12 Not-So-Obvious Things to Know About Your Fitbit Tracker

Woman looking at her Fitbit Charge 2.

If you were fortunate enough to activate a new Fitbit tracker over the holidays, welcome! Chances are you’re still getting to know your device, and that’s ok. Creating a Fitbit account opens you up to such a wealth of healthy things to do, track, and share that it can take a bit to get yourself fully acquainted. So here’s a little Fitbit help—12 subtle features you won’t want to miss.

HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR FITBIT EXPERIENCE

Create goals. Most Fitbit trackers allow you to set and adjust daily goal—such as activity, exercise, weight, hydration, food, and sleep targets— at anytime straight from your app [How to set goals]. Your daily progress towards these benchmarks can been seen on your dashboard. With certain devices, you can also set a “main goal”, which programs your tracker to alert you via lights and/or vibrations when you hit it. To see if your device has this capability, click on the “Account” icon in your Fitbit app, choose the device you’re using, click on “Main Goal” and choose one.

Customize your dashboard. The quick-glance tiles on your Fitbit dashboard aren’t set in stone. You can add, delete, edit and rearrange them from your app and fitbit.com so they best support your needs and goals.

Manually log activities. If you currently use a Fitbit One, Zip, Flex, or Charge, which don’t offer SmartTrack, or you’re doing an exercise that doesn’t require steps (indoor cycling, the elliptical) or involves complex, step-based movements (like tennis), manually logging the activity can improve the accuracy of this activity’s contribution to your caloric burn. It’s also a great option on days you forget your tracker at home. Here’s how to use manual tracking, as well as edit or delete automatic entries.

Get competitive. Want to compete against others? Create a group on fitbit.com and add friends. From there you can view the leaderboard to see how you rank against other members and have discussions. If your friends list is feeling thin, don’t worry: Soon you’ll be able to find other like-minded people through in-app groups.

Dive deep into your data. The detail screen you’re brought to when you click on a dashboard tile isn’t static either. For many, you can scroll through the top panel to see more data analysis and even get one-week, one-month, three-month, and one-year averages. You may also be able to click on the day-by-day stats that make up the rest of the screen to further investigate a specific day. This is where you can find information like sleep quality, your longest stationary period, how much time you spent in each heart rate zone, and more.

Share pictures. Have you ever seen someone share on social media cool pictures of their workout or screenshots of their dashboard, badges, or other accomplishments? You can do that, too—and straight from your Fitbit app! Here’s how to share your exercise, stats and accomplishments, Adventure landmarks, challenge results, and badges. Later this month sharing gets even easier with the launch of Fitbit Community.  

Improve battery life. How long your tracker’s battery lasts depends on which device you have, your usage and settings, and other factors. Look up your device to learn specific ways that may help extend its battery life.

Set a bedtime reminder. Hopefully you’ve taken advantage of your ability to set a sleep schedule, but how about a bedtime reminder? Scheduling an alert that prompts you to start unwinding 30 minutes before your bedtime target can help you maintain a consistent sleep schedule, which experts say may benefit your health.

Log naps. If your tracker automatically detects sleep (all wrist-based Fitbit trackers do), then any nap you take that lasts longer than an hour will be saved in your sleep history. For anything shorter, you’ll need to manually log your sleep.

Wake up with a silent alarm. A gentler, more partner-friendly way to start the morning actually exists. Learn how to set a silent alarm that wakes you with vibrations, and then discover 13 other ways silent alarms can be helpful—you can set up to eight on every Fitbit tracker except Zip!

Request a weekly progress report. Curious how you’re doing or want to make sure you’re tracking towards your goals? You can opt into getting a weekly summary—that includes weekly totals, daily averages, badges earned, comparisons with friends, and more—within your notifications.

Sync with other apps. Do you ride with Peloton, sweat with Fitstar, stay organized with Amazon Alexa, or train your brain with Lumosity? These apps, and many more, can sync with your Fitbit account for easy data sharing. Take a look at all the apps currently compatible.

More Fitbit Tips:
4 Creative Ways to Use the Charge 2 Interval Timer
Get a Clear Snapshot of Your Fitness With the New Fitbit Cardio Fitness Level
Join Fitbit on an Adventure in Yosemite National Park

129 Comments   Join the Conversation

129 CommentsLeave a comment

    • Thank you for the article. It was helpful in founding out what else I can do with my new fitbit. I have been cycling for exercise for several months now and I believe the fitbit will help me reach more goals.

  • Received a Fitbit for a gift. The band is impossible to put on. I heard of ppl putting them on their bras instead of fighting to try to close it on their wrist. Any ideas please? I’m not a spring chicken…..

    • I feel your pain. If my Alta tracked the frustration of putting it on it would be off the charts. I generally give up and have my husband put it on me like I’m a child. Why can’t it have a watch band type of closure?

      • I recently lost my fitbit when it fell off my wrist and when I bought a new fitbit flex, I immediately went on Amazon and bought the replacement bands that were watch style.

      • I had the same problem with my band. I read that someone put baby oil on the “snap” part of it to help it pop in and out better. I tried it and it worked. Hope that helps!

      • I leave my band on n I take the tracker out to charge 2x’s a week. You can shower m swim with band so no need to remove it just practice taking the tracker out of band not difficult

      • I purchased TWO of the BEST bands for the Fitbit Alta on Amazon; together they cost 25.00; absolutely the BEST bands; don’t fret.

        • Bruce. That was not a helpful comment. Please be more constructive.
          Or a bit less sarcastic if you can manage it.

    • Jumping on this thread a bit late, but I purchased a 3rd watch style band on Amazon for about $11 and it’s fantastic. Same material, but I don’t have to worry about losing it. Also purchased an ankle style holder for when I want a change up from Etsy, about $9.00. So ridiculously comfortable, I forget I’m wearing it sometimes!

    • I had the same problem with mine. Please google and you will see a lot of hints on how to make the holes bigger so you can fasten the bracelet. I used Vaseline and a crochet hook and was able stretch mine out. Hope this help.

    • I have the same problem, with my arthritic hand/fingers. I have to close it (loosely) off of my wrist, then pull it over my hand. Fitbit should come up with an easier way of putting on a Fitbit. Beside, my band always comes off (near the unit) during the night. I will find the Fitbit and part of my wrist band in my bed in the morning. In my opinion, this is a flaw and should be addressed.

    • I would contact the Fitbit warranty phone number 1-877-623-4997 and tell them about the band and they will probably send you a new band.

    • Call FITBIT warranty phone number 1-877-623-4997 tell them about the band they will probably sent you another band.

    • I’m not a “spring chicken” either–78! I originally bought a large band and would pre-fasten it then wedge it over my hand–a bit painful at times! I finally decided to order additional bands and got small which I found I could fasten on my wrist. Something about there being less length to try to keep in alignment while pressing the band to fasten that has worked for me.

    • Go onto amazon and purchase a non-Fitbit brand watch strap. They have many colors and they work like a traditional watch. They range from $10-20 typically. I just bought a genuine leather one for $12. My Fitbit flew off a couple of times within the year that I have owned it but not now.

    • As I dislike plastic bands anyway, I bought the metal mesh band with the magnetic clasp. Well worth a $15 investment, and cooler, as well as relatively easy to fasten.

    • If you put the Fitbit into your pocket, it will log steps on treadmill. It may not be totally accurate, but you do get some credit for treadmill work.

    • When your on a treadmill it is counting your steps! Also it will log your exercise time provided you walk over ten minutes.

    • go on Amazon and look at the many beautiful watch type bands. They are very inexpensive. I love mine…I got a silver and a rose gold. Very easy to change.

  • I cannot seem to get my Fitbit charge 2 to keep track of my bicycle routes, distance, and information regarding calories burned etc. How does this work?

    Also it doesn’t seem to keep track of my steps when I am grocery shopping at Costco or Sams which takes a while and at least 2 miles walking. Very frustrating.

    • I’ve noticed that too. I think with your hand on the cart handle – it doesn’t detect your steps. Frustrating but if you remember to hold the cart handle with the other hand you will accumulate steps.

    • The Charge 2, like every other wrist worn Fitbit, doesn’t actually count steps at all. It counts arm motion while you walk. If your arm isn’t moving, because it’s on a bicycle handlebar, or a shopping cart, it won’t count anything. You might be able to resolve the bicycle problem with the GPS settings — not sure. The only way to solve the shopping cart issue it to push it with one hand.

    • If you put the Fitbit into your pocket, it will log steps on treadmill. It may not be totally accurate, but you do get some credit for treadmill work.

    • Discovered the lack of tracking while shopping too. Realized the FitBit does not count steps when you are pushing a cart at Costco, grocery store, or Target because both hands are in the cart. Our FitBit arm must move to get credit for steps!
      Same principle applies when walking up stairs… can’t carry anything in arms (laundry, books, baby)…. arm must swing. Hope this helps. Here’s to steppin’!

    • I also had trouble and then it came apart? Ordered watch bands from Amazon a lot of selections and really not costly.

    • It seems to me that if you are pushing a cart or walking with a cane using the same side the Fitbit is on, it doesn’t track your steps because you are not swinging your arm. I find this frustrating too.

    • I had the same problem of FitBit not counting steps when visiting big box stores. Then I realized I was always pushing a cart. FitBit not count steps unless arms are fully engaged.
      Solution: not use a cart -or- push cart one handed!
      Also realized FitBit not count stairs if you are carrying something in your arms (laundry, baby, books etc).
      Solution: carry items with non-FitBit wearing wrist.
      Hope this helps 🙂

    • About your shopping – Fitbit doesn’t count steps if you have both hands on a grocery cart. I steer my cart with my non-Fitbit hand and swing the Fitbit hand like I would normally when walking. This is difficult if I get one of those carts with a bad wheel! Hope this is helpful,
      Louise

  • Are you supposed to calibrate your fitbit. I have the fitbit HR and when I compare steps on the fitbit and I-pod suffle they are never the same. Also, the mileage on fitbit is way less than map my run. Thank you, Debbie

  • The suggestion to manually log activities looks quite cynical, as FitBit removed capability to Edit activities and ignore users request to return it for two years.

  • Is there somewhere where I can download a manual for my Charge 2? I’d like to learn more about the hiking setting and syncing with GPS on my phone.

  • I am pre diabetic. …every few days I check my numbers….was hoping to find a way that my Altamore could also track as I do my food……..can you help..

  • Would be nice if there was an update as to program modifications or OS updates. There are an awful lot of people out there not happy with the fact that when worn on the LEFT wrist one has to REACH across the dial to get info. Just how hard would it be to modify the OS so that the Charge 2 can be read with the button on the other side??

    I bought mine, not a gift but Garmin is looking better each day.

  • Love the product, I log everything to the point that I feel like I have turned myself into a spreadsheet BUT the apps recent bugs on adding calories correctly is driving me nuts… Hope you guys fix this soon and also add macro tracking to the app, that is a big miss right now.

  • Susie, I have discovered that pushing a cart does not seem to detect the steps. I put mine in my pocket or push the cart with the hand that doesn’t have my fitbit on it.

  • March 17th 2017
    Hello Fibit people , my daughter gave the watch to me for a gift , love it tells me when to get ready for bed and wakes me up gently in the morning , I started eating differently when I got it at x-mas and have lost 15 lbs , feel good when it tells me I hit the 10,000 step mark each day, enjoying it.

  • I can not get my Fitbit Blaze to reset ! I have tried everything…… any suggestions? It will not sync with my Iphone either ??

  • I have a fitbit.com blaze received it for xmas,it use to log my sleep first when I got it,since Feb it stopped logging my sleep,it also stopped receiving email.
    Any suggestions? ?

  • I was excited that the fitbit would work with my windows phone. I was so disappointed to learn that the fitbit alta I bought won’t work on a Windows phone. I almost returned it since it wouldn’t work on my MAC computer either. Then I tried it on my Kindle Fire and I was able to download the app. Very annoying and frustrating!

  • When we changed our clocks to daylight savings time my fitbit did not. Right now it states it is March 16, and it is March 17. Also it shows the time as 12:20pm and it is 4:37pm. How do I change these two things?

  • I would like to see different adventures. Love the Yosemite ones but can only do them so many times. Any chance new ones will be coming?

  • I had a Up Band by Jawbone for many years and find that the Charge 2 tracks about 30% MORE steps per day that my previous band. In fact, for the first week of having the new Charge 2, I wore BOTH bands and I consistently found that the Fitbit band showed 30% more steps than my previous tracker. This was quite difficult to comprehend and I think my previous band was much more accurate than the fitbit. Is there anyway to determine if this new band is accurately tracking my steps?

  • We have an intense competition in our family 8 of us on daily challenges. I love to cycle but even though it takes more effort than walking I get very few steps compared. Is there a way to adjust? I have a blaze, and can put it on cycling and get more versus not choosing an exercise but still not enough for the effort and WINNING my daily challenge.

  • The Fit bit charge 2 is a great motivator,
    I know that nothing in life is perfect, but
    nevertheless, it does stimulate me to break
    all my goals, and to try even harder, to stay as fit
    as I can be, I am not a twenty year old anymore,
    but, there is no age limit, on any of us, to be the healthiest,
    and the best we can be.
    best investment I ever made. LOL..

  • Every morning before putting on my fitbit it says that I’ve used 360 calories. Why does it not start at 0. I usually go to bed before midnight so it’s not counting at night.

  • Hi I love my fitbit one. I have had it for a long time. All fields work however the time is not syncing. I will have a nice day of steps and then it resets because the time might say it is 4:00am and it starts over.

  • Any idea when the Fitbit app will display heart rate peaks and lows according to the Charge 2 display, or when it will assess resting BPM with any degree of accuracy?

    I m looking at a logged cycling “Exercise” with a peak rate of 166 BPM yet the “Heart Rate” shows a peak of 138 BMP for the same time frame. As I type my heart rate is 67 BPM, (typical morning at rest reading) yet the app displays 80+ BMP resting heart rate consistantly. The Charge 2 is reading the rates with good accuracy and I think it’s a great little appliance, but the app developers appear to have no idea what they are doing with the data. Can I export the real data?

  • I work from home in front of a computer. Is there any way to set the Charge to vibrate every 30 or 45 minutes to remind me to get up and walk a minute or 2?

  • I have an unanswered question. I work odd hours. How can I set the move everything hour feature for a 24 hour schedule?

  • My fit bit is a large dissapointment: it cannot evend keep accurate time-zone specific time.
    The material it is made from is inferior, falling apart after one year.
    Etc. Etc. Etc…

  • My favorite FitBit feature is the Yosemite and NYC Marathon Adventures. I did them over and over when they appeared. I’ve been waiting months for more National Park adventures…please! 🙂

  • My husband bought me a Fitbit on my 17th anniversary! January 27th 2017. I’ve been stepping 8000 steps per day and 200 leg rolls.I love when the Sparks glow on my fit bit2 when i hit the 8 thousand steps.Thank you,Stella. Today is March 17th, 2017.

  • My tracker is mistakes riding on planes as climbing stairs. It messes my exercise data and give me false rewards for things I have not accomplished. I hope you could do something about this.

  • HI
    my fitbit app doesn’t show dashboard except notification screen. whenever i click arrow to show dashboard it minimizes. I use android 6 on lYF water 11 mobile. Please suggest.

  • I have a blaze Fitbit. I would really like the Cardio Fitness on my Blaze Fitbit, but it says it’s only available for the Charge 2…..Is their going to be an update we can do shortly to get this feature on the Blaze. ?

  • After almost two years of ownership, this is the worst device I have ever owned. Posted a two page rant last year pointing out just how wrong the whole experience is. My advice, short the stock!, just read the comments of others above. The defence rests !

  • I received a charge hr for my birthday, it only lasted 7 months they sent me a refurbished one that lasted 9 months before it fell apart, and then said my warranty was up. What a waste

  • bjotangia@yahoo.ca

    I have already have created an account but on my mobile asking to create the account which I do not want to create new one. please rectify and advice accordingly.

    thanks.

    regards.

    Balwant Jotangia

  • I am having trouble with my Charge 2 recording my sleep. I have tried recharging my Fitbit, and syncing it again. What can I do?

  • This Fit bit is so hard to put on. There must be a better way.

    I’m sorry but I don’t have the time to enter and keep up with all the data. I do try to have some kind of a life

  • I have been using my Fitbit One since 2012. I had to replace it because it was wearing out but got another. I looked at the list of compatible apps. You didn’t include Higi. I have my Fitbit activity tied into that app, too. Great article for those who are new to Fitbit.

  • I have fitbit charge 2 does it let me know who is calling on my phone by posting the number? My old charge did, but this one does not seem to. ? Is there something I need to do.?

  • Received my Fitbit HR as a gift and loved it while it worked. I played golf with it and it quit after about 3 months. Are they unable to withstand shock? Very disappointed in its reliability.

  • This article about the 13 things to know about your tracker was extremely helpful! Thank you sooo much! I’ve been quite pleased with my Flex, but now I have even more to be happy about!

  • I hiked in Sedona, AZ for over 5 miles and my Fitbit Flex 2 only indicated 29 minutes of activity. Also, my water aerobics class is 50 minutes 3 x a week. I truly am working out, but it sometimes only shows 7 minutes of activity and never more than 17.

  • My fitbit used to tell me how many calories, max HR and average HR after I stopped my workout but it doesn’t do that anymore. Any ideas how I can get that feature back?

  • The “nob” for the “button” on my Fitbit has fallen off – I do not have it. Is there somewhere I can get another “button”, as I cannot use my Fitbit at all without it.

  • I am also concerned about the band. It is uncomfortable and hard to put on. Is there another way to wear my Fitbit Charge 2 to track my activity?

  • The band on the Fitbit Charge 2 is uncomfortable and hard to put on. Is there another way to the Fitbit to track my activity?

  • Being in my mid-50’s my daughter got me a fitbit zip as a gift, I thought “why”, after making it work, I just stick it in my pocket daily to track activity,
    I’m on my feet all day and track an average of 7 to 8 miles a day and 15,000
    to 17,000 steps a day, I would be interested in hearing from other workers at
    their job for what they track. I’m an auto tech in a small garage, people didn’t
    believe my activity, now I have proof.

  • I have noticed when I wear my Fitbit on my right wrist, and knit a lot, I really add on the steps! Is better on the left, but once in awhile I notice steps being added, just seems to be how my left hand moves……

  • I think the fitbit needs improvement. It does not give me an accurate count on my steps (which I’m assuming is not giving me an accurate account on calories, miles, etc.).
    Every time my arm is moving it’s counting. I talk with my hands alot, therefore it’s counting all my movements.
    Is there any way to get a more accurate account of my steps, calories, etc. with my fitbit????

  • I have a Samsung Galaxy and I have never been able to view my text messages. It only tells me I have a message. Is there a way to fix this?

  • I have tried, but cannot get my Alta to sync with my phone calls, it is delayed, which does not make sense! Any advice/help would be nice!

  • When I first used this, it gave weekly activity and even sleep info by day automatically but I Have nothing for months. I have tried every thing I could do but nothing works, so my Fitbit 2 is fine for daily stuff but if ion look at it before bed, the info is gone. Since I did not get an instruction booklet, I am clueless to know what happened. How can key it to track my daily steps, calories, sleep, etc. and keep the data?

  • When I first activated my device, it automatically logged steps, sleep, etc., which was great, but has not done so for months. How can I get my Fitbit 2 to keep my steps, calories, sleep data, etc. automatically past one day and weekly, monthly, etc. There were no instructions that came with it and nothing online, I have tried everything I can on the site but without a guide, I have been unsuccessful.

  • I am still new to fit bit – but I love it. I lost my calorie count on the home page. How do I get it back?

  • I use the Fitbit zip to keep track of steps on my iPhone 5. Today it acts like it is syncing but no updates. Bluetooth on. Good battery. What should I do next?

If you have questions about a Fitbit tracker, product availability, or the status of your order, contact our Support Team or search the Fitbit Community for answers.

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