14 Fitbit App Hacks That Will Take Your Experience to the Next Level

Man looking at his Fitbit App and Fitbit Blaze

How many times a day do you open the Fitbit app? One? Three? Ten? Chances are you’ve developed a routine and feel confident that you know your way around. And that’s great: Research shows that developing healthy habits is key to long-term behavior change. But be careful not to operate on autopilot lest you miss something. In addition to recent Fitbit app upgrades, there may also be some tried-and-true features you’ve yet to discover. Below, 14 of the best.

14 Features Every Fitbit App All-Star Should Know

Watch your stats change in real time. All of your stats update when you sync your Fitbit tracker to your app. But did you know that with most Fitbit trackers you can see your steps, calories, distance, floors, and heart rate change in real time in your app dashboard? While wearing your device, open your app and allow your tracker to sync. Once you can see the connected symbol next to your tracker image take a few steps and watch your stats respond.

Update your food database. Attention die-hard food loggers: Did you know you can change which country’s food database your Fitbit app searches? This can come in handy if you’re traveling to another English-speaking location (or speak the local language) and are having trouble logging packaged or prepared meals. From your dashboard, tap the Account icon, Advanced Settings, and then Food Database. Then choose the country you’ll be logging from. Just don’t forget to change it back when you get home. You can set up a silent alarm or calendar notification as a reminder.

Count every step. With this trick, you won’t have to endure another “stat gap”—dead zones in your daily activity due to forgetting or charging your tracker. As long as you have your phone nearby, you can log into the app, tap or click the Account icon, choose the option for setting up a new device and and then tap the MobileTrack tile at the bottom and follow the setup instructions. MobileTrack uses your phone’s sensors to track basic activity data—including steps, distance, and calories burned. Going forward the Fitbit app will default to MobileTrack until it’s able to reconnect to your tracker.

Bonus hack: If your friends and family don’t have a Fitbit tracker, they can download the Fitbit app and use MobileTrack to rack up stats and compete against you in Challenges.

Force your app to sync. If you have Bluetooth turned on and your tracker is paired to your Fitbit app, it should sync every time you open the app. If you have All-Day sync turned out, it may update periodically throughout the day. However, if you want to see your most recent stats on demand, you can force your app to sync one of two ways. If you’re using an iOS or Android smartphone, the easiest way to initiate a sync is to touch your tracker image at the top of the dashboard and pull down. Or, also from the dashboard, tap the Account icon, tap your tracker tile, and then choose Sync Now. If your device won’t sync to your Fitbit app, a Bluetooth issue is usually the cause. See Why Won’t My Tracker Sync?Fitbit app force sync

Set when your week starts. When tallying your weekly activity, Fitbit follows the calendar, using Sunday as the first day of the week. But, if you want your Fitbit week to start on Monday, that’s an option. From your Fitbit app dashboard, tap the Account icon then scroll down and tap Advanced Settings. From there, choose Start Week On, and pick Monday.

Scroll through stats faster. Want to go back and look at your stats from a prior day? Instead of tapping the grey arrow to the left of your main goal over and over, hold your finger down on it to accelerate the scrolling speed.

Fitbit app sleep stages detailsGo micro. Graphs that show how different metrics—like sleep, steps, and heart rate—change over time are great for spotting trends, but sometimes instead of zooming out you need to zoom in. To do this, choose a stat from your dashboard and then select a specific day. Tap the graph at the top of your screen to expand it. By holding your finger down on the graph you can see the specific time of day associated with each data point. This can be incredibly helpful in identifying exactly when your heart rate spiked or when and for how long you were awake last night.

Select the metric you want to see more information on from the Dashboard, such as steps. This will bring up a summary in a list format of your entire history by day of that particular metric. The graph at the top presets a weekly summary but a further tap on any of the days listed will give you an hourly summary for that day in a graph. You can also hold down on a particular hour to see the information in number format for 15-minute intervals.

Get audio exercise cues. For some added exercise motivation, turn on voice cues. Before starting a run, walk, or hike, tap the stopwatch icon, Cues and then turn on Play During Exercise. Next, choose which updates you want—options are: distance, time, average pace, split pace, and calories burned—and how often you want to get them—based on either time or distance. For instance, if you want your Fitbit app to tell you what your average pace is every mile, you’d make sure Average Pace is checked off under Cues and that 1.0 mi is chosen under Frequency.

Capture your commute. If you own a Fitbit tracker with SmartTrack and walk to the bus stop every morning, ride your bike to work, or just tend be active in short bursts throughout the day, you can adjust your settings so that you get credit for each exercise. Go into your exercise settings (tap the exercise tile on your dashboard and then the gear icon at the top right), find the exercise(s) of your choice and lower the default time setting so that your tracker will log the activity as an exercise anytime you do it for at least 10 minutes.

Edit exercise details. Workout summary not quite right? Don’t let the error annoy you. Just tap the tile associated with that specific workout. From there you can tap Categorize Exercise to change how the exercise was logged (for example, as an outdoor bike ride instead of a run). If you use iOS or Windows 10, you can also edit start and end times, distance covered, and calories burned by tapping the three dots at the top right of the expanded exercise summary.

Personalize your profile. With the launch of Community, comes the ability to customize your profile page. In addition to your photo, you can also add a username, short bio, and cover photo. To access these settings, tap the gear icon at the top of your profile.

Control what you share. From your new profile page, you can also now easily access your privacy settings. Tap the tile to set your personal stats as Public, Private, or available only to Friends. To update which graphs (calorie intake, sleep, steps, etc.) are visible from your web dashboard, select the Personal Stats tile and adjust each graph tile separately.

Brag about an exercise accomplishment. Hopefully you’re aware that you can share your dashboard, but did you know that you can also celebrate an awesome workout? Click on the specific workout tile and then select the share icon at the top of the screen. From there you can choose a background (heart rate or impact stats), take a photo, or select one from your library. When you’re happy, tap Share to upload your pic to the Fitbit community or another social network of your choice.

Fitbit app exercise sharing screen

Set your stride length. Fitbit estimates your stride using your height and gender (or by evaluating any runs done using connected GPS). Having an accurate stride length is important because Fitbit trackers calculate distance by multiplying your stride length by the number of steps you take. To find out your walking (or running) stride length, you can manually measure it. Go to a track or another area where you can mark off a set distance. Count your steps as you walk across that distance, making sure you take at least 20 steps. Your stride length is equal to the distance you traveled (in feet) divided by the number of steps you took.

If your stride length is different from your Fitbit estimate, update your settings. From the Fitbit app dashboard, tap the Account icon, then Advanced Settings, then Stride Length.

Next: 7 Ways to Win Any Step Challenge—Plus Two Tactics That Won’t Work

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  • My last weekly report shows about 3000 steps LESS than when I add up the daily reports. How can this be? I am 80 years old and am very proud that I had over 10,000 steps each day of the weekly then see that the true total did not appear in my weekly report.

  • I do water aerobics three times a week. As I cannot wear my fit bit into the water, is there any way I can manually estimate the impact of this exercise and add it to my summary?

    • Hey William! Click the “weekly exercise” tile (it may say “track your exercise”), then click the stopwatch icon in the top-right corner. Select “log previous”, then enter “water aerobics” in the “exercise type” field. Choose a start time and duration, then click the “log it” button! 🙂

    • Hey Michael! You can track rowing. Click the “weekly exercise” tile (it may say “track your exercise”), then click the stopwatch icon in the top-right corner. Select “log previous”, then enter “rowing” in the “exercise type” field. Choose a start time and duration, then click the “log it” button! 🙂

    • I would like to see all the new settings configurable and to not be forced where I don’t want to go. For example, when I click on Community I want to see my friends and the app redirects me every time to feed. It is a time waster and making me consider leaving Fitbit.

  • With the mobile track, does the Fitbit supersede the mobile track? I don’t want to double dip steps, just don’t want to miss any either. Right now I have 2 devices syncing (my phone plus the Fitbit) – do they sync against each other?

    Thanks

  • As noted above, Mobile Tracker doesn’t seem to be available on my Android device (I love the idea… was disappointed it wasn’t there).

  • I swim three times a week and my Fitbit Charge does not allow me to enter the workout. I would think you should be able to add any kind of workout and not just the ones that are standard

    • You can get a Fitbit that is swim proof. It is called a Fitbit flex 2. It tracks swimming. But I don’t know what to do

  • Where/how can I enable to exercise cues? I have the charge 2, but if I tap on the stop watch it just bounces and makes no change.

    “For some added exercise motivation, turn on voice cues. Before starting a run, walk, or hike, tap the stopwatch icon**, Cues and then turn on Play During Exercise. ”

    **On the fitbit, mobile app or website?

  • This doesn’t work for me as I mostly walk in super market (pushing a cart) and it won’t record steps if my arm isn’t swinging. I can sit in a chair and move arms and legs and it records steps.

    • I found I had the same problem, my solution was to put my fitbit in my trouser pocket. Could that be a solution for you, too?

  • Here’s another way to measure stride length without the 20 steps and averaging with the math. All you need is a way to leave a (temporary) mark of your steps. I wet my feet and then both walked and ran across my exercise mat, which left perfect footprints for me to measure. Did a few times and the exact measure came up each time! No averaging necessary.

    You could do this on the beach as well, in the firm sand close to the waterline. We’ve all seen our perfect footprints preserved. Only takes 10 seconds to measure the distance so the waves won’t wash it away, either.

    Alternatively to my wet feet method, you could (lightly) dust your feet with talcum or foot powder (flower, cornstarch would also work) and walk/run across a surface with enough color contrast to see the print. Use your powder sparingly since you don’t need a heavy mark and it will be easier to clean up…

    If you’re in Miami and want other great fitness hacks and tips, I can be found at http://trainershawn.com

  • I do not have the option in Advanced Settings to change the “start week on” in my Android App. Why is this?

  • Hey, I’ve got an idea for a hack. Let your users choose whether they want to use the old dashboard instead of the hideous, dysfunctional new dashboard.

    Your hack to scroll to prior days is useless with the new dashboard, since only the step count changes from day to day. The rest of the dashboard stays stuck on today.

    And instead of forcing me to use my phone to track data, instead of using the Fitbit I paid for, how about letting us sync the phone and the device even when we don’t have a data connection?

  • Tried your “Count Every Step” suggestion. But when I open my app and go to add device there is no “Mobile Tracker Tile”. Can you enlighten me as to what I am doing wrong? My FitBit is a Charge HR Firmware 18.122.

  • It would be nice if you called out which of these tips can be used on which trackers/apps. Can’t use MobileTrack with my Android app. :/

  • I just wasted a lot of time looking for Mobile Track, voice cues and changing the start day of the week on the app. None of these show on the Android app. In the future please specify which operating systems these work on.

  • When will the sleep stats be restored to how they were before they were broken about a month ago? I sure miss the sleep efficiency % and being able to identify the time of night when data was logged. Apparently the stats were dumbed down to match the mobile app. I dont wear my Charge HR at night anymore. Went back to the old FitBit One.

  • Very informative, however I was wondering if there is a way to get food log from WW app to sync with Fitbit app

  • I am 63 and love my Fitbit (AltaHR and Flex2) but I have physical challenges Rhuematoid arthritis mainly. I would love to see Fitbit acknowledge seniors with some Fitstar activities, blogs or a senior “community”. AARP mentioned they have contacted Fitbit about doing something but sometimes it is a downer for me to see the only posts are from young presumably “fit” users. Fitbit is a great tool for seniors. Promote it!!

  • I Surf regularly how can I record this as it looks like I do no exercise at all? I have a Blaze so I cannot take it in the water.

  • My heart rate is no longer being recorded, all other areas (sleep and steps) are being registered OK

    Is there a simple,solution

  • Will the Fitbit 2 be able to track bike riding anytime soon? Would love to be able to use the GPS on my phone to see how long my rides are.

  • Thank you for this information! Fitbit doesn’t track all of my time and steps on elliptical. Up until now I felt a little cheated. Thanks to your article, I can take a picture of ending stats on elliptical and edit Fitbit stats on my phone.

    Thanks also for other info in article. Love that I can track with phone when I’m charging Fitbit! Didn’t know that. Thanks!!!!!

  • My workout does not show up on my dashboard. It appears the workout summary is not linked to the tracker itself on the blaze. Why is this so? Seems to defeat the whole purpose!!

  • I have no clue how to do most of this stuff, and reading that it doesn’t actually work is a clue to not waste my time reading Fitbit posts.

  • Hello, lm an overweight mother to a Disability child, unfortunately lm not in a position to purchase the new fitbit but l make do with the one l have & adore the zany colours!
    I suffer with diagnosed mental health issues, osteoarthritis & now they are also looking into rheumatoid arthritis & to top it off fibro myalgia.
    It’s just myself & my 8yr old who has ADHD & Intellectual Disability. We dont have much and my car has recently died but even through all the negatives my daughter finds a silver lining i.e she has requestrd her onn fitbit, but with my position being as it is then maybe for Christmas!! LOL
    Im curious as to how the fitbit operates under water as l cant go anywhere without mine but a few more colour choices would be fantastic, even a pearlescent with slight shimmer or even a statement piece with with an array of crystals!! I look forward to hearing back from you soon

  • Can’t change the starting day of the week on Android app. Can’t set up mobile track either on Android. Why not?

  • How come my Fitbit doesn’t provide an option for my heart rate? I’ve tried many different ways and it still hasn’t worked, what’s wrong?

  • Very helpful information – thank you.

    My biggest challenge/frustration is syncing my exercise from My Fitness Pal to my FitBit – a lot of the exercises I do are not listed in My Fitness Pal – paddleboard yoga, peddleboard yoga, spin cycling, etc. – yet I want credit for them.

    Help!

  • There is no “Mobile Track” option in the Android app as described above. Is this only available in the iOS app? It would have been nice if the article above and mentioned this.

  • About 2 weeks after I started started using the fitbit I also installed on prone. I lost all data for the first 2 weeks. I do not want to lose the last 4 months but it would be nice to show my Doctor my progress. Recovering from transplant.

  • My Blaze is not providing accurate heart bpm readings. What can I do to correct this problem. I am a heart patient and it is imperative that I have accurate readings, especially during exercises. Can anyone recommend corrective action?

  • My husband gave me a fit bit blaze for our 41st anniversary . I love it, but, I’m a water aerobics instructor and a spin cycle instructor. The blaze isn’t really a good fit for these activities . Do you have any suggestions?

  • Any hacks for spin class? I wear my FitBit on my ankle (just bare fits) and the HR and calorie burn rates are pretty accurate but the step count is pitiful. Any ideas?

  • My Fitbit One gives of crazy high RF signal that I measured with my meter. Can not disable Bluetooth. This radiofrequency is harmful to my health as I have it on all day. Not good 🙁

  • I have a Charge 2 and would like to get notifications while running when my heart rate exceeds a certain level. How can I do it, or is there a 3rd party app for my Iphone I can use?

  • I don’t understand why I can ride my bike for 12 miles and my Fitbit only shows 200 to 3000 steps and only 2 -3 miles traveled.
    Do I need a different app ?

  • that was actually really helpful and I made some setting changes I was not aware of … thank you so much!! Love my Fitbit

  • I just received my Fitbit but the steps are not accurate. I get steps just sitting and knitting or doing nothing. I am 71 and told my daughter I wanted to get fit so she gave me it. I need help with figuring out the step correctness. The sleep and food log I feel are working. Thanks

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  • Hey there, im doing some remote trekking for 5 days and without wifi. Is there a way to sync fitbit with my tablet without wifi?

  • J’ai un Fitbit charge 2 que l’on m’a offert
    Il ne marque pas la même distance pour le même parcours quand je vais courir pourquoi quelle est la solution

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