Fitbit FAQ: The answers to your burning Fitbit queries all in one place

Whether it’s the Ionic, Blaze, Charge 2 or Alta HR, we have you covered

When you're looking to buy a new fitness tracker or smartwatch, it's natural to have a few questions. And that doesn't exclude the wares of Fitbit.

Even when you've picked up a fresh device, you'll likely still need to make sure you know the ins and outs of what you're wearing.

Essential reading: Which Fitbit should you buy?

Below, we'll run through some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding Fitbit's major devices, as well as attempting to clear up some queries the company itself is silent on. After all, ain't nobody got time to read through the manual. Any questions we haven't covered? Let us know in the comment section below.

Fitbit 101

Fitbit FAQ: The answers to your burning Fitbit queries all in one place

While some of you out there may be looking for device-specific answers, let's start with the basics here in order to cover just what Fitbit trackers do, how they do it and how you choose the right one.

What does a Fitbit do?

In a word, lots. But, essentially, Fitbit devices are trackers that are able to keep tabs on a range of activities, your heart rate and your sleep, as well as more basic metrics such as steps and calories. By tracking all of these things, the hope is that you're able to understand more about your daily activity and body in order to potentially improve habits.

What should I do if my Fitbit isn't syncing?

This is bound to happen to you at some point, so if your Fitbit device won't sync, perform a hard quit on the Fitbit app and then reload it. Then, go to Settings > Bluetooth and turn Bluetooth off and back on. This will generally solve your problem, regardless of whether you're using an Android or iOS device to connect to your device, but it's also worth checking whether your app is up to date, too.

Read this: Fitbit is planning more smartwatches

How does Fitbit heart rate work?

Fitbit describes its PurePulse heart rate tech as "the only heart rate technology to offer automatic, continuous wrist based tracking for all-day health insights and workout intensity". However, the optical sensors on the underside work pretty much in line with other wrist-based trackers on the market.

When your heart pumps, your capillaries expand and contract based on blood volume changes. In turn, the LED lights on the device reflect onto the skin to detect blood volume changes, with algorithms processing these in order to try and accurately measure the beats per minute. Voilà.

How are calories calculated?

Firstly, the device will take into account your basal metabolic rate, which is you burning calories just to maintain necessary body functions like breathing, heartbeat, and brain activity. This BMR accounts for around half of your daily calories, with this estimated from the gender, age, weight and height you enter when setting up your device. The rest of the picture is made up from your activity within a given day.

How are steps and distance measured?

Fitbit measures your distance by multiplying your steps by your walking stride length, and by multiplying your running steps by your running stride length. These lengths are both calculated automatically by using your height and gender, though can be altered within the Advanced Settings section of the Fitbit app or Fitbit Dashboard.

How do you choose the right size?

Fitbit's ranges come in both small and large sizes (with some also offering extra large), and are measured using the circumference of your wrist. Bands are generally adjustable and must be worn with the underside always touching the skin, in order to pick up accurate heart rate data. You can also switch out the straps on most Fitbit devices if the standard options aren't to your taste.

Fitbit Ionic

Fitbit FAQ: All the answers to your Fitbit queries in one place

Its first official smartwatch, the Fitbit Ionic is the company's first model to truly take on Apple, Samsung and Android Wear by offering the likes of music streaming, GPS, Fitbit Pay and its very own app store.

Can Fitbit Ionic play Spotify?

Unfortunately, Spotify users aren't supported through the Ionic. Pre-launch rumours indicated that a potential deal between the pair broke down, which seemingly led Fitbit to offer Pandora for US users and Deezer for those outside the territory. And if you're having trouble transferring music to the Fitbit Ionic, follow our guide.

Will the Fitbit Ionic take phone calls?

Yes and no. While the device can be used to reject and accept calls, you're only able to hold the conversation through the phone. However, if you're listening to music through on the Ionic through Pandora, for example, it will be paused in order to allow you to answer the call and take it through the Fitbit Flyer headphones.

Can Fitbit Ionic reply to text messages?

The Ionic will allow you to receive the notifications your phone does, which includes texts and those coming from WhatsApp and other third parties, but unfortunately you can't reply on the watch itself.

Will Fitbit Ionic get more apps?

With Fitbit Gallery only opening its doors this December, the selection is still pretty paltry. However, in the new year and beyond, expect more third parties to get on board with the Fitbit SDK and bring apps to the smartwatch.

Essential reading: Best Fitbit Ionic apps

Is Fitbit Ionic waterproof?

Yes. With a 5ATM water resistance rating, you're able to take the Ionic into the swimming pool and the shower plus keep it on during heavy exercise without fear of destruction.

Does Fitbit Ionic work with iPhone?

Yes. The Ionic doesn't just work with iOS devices, though, with Android users also afforded compatibility. All you need to do to get set up is sync the watch through the Fitbit smartphone app.

Fitbit Charge 2

Fitbit FAQ: The answers to your Fitbit queries all in one place

While it may have been superseded at the top of the tree by the new Ionic, the Fitbit Charge 2 is still the company's premier fitness tracker. It doesn't offer the complete package, but it certainly ticks most of the boxes people want from their device.

Can the Fitbit Charge 2 receive text messages?

The Fitbit Charge 2 will receive notifications which mirror your smartphone, but you will be unable to reply to text messages or third-party messenger services.

Can the Fitbit Charge 2 track weight lifting?

The Fitbit Charge 2 has a dedicated mode for weight lifting, though this does not feature the likes of automatic rep counting or exercise detection. It will simply track your heart rate, time and calories.

Can you change the Fitbit Charge 2 band?

Yes. This is fairly simple to do, too, with the main body easily popping away from the two sections of the band. If you need any inspiration deciding which strap to consider as a replacement, we've rounded up the best Fitbit accessories.

Is the Fitbit Charge 2 waterproof?

No. Unlike the Fitbit Ionic and the Flex 2 fitness tracker, the Charge 2 isn't able to withstand water submersion. However, it is able to tolerate rain and splashes, as well as your sweat during workouts.

Can the Fitbit Charge 2 track swimming?

You guessed it – this is also a no. Since the Charge 2 isn't water resistant, it does not support any modes for swimming.

Fitbit Alta HR

Fitbit FAQ: All the answers to your Fitbit queries in one place

Not to be confused with its older sibling, the Fitbit Alta, the Alta HR brings largely the same package with a slightly different band design and the all-important heart rate tracking. With this offering a slimmer design than the Charge 2, some may find it a more attractive option on the wrist.

Can the Fitbit Alta HR get wet?

As with the Charge 2, the Fitbit Alta and its Alta HR equivalent are not able to resist water. While both can handle rain, splashes and sweat, they're not able to track activity in the swimming pool.

Does Fitbit Alta HR do heart rate?

As we've noted just above, the standard Alta won't give you any heart rate monitoring. However, with the newer Alta HR, the company has provided a device that's able to track your ticker continuously – great for exercise, but also good for sleep insights.

Read this: Fitbit Alta HR v Fitbit Alta

Will Fitbit Alta HR track cycling?

Since the Alta and Alta HR come with SmartTrack, your cycling activity is registered within the Fitbit app. However, be aware that the device is best used for tracking walking and running activity.

Can the Fitbit Alta HR be used as a watch?

Yes. As with most fitness trackers with a screen, the Fitbit Alta and Fitbit Alta HR can both be used to tell the time. And if you're really looking to nail the watch look, Public School also collaborated with the company and created an accessory which places the tracker inside a metal watch strap.

Are Fitbit Alta HR bands interchangeable?

Yes. As with the Charge 2 and Ionic, you're able to pick and choose which bands you pair with your tracker. If you're feeling sporty, you can pick a silicon rubber option, while there are plenty of leather and metal options if you want to keep things smart. We've rounded up the best Fitbit Alta and Alta HR bands, in case you need any help.

Fitbit Blaze

Fitbit FAQ: All the answers to your Fitbit queries in one place

While the company classes the Fitbit Blaze within its fitness watch realm, this is essentially a more basic version of the Ionic. Here, you get a full touchscreen, the company's coaching programme and Connected GPS.

Can you swim with Fitbit Blaze?

No. Like the Alta and Charge ranges, the Blaze is only able to withstand splashes, rain and sweat from your activity. That also means there's no swim tracking here.

Does Fitbit Blaze have GPS?

No. However, users are able to take their phone out on runs in order to piggyback from their phone and take advantage of the Connected GPS feature. If you want a similar device with standalone GPS, take a look at the Ionic.

Read next: Fitbit Blaze v Fitbit Ionic

Does Fitbit Blaze work with iPhone?

Yes. Like the rest of Fitbit's range, both iOS and Android smartphone users are able to use the Fitbit app in order to receive notifications and gain a fuller look at their daily activity.

Will Fitbit Blaze play music?

No. While you can control your music from the fitness watch, you're not able to stream music directly from it.

Can Fitbit Blaze track blood pressure?

No. However, the Ionic will soon make use of its heart rate monitor to track relative relative SpO2, which can detect sleep apnea – a condition which contributes to high blood pressure and diabetes.

Shop for Fitbit trackers on Amazon

Fitbit Ionic
Fitbit Ionic
Fitbit Charge 2
Fitbit Charge 2
Fitbit Alta HR
Fitbit Alta HR
Fitbit Flex 2
Fitbit Flex 2

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