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Garmin GTN 650 update with a Mac?

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I’m totally new to the GTN 650, and need to update an a/c in S.Africa mid-April (I’m in UK), pre-ferry to Kenya.

According to Garmin in addition to the serial no. (which I have), I need the system ID (which I don’t have, and needs winding it up to see). I’d prefer to only bring my Mac out, and FlyGarmin for Mac is in Beta.

Talking to Garmin they strongly advised using a PC, which would be a pain on this trip.

Has anyone experience with a Mac and updating a 650?

Swanborough Farm (UK), Shoreham EGKA, Soysambu (Kenya), Kenya

Yes and it works ok. But I’ve now moved to doing with the iPad and the flightstream 510, and that’s so much easier that I would suggest you look into it


Thanks, Denopa, looks an interesting solution.

Cost is a bit eye-watering for a “SD card”, however sophisticated.

Do the updates really take 40mins? Ground power’s a bit theoretical where we’ll be operating, unfortunately, and security, if anyone knew what it was, a problem.

Swanborough Farm (UK), Shoreham EGKA, Soysambu (Kenya), Kenya

An iPad and a Bad Elf Wombat will do it, too. But your subscription must be with Jeppesen, not with Garmin.


Can’t answer on 650…but running Windows on an Mac works excellent. Many options are available, I use “Parallels Desktop for Mac”

ESOW, Sweden

Updates from the iPad to the GTN take less than a minute without chart, 10 minutes with it.

I agree the cost is large. For me it adds a big moving map (the iPad) with georeferenced charts driven by my panel’s GPS, so excellent accuracy; flight plan transfers is cool but not as transformative as with the GNS.

Last Edited by denopa at 12 Mar 19:40

@2greens1red wrote:

Talking to Garmin they strongly advised using a PC, which would be a pain on this trip.

Sometimes they don’t know what to recommend. Here is the text from the Garmin support after I have had troubles with the initial installation auf the SD card:

It is not true that you have to use Windows XP, we would prefer you used regular Windows 10 (not a virtual machine), but the flyGarmin for MAC works correctly as well.

EDDS , Germany

I have a lot of old but vital software (we have to be able to revisit designs done say 20 years ago, so “moving to the latest £10k package”, so beloved of EDA software salesmen, is not an option) which doesn’t run on anything after winXP. I have for some time built all PCs as win7-64 but with a winXP dual boot (difficult nowadays because most motherboards don’t have XP drivers, but there is a specific high-end Gigabyte one which does it all perfectly). However I have found that VMware does a good enough job of emulating winXP and the dual boot was never actually needed. One exception I recall was mouse operation; you had to disable something like wheel integration in the VM.

I wonder why Garmin don’t just use wifi to update everything. Then you could just need a phone with a wifi hotspot when you visit the plane. The Avidyne IFD boxes have wifi but I don’t know if they have that capability.

For some reason the handheld GPS makers manage to really bodge their management/ update software. I could never get the Garmin stuff to recognise the Aera 660 for example, via USB. Fortunately, the unit has wifi and updates through that.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Flygarmin worked fine on a mac for me.

EGTK Oxford

We use the Jeppesen Distribution Manager on Mac for GNS430, GTN650 and G1000 and it works well.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden
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