How to connect Garmin with Pact and slowly become rich!


Update: Pact does not endorse the following setup and will probably refuse support in case of trouble (which I did have). My experience with Pact’s support has been mixed…

Announced with much fanfare, Apple’s Health platform didn’t make much of an impression so far in this humble blogger’s opinion. The reason being that app developers are the ones deciding not only if but also which types of data they are making available. So what we have seen so far are incomplete connections to the platform. For example, Garmin Connect sends and receives steps and calories, but not fat and weight, even though these are types of data stored in Garmin’s platform.

Still, after 6 months of it’s release, i’ve found a use case for Health. I’ve been a devoted user of Fitbit and for all the last few months one of Pact. Previously called GymPact, it is an app that asks you on Monday to make a promise on fitness goals and pays you if you keep it (and charges you if you don’t). The amount you’re paid is just a couple dollars per week, but it’s a small incentive to stay on your goals and eat a few more vegetables :)

Pact and Fitbit have a direct integration. Every time i walk 10,000 steps in a day that counts as one exercise. Having recently migrated to a Garmin Vivofit, I had to find a way to keep the transfer of data, since Pact only allows automatic entry of exercise data (from other services or iPhone’s step tracking feature) to avoid cheaters. The iPhone was not an option since I don’t carry it on me all the time.

Luckily, Pact connects with Jawbone’s UP service to get step data. UP connects with Health for step and sleep data. And finally, Garmin connects with Health for step and running data (just daily distance by the way, nothing else). Given this post’s title, you probably that have figured out that the connection works. Pact reads Garmin’s step count as coming from Jawbone!

The settings in Health are as follows. 
As can be seen, only one app should be the source of data.

The connection is not perfect. I’m not sure what goes on between the three services, but not the same numbers end up in UP. Some days it showed much more steps than Garmin, others less. Health’s interface doesn’t help much since you can’t see any other data other than today’s total step count.

This created issues with a Pact on days that was a bit over the 10K steps mark, with UP only reading 8K of them. Luckily, Pact’s support were helpful to manually fix my entry for the day. (Or not. See update at the top of the post if you missed it).

All in all this works, but not in a perfect, “set it and forget it” kind of way. Still, if you’re a Garmin user, try it out and let me know the results :)

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