Notifications on Fenix/Epix: the options
Update: This article is outdated. The Garmin Connect Mobile app now (February 2018) requests your consent to upload your data. It is not necessary anymore to use the options below. This page is here for reference.
This question: “How can I have notifications on my Fenix/Epix/other device without uploading all my data to the Connect cloud?” comes up often enough to warrant a quick reference for the available solutions. Here it is.
Android firewall option
Requires a rooted phone and the AFWall+ app. On a non-rooted phone you can use a VPN-type firewall, for example NoRootFirewall. You will have to manually put a new satellite orbit prediction file (EPO.BIN) on the device every week. And you don’t have IQ store access, weather and other online services, but notifications and music controls work.
Old CIQ version option
Downgrade your device to a version of the firmware that has an old CIQ version (1.2.1 works) and side-load the APK Garmin Connect Mobile version 3.4 – that is the last version with the AutoUpload on/off switch. With the Epix (still has CIQ 1.2.1) this works out-of-the-box. Don’t forget to flag the app in the Playstore to not auto-update. Tested with Fenix 3: worked, but not 100% reliable (often needs reboot of phone and/or device). If you don’t have old backups of your favorite widgets (from when your device actually ran that old firmware), they will not work anymore.
Selective saving, selective Bluetooth on/off
Switch activity tracking off. Never save an activity when Bluetooth is on. Use Resume Later (after a certain number of hours the device will auto-save it though). Switch Bluetooth off before you save it. Then move the FIT file from the phone via USB. Once the activity file is gone, there is nothing to sync, so you can switch BLE on again.
This limits you to one activity at a time, and you have to be able to offload the data within the auto-save interval (8 hours on a Fenix 3).
Notifications forwarding to a second phone
This one I haven’t tried: using an Android app that forwards notifications via SMS to another phone that has GCM and no internet.
Report the issue
Submit the idea to re-enable the auto-upload-off-switch to Garmin via the share idea page.
Report the unwanted uploads as a problem via email to Customer Support. The email link is at the bottom of the page.
Advanced users (with firewall and old CIQ options)
You can adjust the auto-sync interval on a Fenix 3 with a small custom program written with the FIT SDK that writes a SETTINGS.FIT file with the interval you want (once a day is convenient). This limits the number of files in the MONITORING directory, so you don’t have to download the monitoring files every few days. This does not work on the Epix.
More in-depth information is in various older posts on this site.