Why Is My Fitbit Running Slow?

Women outside home looking down at fitbit versa 2 watchWomen outside home looking down at fitbit versa 2 watch

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Fitbit wearables and smartwatches are packed with tiny components. An integrated circuit (IC), a three-axis accelerometer, a printed circuit board (PCB), and a microcontroller are essentially computers and—like any computer—are subject to the same problems that can plague any computer, such as running slow.

If your Fitbit is running slow—touch responsiveness, time is out of sync, slow to sync with the Fitbit smartphone app, or is generally sluggish or unresponsive—there are several factors to look at. The most common issues that slow Fitbit devices are software updates, too many open apps, settings, Bluetooth reception, and low battery.

Luckily, almost all of these things are solved, at least in the short term, by resetting your device. Unless you enjoy resetting your device frequently, however, it’s good to know there are solutions to most of the problems you and your Fitbit device may encounter.

Troubleshooting for Various Fitbit Models Running Slow

Fitbit offers a vast array of different wearables and smartwatches. This list doesn’t include devices that are no longer manufactured or sold on the regular market. However, the tips you find here are just as applicable to any Fitbit device.

Pay Attention to How Many Apps Are Open

Fitbit devices depend on your phone data or Wi-Fi to sync via Bluetooth. Whatever affects your phone potentially affects your Fitbit.

If you’re using a ton of apps on your phone, downloading or watching a video, or streaming music, your Fitbit’s ability to sync and relay information to your phone may slow to a crawl.

Whether you’re on an Android or iPhone, check how many apps you have open, close down multiple windows, and check to see your background data usage. Some apps draw a lot of data or consume memory from your phone.

On Android devices:

  1. Go to Settings > System > About Phone > Build Number.
  2. Tap the phrase “Build Number” seven times. You’ll receive a notification that you now have access to Developer Options.
  3. Now you can return to Settings > Developer Options > Processes. Once you’ve seen what apps are draining your RAM/battery, you can shut down that process and possibly delete the app if it is non-essential.

On iPhones: Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh. Here you’ll find a list of apps that constantly refresh in the background. Either turn off Background App Refresh altogether or turn off the ones that you don’t need.

Keeping your apps under control will help the sync process with your Fitbit, smartphone, and Fitbit app.

Check Your System Settings

Owning a Fitbit device necessitates downloading the Fitbit app. After all, it’s much more convenient to use a smartphone screen to adjust and toy with your Fitbit settings.

One of the most important items to turn on—within the Fitbit app—is the “Always Connected” option, followed by the “All Day Sync” option. Without these options, your Fitbit device may experience a slowdown from simply having those options off.

To turn them on, access the app, select your profile photo, tracker, then scroll down to turn on “Always Connected” or “All Day Sync.”

You may also consider force quitting the Fitbit app, restarting it, and selecting those options if you haven’t already done so. It may be necessary to delete and re-download your Fitbit app, depending on the severity of the problem.

Reset Your Bluetooth Connection

Bluetooth isn’t always the most reliable connection. Just standing near certain devices in your house, power lines, or operating machinery can be enough to disrupt the connection. Occasionally, you can try turning your Bluetooth off and back on again to make sure you have a connection.

Check for Recent Software Updates

It’s always a good idea to check and see if your Fitbit software is up to date. On the smartwatch version—not the wearables—you will look for a gear symbol, followed by “About.” You’ll see your current firmware here.

With a smartphone, you can locate the current firmware in the Fitbit app. It will be listed under your Fitbit device’s name. Select the Today tab, your profile picture, and your device image. Once you’ve selected your device image, you’ll see your device’s current firmware.

If your Fitbit is running slow or having sync issues following an update, try resetting your device. In most cases, this requires holding the power button or a combination of buttons for some time until you see the Fitbit logo.

  • Fitbit Ionic, Sense, Versa, Versa 2, and Versa 3: Press and hold the left button for approximately fifteen seconds. Once the Fitbit logo appears, you can let go, and your device has been reset.
  • Fitbit Inspire, Inspire HR, and Inspire 2: For the Inspire—regardless of the version—it has to be plugged into its charger. Once you’ve plugged it in, press both the left and bottom buttons for approximately five seconds. Once a smiley face appears, the device is reset.
  • Fitbit Charge 3 and Fitbit Charge 4: From the tracker, you can select Settings > Info > Reboot Device. Also, you can manually reset it by plugging it into its charger before pressing and holding the tracker button for around ten seconds. You’ll get a smiley face when the system is resetting.
  • Fitbit Ace: The Ace is a bit odd in that you have to press the button located on the charging cable. When you have connected the charger to your Ace, press the charging cable button three times within roughly ten seconds. When the Fitbit logo appears on the Ace display, the reset was successful.

Resetting your device isn’t the same as doing a factory reset. You won’t be in danger of losing any information or personal preferences that you have set up. A factory reset would be a “worst case scenario” and likely wouldn’t be necessary for slow performance.

Low Battery

If you’ve ever owned a pair of truly wireless headphones, then you know how easily the charging contacts can be disrupted. A low battery can certainly cause your Fitbit to run a bit sluggish. The low battery settings on your smartphone may do the same, assuming low power mode affects your device’s speed and app usage.

To ensure your Fitbit is charging correctly, always check the contacts and pins for dust, corrosion, or moisture. It’s best to use a light amount of rubbing alcohol and a q-tip or cotton ball. Lightly clean the contacts and pins until they shine.

You’ll be able to see how much dirt you’re picking up on the cotton ball or q-tip. Once the contacts are clean, charge your device fully before gauging its performance.

Also, be sure to check the output end of your charging cable. It can pick up dirt and corrosion as well as the contacts on your device. Clean it the same way, but make sure the cable is unplugged.

Final Thoughts

All technology is created equal—that is to say, every device or software will have its issues. A slow-running Fitbit can be frustrating, but—outside of poor or faulty design—most issues involving sluggish response and syncing problems are fixable.

Fitbit apps, wearables, and smartwatches are frequently updated to help avoid or address software problems. Always make sure your device is up to date before troubleshooting. Check and clean your device contacts routinely, along with the output on your charging cable. Watch out for demanding and numerous open applications.

If none of these troubleshooting tips provide a solution, reach out to customer support and be ready to provide them with the exact nature of the issue, so they can help you resolve it quickly.

Is your Fitbit unresponsive? Check out this article for more troubleshooting tips!

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