Fitbit Charge – Ultimate Troubleshooting Guide

Fitness trackers such as the Fitbit Charge quickly become an integral part of our daily lives, but they can sometimes experience issues which cause them to stop working on us. Because of their minimalistic design, it becomes difficult to track down what exactly the problem is. This is where your troubleshooting skills will come into play.

We have prepared a thorough guide to discuss the most common issues faced by users of the Fitbit Charge along with some tips and tricks for troubleshooting.

Fitbit Won’t Charge : Power & Charging Issues

Many issues can stop your Fitbit Charge form turning on and the culprit is almost always going to be the battery. It may have completely drained, or the charger might have died on you. Regardless of what the cause was, here is how you know if it is actually a battery issue or just a problem with the charging itself.

If your Fitbit Charge is:

Not turning on even though you have tried charging it.

Not showing the charging display despite charging for several minutes.

Not charging after several minutes of connecting it to a charger.

Troubleshooting Fitbit Charge Won’t Charge Issues

If you are facing any of the above issues, then there is something wrong with your Fitbit’s charging system or battery. Here are some steps you can follow to troubleshoot:

  1. Grab a soft and dry hand towel to wipe off any dust or residue from the contacts on the backside of your Fitbit Charge. You should also clean the contacts on the charger itself. Do not use a lot of force as it is possible to damage the pins.
  2. Force a restart on your Fitbit Charge through the charger itself. Plug it into a power source and press the button on the charger’s USB plug three times with a one second delay between each press.
  3. Make sure that the charger pins touch the charging contacts on the Fitbit Charge. You might need to gently push them into place if they do not. Cotton swabs and soft brushes can help you out here.
  4. If your Fitbit has been off for a while you might need to wait for the battery to charge up a little before the watch can display any indication that it is charging. Ten to fifteen minutes are usually enough.
  5. It is always a good idea to try out a different charger if one is available. At the very least you should try out a different USB port to rule out that possibility.

Fitbit Charge 5 Battery Issues

Once you have ruled out charging related issues, you need to face the possibility that your Fitbit Charge’s battery might be at the end of its useful life. The Fitbit Charge 4 and Charge 5 have a battery that should last around 4 days out of the box. Depending on how you use your Fitbits though, this can get as low as around 5 hours (with continuous GPS usage).

If your Fitbit Charge:

  1. Lasts three days instead of four after months of usage, there is nothing to worry about. Batteries deteriorate over time.
  2. Does not last as long if you use the Fitbit’s GPS capabilities, you have nothing to worry about. Geo-location with GPS requires a lot of power, so it is acceptable for it to drain the battery.

On the other hand, there are some indications of a dying battery. If your battery:

  1. Jumps rapidly down in charge for no reason, for example 50% to 10% within an hour while the watch was not in active use.
  2. Runs out of charge and the watch turns off, even though a few minutes ago there was more than enough charge left.
  3. Shows any other random charging or discharging behavior.

Troubleshooting Battery issues for the Fitbit Charge

There are two sets of separate issues highlighted above. The former requires you to drain the battery less because it is getting old while the latter means that the battery itself has run out of juice for you to drain.

Keep in mind that it is not possible for you to change the battery of the Fitbit Charge. So, you are stuck with the same advice for both scenarios, it will simply be far less effective if you have a dying battery.

  • Do not use always-on-display. You can disable it from Settings -> Display Settings. This will have the most impact on your battery life.
  • Dim your display brightness so that it uses less power. Even if it is not on all the time, this will cause a significant decrease in battery drain.
  • Disable GPS tracking on your Fitbit Charge. GPS is the most power-hungry system on any fitness tracker, which is why companies provide two battery-life specifications. Four days without GPS, and five hours with.
  • There are quite a few features you can disable or modify through the Charge’s settings, look through them and disable any which you do not use.
  • If your Fitbit still runs out of Charge way too quickly, you only have two options.
    • Contact Fitbit support and see if they can help you out with a replacement.
    • Purchase a new replacement, there is not a lot you can do once a fitness tracker’s battery dies on you. If support is not helpful, your only option is to move on. Hopefully towards a tracker with a far better battery.

3.    Bluetooth Issues

Bluetooth allows devices to communicate with each other without using a lot of power. Even though the technology has gone through some iterations and improvements over the last few years, it is far from perfect.

Identifying whether an issue is Bluetooth related can be difficult, here is a list of problems that are Bluetooth related, if your Fitbit Charge 5:

  1. Refuses to pair with your device
  2. Does not sync data as often as it should
  3. Keeps disconnecting from your phone
  4. Does not show notifications from your phone

Troubleshooting Bluetooth issues for the Fitbit Charge

Bluetooth problems are difficult to troubleshoot because there are so many different possibilities for what is really causing the problem you are facing. Here is the order in which we would troubleshoot our Bluetooth issues.

  1. You need the Fitbit app to connect the Fitbit Charge with your device. You also need to have your Bluetooth turned on, but the app will guide you through the pairing process once you get into it. So, we do not need to get into the details of that.
  2. Make sure that the Fitbit app has the permissions that it requires to work, such as Bluetooth access (in newer Android versions), Location access, etc. If the application does not ask you for the permission itself, you may need to manually check whether you granted the permissions or not.
  3. Turn off Battery Optimization for the Fitbit app. To remain connected to your tracker, it needs to keep running in the background and battery optimization tends to kill such applications to save your phone’s battery. Which makes it impossible for the Fitbit Charge to receive notifications from your phone.
  4. Toggle your phone’s Bluetooth off and on again.
  5. Remove the Fitbit Charge from your Fitbit app and unpair it entirely from your phone, then go through the connection process all over again. The good old “have you tried turning it off and on again?”
  6. Uninstall and reinstall the Fitbit app, you can also try to force stop it first.
  7. Restart your phone if all else fails.

4.    Tracking Issues

Fitness bands such as the Fitbit Charge have all sorts of trackers and sensors on them. Such as a heart-rate tracker, GPS receiver, accelerometer, etc. Let us discuss the various problems that each of these trackers can cause.

4.1 Problems reading heartrate

If your Fitbit Charge is having problems reading your heartrate, here are some things you can do to troubleshoot the problem:

  1. Make sure you actually have heartrate monitoring turned on.
  2. Use a soft and dry cloth to clean the sensors on the backside of your Fitbit Charge.
  3. Wear the tracker at a different location on your arm, you can even try your other arm to see if that fixes it. The tracker needs to be in touch with your skin, but do not tighten it too much as that will disrupt blood flow. This will take a few tries to figure out, so do not be alarmed if your heartrate changes drastically when changing the band’s tightness.
  4. Restart your Fitbit Charge if you have not already done so.
  5. In a worse-case-scenario, you can try factory resetting your Fitbit Charge to see if that fixes the heartrate monitoring.
  6. If the heartrate monitor is still refusing to work, you should reach out to Fitbit Support because it is almost definitely a problem with the sensor itself.

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