Garmin inReach Mini Messaging

How well does the Garmin inReach Mini communicate with it’s 2-way messaging system?

I took it into the backyard after a recent hike and tested it from my Garmin Mini to my iPhone to my SPOT X and back to the Garmin to see how well it worked.

Here’s what I found out.

Garmin inReach Mini Message Results

I was concerned going into this test because I was told by a SPOT customer service representative that you could not message between a SPOT device and a Garmin device.

Garmin inReach Mini vs SPOT X

Let me get straight to the bottom line.

Messaging works fine between the two different manufactures.

Now, let’s break this down and show you that it works.

Message from Garmin Mini to iPhone

The first thing I did was send a message from my Garmin inReach Mini to my iPhone, using the Earthmate app. You can see the message below on the left and how it shows up on the right as being sent.

Garmin inReach Mini Messaging


The message below is the text I received on my iPhone and my fake response “How is your hike going?” Of course, I already knew as I was sitting on my deck in the backyard.

Garmin inReach Mini Messaging


You can see the reply from my iPhone below, both on the Garmin Mini itself on the left and on the Earthmate app on the right.

Garmin inReach Mini Messaging

Next, just to prove this wasn’t a fluke, I sent another message from the Earthmate app. You can see it being typed on the left and being sent on the right.

Garmin inReach Mini Messaging

Finally, you can see the reply message from my iPhone back to the Garmin inReach Mini.

Garmin inReach Mini Messaging

There is a lag time when the messages are sent as it has to locate a satellite and the message is sent through the satellite system.

Message from Garmin Mini to SPOT X

The second test, which was the bigger question for me, was the question about the Garmin inReach Mini being able to message back and forth to the SPOT X.

Well, I’ll give the secret away again and let you know that it worked fine.

You can see my message below from the Garmin inReach Mini and the Earthmate app.

Garmin inReach Mini Messaging

You can see the message was received from the SPOT X below.

Garmin inReach Mini Messaging


I guess I didn’t take the picture when I sent the message the first message back to the Garmin inReach Mini but I highlighted it below so you can see it was sent.

Garmin inReach Mini Messaging


The message was received by my Garmin Mini and you can see my reply, back to the SPOT X.

Garmin inReach Mini Messaging

The next images show the message being received by the SPOT X.

Garmin inReach Mini Messaging


The image on the left shows what I was typing and the image on the right shows it being sent back to the inReach Mini. There was a longer delay sending the message from the SPOT X, versus when I sent a message from my Garmin Mini.

Garmin inReach Mini Messaging


This last image shows the final message from the SPOT X showing up on the Garmin inReach Mini on the left and the Earthmate app on the right.

Garmin inReach Mini Messaging


I wanted to show you how the Garmin Mini works without the Earthmate app and how the messages are sent and received using the Earthmate app, when it is synced with your smartphone.

I believe most people will love using the Earthmate app, as it allows you to leave the Garmin inReach Mini alone on your pack and you use the app on your phone as you would in any other day of your life.

The Earthmate app, combined with the Garmin inReach Mini is incredibly simple to use.

The Bottom Line

The test was a success and I proved to myself that the messages worked. I say I proved it to myself because it’s important for me to know these devices work as promoted, especially when I’m out deep in the Rocky Mountains and need to be able to communicate with others.

Garmin inReach Mini Messaging

I was impressed with how easy it was to message between these devices and my iPhone. I had to be patient as the satellite system is not as fast as what we’re use to on our cellular networks, but it helps when you’re in the woods to know you can get help.

What impressed me the most was how easy it was to sync my Garmin inReach Mini to my iPhone. Initially, I thought I wouldn’t like having to keep my phone synced, but as it uses an app and a system that we are all familiar with, it was easy and enjoyable to use.

You can see a short video of this messaging process in action below.

I would love to hear about any experiences you have had with satellite messengers and the messaging process. Please leave a Comment Below or send me an Email.

Learn more about the Garmin inReach Mini HERE and the SPOT X HERE. I have already written multiple reviews and field tested these devices several times in the last 4 months.

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8 thoughts on “Garmin inReach Mini Messaging”

  1. This is one of the coolest hiking equipment I have seen or heard of on the market because it lets other people know what you are up to when you are on a hike if another person has a garmin or satellite compatible phone. Do you think that Garmin is the best satellite messaging device and why do you think so?

    • Thanks for the question.

      It’s a tough question because there are so many options on the market and they all have their specialty, however, I do like the Garmin inReach Mini better then the SPOT X and the SPOT Gen 3 at this point. It does cost more money but having the ability to sync with my phone and view large maps, lay down waypoints easily and create custom messages quickly has been great.

      I will be buying the Garmin inReach Explorer+ in a few weeks so I’ll put it to the test on some hiking trips and then compare it to the others and give you additional feedback then.


  2. I have been a big fan of Garmin back in the days when we still use our GPS instead of our cell phones. I was just not meant for Mapquest or the maps at the interstate gas station, good old days. lol 

    Anyways, I love this Garmin inReach mini messaging. It somehow reminds me of the beeper. This little gadget will be perfect for hiking. As we know there is never a service when we are up in the mountains. It is amazing that you can sync it to the iPhone too.

    Thanks for the review and your pic 🙂 

    • You are very welcome. 

      I originally didn’t think I would like to have my iPhone synced with the Garmin inReach Mini but now I like it a lot and impressed with how well it does. It’s so convenient to be able to leave the Garmin Mini on my pack and use my cell phone and the Earthmate app as I would on any other day of my life and it’s great having the larger screen to view the topo maps and to be able to create messages quickly.


  3. Many thanks to you for sharing such an excellent article with us .I used the Garmin inReach Mini Messaging device and it works so well I was surprised when I was hiking, seeing the effectiveness of it. This device communicates very well wherever the network is not found on the phone .And it has seemed a lot easier and easier to use .I am very satisfied using this device and my hiking was really nice because I was worry free and I was always able to keep in touch with my family.

    I hope their customer service improves in the future and many more will use this device and share their new experience soon.And if you don’t mind, can I share your article on my social media?

    • Hi Shanta. Feel free to share the article on your social media. 

      I really want people to understand the need to have a satellite messenger with them when heading out on an outdoor adventure. You never know if or when you’ll need it to save your life or someone you come across on the trail.


  4. hey thanks for this really interesting article and a great test of the capability.  Everything these days revolves around power consumption.  So the tech is greater but if you don’t have the confidence that it will actually have the power you need in an emergency then that’s a  problem.

    I’m sorry but I am not familiar with the device at all, though you are effectively changing that situation!

    What kind of time do you get from switching the device(s) on  if you were to leave it switched on until it ‘juiced out’ and what is the method for recharging or replenishment of power? Also is a constant power down or is capacity affected by particular activity modes?

    Thanks, really interested to know more


    • Hi Hamish,

      The battery will typically last around 35 to 90 hours, depending on how you use it.

      I carry a portable battery backup which can provide around 3 charges for either my iPhone or the Garmin Mini.

      Nothing was said about having to run the battery all the way down, and my experience has been with the new technology, that isn’t necessary any more.

      I’m glad you like the Garmin inReach Mini Messaging review. Feel free to ask more questions.



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