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Garmin discontinuing map updates for older models

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I'm genuinely surprised this didn't happen sooner.

Garmin says that a whole bunch of models will no longer receive map updates as of July 2023. Basically put, the map updates will stop for most models made before 2013.

While true it states this will only apply to Australian and New Zealand models, it would not surprise me at all if North American models will be included in the no-more-updated-maps shortly after that.

Does anybody still use a Garmin GPS that's over 10 years old?

While I personally have a collection of old Garmin GPSes, my daily driver is the Garmin DriveSmart 66, a current model at the time I write this.

Older Garmin models I'd consider using as daily drivers would be the nuvi 2599LMTHD and nuvi 56LMT.

The absolute oldest I'd use would be the nuvi 2597LMT, a 2013 model. Using anything older than that is where I really notice the age of a older Garmin GPS. Slow searching, slow map drawing, slow route calculation and so on.

The whole "lifetime maps" thing

This is the part where people get mad.

Take the nuvi 50LM, originally released in 2011, and one of the best models Garmin ever made. It's really basic and has no smartphone connectivity and no traffic support, but is ultra-legible and is an incredible basic GPS navigator.

The "LM" in nuvi 50LM means "Lifetime Maps". Lifetime in this instance does not mean forever. It means the useful lifetime of the device...

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...and that's where we enter this gray area.

What amount of time qualifies as the useful lifetime of a device? That's never been answered. Is that Garmin's fault? Not really. At the time they introduced Lifetime Maps, it's probably true nobody at Garmin ever thought anybody would still be using the same nuvi 10 years later. There was even documentation written that said if you didn't update your device at least once every 2 years, no more free map updates.

But, here we are in '23, and some people actually do use a 10+ year old Garmin GPS and regularly update whenever a new map is released.

There were two errors Garmin made. Use of the word lifetime, and not documenting any end-of-support dates (or at least none I could see).

Per use of the word lifetime, all I can say there is Garmin should have never used that word, but they did and the damage is done there. They're going to get flak for ending support on 10+ year old "lifetime" products and that's just the way it is.

The July '23 date is the first I've seen where Garmin finally announced end-of-support for a particular line of automotive GPS products. So yes, Garmin has finally documented a date, and it's good in the way they did it. A date was announced several months in the future that gives the user ample time to back up their favorites and switch over to a newer model.

But again, people are still going to get mad because they think lifetime means forever.

As the old saying goes, nothing is forever.

Published 2023 Feb 2

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