Problems with FitBit and Android Phones: What to do When They Don’t Get Along

fitbit

Even the popular kid has problems. With the leading market share in wearables per Fortune Magazine, you might expect FitBit to have a better handle on its issues with Android—another popular kid with majority share (Strategy Analytics). For awhile it seemed that FitBit was the kid who forgot when his/or her Marshmallow update was due. But even though things have improved, some problems still linger.

Some have also expressed their discontent regarding the lack of good support for FitBit/Android troubles in FitBit’s own support forums. This article is intended to help however possible from the standpoint of being an Android owner. Certain things, however, require a two-way street, and there are some things that are simply incompatible or unavailable now.

We will focus on what can be done and acknowledge what can’t, with the hope that it will be fixed soon. That’s life, sometimes.


FitBit Requirements

According to Fitbit Support, most problems stem from requirements not being met, so let’s start out with what those requirements are. One of the big ones is that your Android device must be supported by FitBit. Depending on the device, you may or may not have access to certain features. Enter the name of your Android on FitBit’s site to find out more.

A prominent issue with FitBit’s syncing ability on Marshmallow is that Location Services must be turned on. And the tricky thing about Marshmallow is that sometimes permissions must be turned on individually. Go to Settings > Apps > FitBit app > Permissions. Enable Location.

fitbit-permissions


FitBit says that it does not track your location unless you are recording an exercise or activity with GPS. The option is necessary to perform Bluetooth services that sync your tracker and Android. Location Services may be turned off automatically, however, if you use Power Saving Mode, aka Battery Saver.

Also, remember that tracker syncing is relying on Bluetooth, so if you aren’t receiving notifications from your Android, it could be because the FitBit isn’t within 20 feet of the device.

Another reason you might not receive notifications or similar services is if you haven’t set up the feature yet, or if it isn’t available for your type of Android—for example, Windows Mobile devices. Also, some FitBit trackers don’t offer any notification feature, and many support only certain types of notifications.

For more information, check out this table on types of notifications by device. For instance, call notifications are simply not an option if your Android is running 7.1 or 7.1.1 and you are using Charge or Charge HR. Stipulations abound.

battery-saver


1. Setup and Sync Issues

Before you get started tracking your fitness and nutrition trends, history, or challenge any of your friends, you must first connect your Fitbit to your Android or PC and go through setup. If your Android isn’t set up correctly, it can’t exchange data with your FitBit, and vice versa.

Even if you did set it up correctly, it might just need a little extra help. Here are some solutions to get you and your tracker going. This is one of the biggest problems with FitBit and Android phones: let’s try to make them get along.

Solutions:

Restart Tracker

Turn the tracker off and back on again. This can help it to start syncing again, as well as be more responsive. You can reset it by plugging it into your desktop pressing the button on the cord three times in rapid succession.

blaze-tracker

Ensure Bluetooth is On

Go to Settings > Connections > Bluetooth.

bluetooth-menu

Follow ALL Instructions on FitBit App Setup

Make sure that you downloaded the FitBit app for your device. You must set up an account; it isn’t optional.

fitbit-setup

Check GPS Availability for FitBit Blaze

Search for your device here. If you don’t find your device here, you won’t be able to sync your stats using GPS. The good news is that FitBit is not done adding this functionality to more devices, so it could be coming.

specific-device

Turn Off Power Saving Mode

If Power Saving Mode is on because your battery is low, get it charged so that you can turn it back off. It will interfere with Bluetooth and other services.

Update App

Long texts have long been clipped, but an update for the Charge 2 places the message in front of the contact and informs you if you have multiple notifications.

Turn Off/On Background Sync

Turn off Background Sync that is if you want better battery life. On the Charge, you would use the left-hand Navigation menu to select Devices > Charge. Keep in mind that without Background Sync, the only time your device will sync is when you launch the app.

Also, make sure that your tracker has an adequate battery as this could affect its ability to sync. Turn on the Always Connected option (you may also be able to get there by double-tapping the Tracker tile) to improve the connection.

sync-off

Contact Support about Missing Syncing Options

You should also contact customer support if any of your syncing troubles continue, especially after you have tried basic troubleshooting. Be sure to mention any specific problems in the body of your email.

Go Through the Setup Process Again

Reset your FitBit, reboot your Android, and try adding a new device.

setup-blaze

Update Android Software

Be sure to backup your data before you do any system before you do any system update. Then go to Settings > About Device > System Update to see if one is available.

software-update

Eliminate Bluetooth Interference

Distance your device from other that use Bluetooth, or turn it off on those devices.

Uninstall and Reinstall FitBit App

Must Read: 20 Android Apps to Keep Your Body Fit

Check Internet Connection

Make sure you are connected to Wi-Fi or have a data connection on your Android.  

wifi


Problem 2: Bluetooth Confusion

There seems to be a lot of confusion and problems revolving around the Android Bluetooth aspect alone, so let’s talk about it a little bit more in depth. Don’t be alarmed if your FitBit doesn’t connect to your Android via Bluetooth pairing, because it’s the Fitbit app itself that contains Bluetooth functionality.

There can still be problems with that functionality, however, that we are going to address. Bluetooth problems between FitBit and Android come up again and again: make them get along.

Solutions:

Turn Locations On

This is mandatory for Bluetooth to function in Marshmallow, and Bluetooth is necessary for syncing to function between FitBit and Android.

location-services

Confirm Your Android Has BLE

The tracker relies on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to sync. If your Android doesn’t offer it, you aren’t going to be syncing between FitBit and Android. Even if you have partial BLE functionality, such as a BLE radio only with no software support or software bugs that cause Bluetooth problems, your devices probably aren’t going to sync. If you have questions about compatibility and support in this area, search for your device on FitBit’s website to learn more.

Follow FitBit App Setup Instructions

Open the Fitbit app itself and follow its instructions for setup. You can’t set up your tracker from Android’s Bluetooth screen. It must be done from the app.

Reset FitBit

Turn your FitBit off and back on again.

Ensure Bluetooth Setting is On

Go to Settings > Connections > Bluetooth and check to make sure it’s toggled on.

Reset Bluetooth

Select your device from the Bluetooth screen and choose Forget. Press your Android again and reconnect. If necessary, go back into the FitBit app and select Sync Now.

forget-device

For the Blaze & Surge: Understand Classic vs Low Energy Bluetooth

Low Energy (or LE) is necessary for syncing and receiving notifications on your FitBit, whereas Classic is only necessary for music control. LE needs are taken care of by the FitBit app, but Classic is paired on the Android’s Bluetooth settings.


Problem 3: Notifications

There are a ton of complaints about notifications from Android to FitBit. Keep in mind that some devices don’t receive notifications or only certain notifications from Android. It’s possible that intermittent problems with notifications being missed could be due to bad timing—the tracker syncing at the same time the notification is being sent. Even if you are using a tracker device that can receive notifications, it’s not likely that your FitBit will rival your smartwatch in this area.

Solutions:

Ensure Notifications are Enabled

On your tracker, go to Notifications and set them to On. On your Android, first, ensure that Bluetooth is enabled. If you are using 5.0 or later, you also might want to configure default SMS and calendar apps. In the FitBit app, go to Account > Notifications and check the box next to FitBit Notification Service. Tap OK.

account

Keep Your Android Close

Your tracker should be within 6 meters or 20 feet of your Android.

Make Sure Bluetooth is Enabled on FitBit App

Go to the App Dashboard and tap on the menu. Choose Devices and there should be a checkmark by Bluetooth.

devices

Update FitBit App

Check to make sure you are running the latest version of the app.

Disconnect Other Bluetooth Connections

For some reason, your FitBit tracker is the jealous sort. It can be negatively influenced by your Android trying to manage multiple Bluetooth connections.

For FitBit Blaze: Enable Email and Third-Party App Notifications

Go to Email and select the app of your choice. Then go to App Notifications and enable any notifications you would like to hear from.

Flash Stock ROM (Only Necessary for Devices with Custom ROMs)

Notifications may not work on a custom ROM.

Update Android Firmware

Check to see if any updates for the operating system are available.


Problem 4: Error Messages

Error messages alert you that something is wrong, but rarely tell you how to fix it. They let you know there’s a problem between FitBit and Android, but don’t tell you how to make them get along.  It’s possible to read and search for way too long before you come across a solution, so we have assembled a collection here.

Solutions:

Error Message: Tracker Not Found

Turn off your Android. Don’t restart it; leave it off for a minute. Reset your tracker. Now turn your phone on. Launch the FitBit app and tap Sync Now.

tracker-found

Error Message: No Network Connection

This message is misleading. It’s caused by a mismatch between the device’s time and the local/network time more than five minutes. The fix is to make these times match each other.

no-network

Error Message: Tracker Setup Not Working

Remove the FitBit app from your Android and reboot the device. Reinstall the app. Launch the FitBit app and proceed to add a new tracker, but before you do that, plug your tracker into a PC and reset it. Then conduct the search for your tracker on Android.

Error Message: Trouble Connecting to FitBit.com

Restart both your tracker and your Android. Check to ensure that you are running the latest version of the Fitbit app. Rule out any problems with your Internet connection. And if all else fails, set things up once more and restart the device.

Error Message: Failed to Enable Notifications

Ensure that the Do Not Disturb setting is turned off on your Android and also try the solutions listed under Problem 3 above.

Error Message: Bluetooth Pairing Required

Restart your tracker and log out of the FitBit app. Turn off Bluetooth on your Android and restart the device. Turn Bluetooth back on and turn it off for all other devices. Log into the FitBit app again and attempt setup.


Conclusion

It would probably benefit you much more to spend your time actually exercising rather than troubleshooting the relationship between your FitBit and Android. Hopefully, this will help you do just that. If not, please post a comment, and we will help you.

We also have articles for basic troubleshooting of Android phones, as well as most specific models. If you have a serious problem, especially involving hardware, the best solution might be to contact FitBit support or the manufacturer or retailer for your Android.

Do you have FitBit troubleshooting advice? Send us your thoughts.

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