Vivosmart HR: Setting up Notifications and Music Controls Part 1
Many reviewers of the Vivosmart products and the Garmin Connect app have noted that the app can be a chore to use with Garmin's activity trackers. In particular, the user manual is unclear on how to set up Android notifications and Music controls, two features available over Bluetooth with products such as the Vivosmart HR.
This article applies to Vivosmart HR, Garmin Connect 18.104.22.168 for Android, and a Sony Xperia C3 running Android 5.x.
The user guide and app points out that after initially pairing your Android device with your Vivosmart HR, the app will automatically detect the tracker as long as Bluetooth is enabled. This isn't quite true and you will often have to reconnect over Bluetooth to sync data or change settings.
To reconnect the Vivosmart HR to the Android device over Bluetooth:
1. Press the button on the Vivosmart HR and swipe to the Bluetooth icon screen.
2. Tap B > Bluetooth > Bluetooth to enable Bluetooth.
3. Tap the Back button and then the Sync icon.
4. Enable the Bluetooth on your Android device and launch the Garmin Connect app.
Note: "Waiting to connect" will appear on the Bluetooth screen on the Vivosmart if Bluetooth isn't enabled on the Android device. Unfortunately, even if the Vivosmart HR indicates "Bluetooth connected", the Garmin Connect app won't allow you to sync data unless your smartphone is connected to the Internet.
Android Notifications and the Garmin Connect app
To allow Android notifications for Garmin Connect on the Sony Xperia C3 (Android 5.x):
1. On Android 5.x, tap Settings > Sound & notification > Notification access.
2. Check that Garmin Connect is enabled.
To set up Android notifications on the Vivosmart HR:
1. On the Garmin Connect app, tap Settings > Smart Notifications.
2. Enable notifications that you want to appear on your Vivosmart HR.
In the following example, WeChat is enabled.
Note: Any changes to the Garmin Connect Settings are synced to the activity tracker. Garmin Connect overrides settings you configure manually on the tracker itself. For example, if you disable the Move Alert on the tracker, but have it enabled on the Garmin Connect app, the Garmin Connect app will override the settings on the tracker after you sync.
Adding Notifications to the Vivosmart HR Screen
Android notifications actually won't appear on your Vivosmart HR after you change the notification settings in Garmin Connect. By default, the activity tracker doesn't have the Notifications screen enabled on the Vivosmart's display. You have to enable the screen manually using Garmin Connect.
To have the notifications appear on your Vivosmart HR display:
1. In the Garmin Connect app, tap Garmin Devices > Vivosmart HR > Device Settings > Display.
2. Enable Notifications from the Visible Screens list.
Whenever Android notifications arrive on your smartphone, brief text appears on your activity tracker for you to review. Short WeChat messages actually appear in full on the screen once you tap on the notification. Enabling notifications adds an extra swipe screen on your default display so you have to make an additional swipe to get to the time, steps, and floors climbed screens.
In addition, if the Bluetooth connection is not available from the smartphone or Bluetooth is disabled on the Vivosmart HR, the extra swipe screen for Notifications remains and displays the message "Bluetooth is off".