPS is not an ‘LM = Lifetime Maps’ version, there will be no map update alerts shown in your myGarmin account.  Instead, there will be purchase options displayed for both nuMaps Lifetime and nuMaps Onetime updates.

nuMaps Liftime is a 1-time purchase ($89.99 US) subscription that provides, when available, up to 4 optional map updates (streets, highways and points of interest) per year for the life of your Garmin GPS.  Optional updates can be selected from different geographical regions (North America, Europe, etc.). Check for more detailed information.

nuMaps Onetime is a 1-time purchase ($49.99 US) that provides a single map update of the original maps shipped with your GPS.  Check for more detailed information.

If your GPS is an ‘LM’ model, then your first lifetime subscription notice will be displayed in your account as a result of registering your unit above.

If you purchased a nuMaps Lifetime subscription separately after acquiring your GPS, follow the instructions that came with it to register it to your GPS device and to download the initial map update.

The option to purchase a nuMaps Onetime update is always available if you are not subscribed to nuMaps Lifetime.  They can be purchased as long as they are available for your device and as often as you like.  However, it is more economical to purchase nuMaps Lifetime if you want more than two updates during the life of your GPS.

So Get to Updating Already!

Great!  Now you are ready for some serious Garmin nuvi Map Update work.

Depending upon your particular scenario above, you may have some purchased and/or free map updates waiting for download from your myGarmin account.  Getting them actually loaded into your GPS is a two-step process – so get started!

  1. Download and install the Garmin Map Updater application to your computer by clicking the Download button for a particular update in your myGarmin account.
  2. Run the Map Updater application to download the map update itself directly into your Garmin GPS  -  WARNING:  this could take a few hours – do it at night!

The update process can get a little more complicated if you don’t have enough space available in your GPS’s internal memory for the complete map update.  That’s where the microSD memory comes in handy – just follow the guidance in the Map Updater and you should be OK.

Downloading map updates  into your computer and not just your GPS, if permitted, is a good idea in case you need to load them into a GPS later and don’t want to take the really long time to re-download them from Garmin’s website.  There are also many tools available for selecting regions, waypoints, routes and tracks from maps in your computer and transferring them to your GPS (MapSource, BaseCamp).

Check out the Garmin nuvi Map Update User Guide for a detailed explanation of how to update City Navigator maps for the different scenarios noted above.

You might also have a look at the JaVaWa GPS-Tools – an incredible set of very useful software programs for managing maps and other files on your GPS and associated (micro) SD cards.  The JaVaWa Device Manager – just one of the many tools –  analyzes and reports potential conflicts with the files in your GPS memory and provides a wealth of information about the maps that it finds.  It also permits you to backup and restore files and remove  the non-essential ones to make room for larger map updates – and you can customize certain map properties as well.

Also watch this excellent video by Jesse at for a demonstration of registering an ‘LM’ equipped nuvi GPS at and downloading the first map update.

What Else?

Downloadable maps are not the only way to update your GPS.

You may want to consider purchasing map updates on DVD or on pre-programmed microSD memory cards.

Maps purchased on DVD  (or CD ) will allow you to do some trip planning on your computer and to transfer waypoints, routes and tracks to your GPS device.  Luckily, trip planning software will be included -  MapSource or BaseCamp.  The software can then be used to send maps either to your GPS or to a microSD memory card.  City Navigator maps in DVD format can be updated by purchasing a map update, when available.

Pre-programmed microSD datacards are ready to go out of the box. Just insert it into your compatible GPS device and you’re ready to navigate. Maps in this format do not need to be unlocked to your device, so you can move the card to different units if desired.  However, the down side is that they can’t be accessed or edited on your computer like the DVD format.  City Navigator maps in this format are also not eligible for map updates – so, you need to buy new cards to keep the maps updated.


Well, that’s my take on the Garmin nuvi Map Update challenge.

I hope that the information here makes your task a little less intimidating.

Happy Updating!

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