Before hitting the road, you would need to keep the maps up-to-date on your Garmin Nuvi GPS unit so that you won’t get lost while you’re on a journey. If you have a lifetime membership or purchased map update, you can easily download the map updates via Garmin Express software. In case, you prefer free of any charge maps, you can utilize open source maps from Open Street Map.

To update your maps, there are two different methods. Continue reading further to know their stepwise instructions.

Method 1: Official Garmin Map Updates


  1. Purchase the map updates

It is possible to purchase the map updates for the Garmin Nuvi device from the official Garmin website. From there, you get two options: a one-time upgrade and a lifetime purchase. The one-time upgrade offers you all the latest current maps, however, you would need to purchase them again for later upgradation. While the lifetime purchases offer all new updates for the life of your Garmin unit. Take a note on few points:

  • You can upgrade preloaded maps only. For instance, if your Nuvi unit came preloaded with South American maps, you would not be able to update it to a Europe map.
  • Ensure to log in with the my Garmin account before you purchase a map upgrade. During the checkout procedure, you can create a my Garmin account for free.
  • To use free maps, you can utilize community-made maps from OpenStreetMap.
  1. Connect Garmin Nuvi with the computer system using USB cable

To update the maps, you would need to connect the unit to your computer via USB cable. Now, wait for the Garmin device to boot up.

  1. Go to ‘my Garmin’ website to sign in with your Garmin account

You would have to log in with the same account with which you have made your map updates purchases.

  1. On my Garmin dashboard, select the tab ‘myMaps’

This will open a list of all your purchased map upgrades.

  1. Click on the drop-down menu in the section ‘Recent Map Purchases’

From the displayed list of the device, make a selection of your Garmin Nuvi unit.

  1. Install the Garmin Communicator Plug-in

This will transfer the map files to the Garmin software installed on your computer.

Take a note, the plug-in does not support Google Chrome, therefore, you would need to use Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox.

  1. Install the Garmin Express software and register your device

When the Garmin Express will start, you would get a prompt to register your device if you are not registered already.

  1. In the Garmin Express, click on the tab ‘Updates’

This option will display all the updates available for your Nuvi device, including the purchased new map updates.

  1. Select the option ‘Show Details’ and click on ‘Install’ icon

The ‘Show Details’ appears next to the ‘Map Update’ option. Moreover, to update the installs, you would need to accept the agreement.

  • Wait while the maps are downloading and installing

As soon as you would select the option ‘Agree’, the latest map updates will begin to download to Garmin Express software. Wait for a couple of minutes while they are being transferred to your Garmin Nuvi device.

  • Upon completion, close Garmin Express software and unplug your Nuvi device.

Now, your Garmin unit will reboot and installation of the updated software would begin on your device.


Method 2: Use Maps from other sources


  1. Download a file of free map image

OpenStreetMap is a community-driven toll which enables its users to create the street maps on their own. Later, you can import them to your Garmin Nuvi device to get updated maps for free of cost.

To use this open source, click here. If you want to save the maps, you can download ‘.img’ file and can rename it to gmapsupp.img.

  1. Plug in your Nuvi device to your computer via USB cable
  2. Put your Garmin unit to ‘USB Mass storage’ mode.

This will enable you to copy the files to and from the GPS. In case, you have an SD card, you can utilize it instead.

  • Open the main menu on your Nuvi and click the option ‘Setup’.
  • Select the section ‘Interface’.
  • At last, select ‘USB Mass Storage’ mode.
  1. Open the option Mass Storage on your computer
  2. On your GPS device, open the Map or Garmin folder

Copy the ‘gmapsupp.img’ file and paste it to the Garmin or Map folder.

  1. Upon completion, disconnect the Garmin device from your computer.
  2. At last, load the new maps

The Garmin device will reboot when you would disconnect the device. Afterward, you would need to disable the base map and select the new maps. To do this, follow:

  • Open ‘Tools’ menu and then select the ‘Settings’ option.
  • Tap on ‘Map’ followed by ‘Map info’.
  • Select the checkbox of new maps and un check for the previous base maps.

If you face any sort of trouble while following the steps of updating Garmin Nuvi Device, quickly contact Garmin Tech Support for assistance.