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What Is the Fitbit?

By Mandi Rogier
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A Fitbit is a small wireless device that can be used to track one’s activity throughout the day and night. When worn during the day, this device will monitor the steps taken and distance walked. The Fitbit can be worn at night to track an individual’s sleep habits.

Each Fitbit comes with a wireless base station, wristband, and belt holster. The device itself has a distinct clip shape and can neatly slide onto thin garments or bra straps. The device can even be kept in a pocket during the day. For accurate sleep readings, it should be worn with the wristband that comes with it.

This Fitbit tracks daily activities in a manner similar to that of a pedometer. A Fitbit differs from a pedometer because it can track nighttime activity. This product will monitor movement, the number of times the wearer wakes up, and the hours of sleep that he gets.

The daily readings gathered by the Fitbit are uploaded to the product’s website any time the device passes by the wireless base station. It does not need to be removed, hooked up, or otherwise synced for the information to be gathered. This device can store up to seven days of detailed information or 30 days of summarized information if the wearer is away from his wireless station for an extended period of time.

This device is powered by a battery, included with purchase. The battery will usually last about 10 days. After 10 days, the Fitbit must be recharged fully for the device to continue to work.

The manufacturer recommends Fitbit users take advantage of the extensive tools available on the product website. While the device logs walking and sleeping, it can be inaccurate when more strenuous activities are performed. Users can input their own activities into the online database for a more accurate profile. The website also provides a database of 50,000 foods that can be used to track the foods eaten each day.

The comprehensive profile created from both the wireless readings and the information provided by the individual can be used in a variety of ways. The Fitbit will provide a daily activity level score that gives a good indication of how sedentary an individual is. This can be used as motivation to get more exercise. A record of calories burned will let the user see how much progress he is making over time. The sleep information can help pinpoint problems with tiredness.

Used over an extended period of time, this product can provide a detailed accounting of one’s daily lifestyle.

How To Sync Fitbit Devices

Synchronizing a Fitbit device with an online account allows you to keep track of your daily activity, sleep quality and workout statistics. Fitbit's free account tier stores months of detailed workout data, and an optional subscription level offers structured workouts and challenges.

To sync your device, you will need the Fitbit app and an Apple iPhone or a smartphone running the Android operating system. With either operating system, you must enable the Bluetooth sharing feature to permit synchronization. The Fitbit app is a free download on Google Play and Apple’s App Store. When the download finishes, open the Fitbit app and tap the Join Fitbit panel. Follow the prompts to create an account and pair your Fitbit.

With your account activated, syncing is a straightforward and intuitive process from the Fitbit app home screen. Touch an empty area on the screen, swipe down until you see the “Release to refresh” message, and then lift your finger. Next, you will see a syncing message with the name of your device and a green progress bar. A “Sync Complete!” message displays when the process finishes.

How To Change Time on Fitbit Devices

Syncing your Fitbit matches the device’s time with the smartphone’s time. Your smartphone constantly monitors your location and displays the correct time for all time zones worldwide. If you prefer to lock your device’s time display to a time zone of your choosing, open the Fitbit app and follow these steps:

  • Tap the account icon in the upper left corner.
  • On the Account screen, tap the App Settings menu item; you may need to scroll down to reveal this element.
  • Tap the Time Zone item.
  • Turn off the Set Automatically slider switch. This action will reveal a long list of time zones.
  • Select the time zone that you wish to lock on your device.
  • Tap the Today icon in the bottom row to return to the home screen.
  • Sync your Fitbit with a downward swipe.

Wherever you travel, your Fitbit will display the time of your selected locality until you reenable automatic time zone synchronization with the Set Automatically switch.

If you prefer a 24-hour display on your Fitbit, you will need to log into your Fitbit.com account with a web browser. From the main dashboard, follow these steps:

  • Click or tap the gear icon in the upper right corner, and select the Settings item from the dropdown menu.
  • Select Personal Info from the sidebar panel.
  • Under the Advanced Settings heading, select Clock Display Time.
  • Select the 24-hour radio button.
  • Logout of your Fitbit.com account
  • Sync your device with the Fitbit smartphone app.

How To Reset Fitbit Trackers and Smartwatches

Resetting — often called restarting — your Fitbit device can solve these difficulties:

  • The device will not sync with the Fitbit smartphone app.
  • Steps, heart rate or other data do not update.
  • Notifications fail.
  • Your Fitbit fails to respond to taps, swipes and button presses.
  • GPS-equipped devices cannot find a signal.

These steps will restart Fitbit’s recent devices:

Fitbit Ace 3

With the tracker on your wrist, swipe down to reveal the Settings app, and then open the app with a tap. Press your finger on the Reboot Device menu item for three seconds. If the smiley face does not appear, remove the watch and follow up with these steps:

  • Connect the charging cable to the device and a power source.
  • Press and hold both buttons until the smiley face appears

Fitbit Charge 5 and Luxe Trackers

  • With your finger, swipe the clock screen until the gear icon of the Settings app comes into view.
  • Open the Settings app with a tap, select Restart Device and then tap Restart.

If your tracker remains unresponsive, remove the device and follow these steps:

  • Connect the charging cable to the back of the watch, and attach the cable’s USB connector to a power source.
  • Press the button on the cable's USB end three times, pausing one second between presses.
  • When the Fitbit logo appears, disconnect the cable.

Fitbit Inspire 2

While wearing the device, reset the tracker with these steps:

  • Swipe down on the clock face to reveal the Settings app’s gear icon.
  • Open the Settings app.
  • Press and hold both buttons until you feel a vibration and see a smiley face on the clock screen. This process will take about five seconds.
  • Release both buttons.

Fitbit Sense Smartwatch

Press and hold the button until the Fitbit logo shows, and then release.

Fitbit Versa Series Smartwatches:

Press and hold the back and bottom buttons. When the Fitbit logo appears, release both buttons.

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Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
By Logicfest — On Nov 18, 2014

@Logicfest -- Some of that might start to change if smart watches ever catch on. Conceivably, there is an item that won't use much power and can monitor someone full time.

Then again, you've got to believe that the folks at Fitbit will have an app or something that will work with smart watches if those become popular enough. Those Fitbits generate a good amount of revenue and shareholders will want to preserve that somehow.

If cash can't be made through hardware, looking at software is the next logical step.

By Soulfox — On Nov 17, 2014

@Melonlity -- There are a lot of reasons why someone would want a Fitbit. First and foremost, they do collect more data than a phone app does or can because they are dedicated machines whereas smartphones are not. That Fitbit can monitor users 24 hours a day, but smartphones cannot because they are used for other things.

Also, the Fitbit can run for a very long time without having to be recharged in spite of the fact that it collects data constantly. You are lucky to go a full day without having to charge a smartphone and that is only if the things is idle most of the time.

By Melonlity — On Nov 16, 2014

Aren't there plenty of smartphone apps that do essentially the same things as a Fitbit? It seems there are and that more are on the way because health tracking is a growing field in terms of the next generation of apps.

That being the case, why would anyone need a Fitbit?

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