Fitbit Charge 4 (and Charge 3) tips and features: How to use your new tracker

How to get the most out of your new fitness tracker
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Getting started with the Fitbit Charge 3 or Charge 4 may be straightforward, but there are plenty of features that lie within the company's latest fitness tracker that are waiting to be discovered.

And while it may not be as feature-packed as Fitbit's two smartwatches, the Ionic and Versa, the third-generation fitness band still has plenty of new features to take advantage of. After two years out in the cold, the Charge has been upgraded with waterproofing, contactless payment support and an improved battery life.

But how do you get the most out of the Fitbit Charge? Well, luckily for you, we've rounded up some top tips to help you out.

Read on below for everything you need to know.

Fitbit guide: Fitbit smartwatches and trackers compared

1. Change your clock face

Fitbit Charge 4 (and Charge 3) tips and features: How to use your new tracker

On the Charge 3, you have fewer options than the mountain of Clock Faces developed by both Fitbit and third-party developers on the Ionic and Versa, but that doesn't mean there isn't still a healthy selection of monochrome options to choose from.

If you want to mix things up from digital to analogue, want to emphasise a different tracked metric or simply fancy changing your look, Fitbit currently offers seven faces on the Charge 3.

We expect more to drop as the tracker grows older, but, for now, you can change things by heading to the Fitbit app. From there, click the device icon in the top left, tap through on Clock Faces and toggle between the My Clock and All Clocks tabs and decide how you want to customise the screen.

2. Customize notifications

Fitbit Charge 4 (and Charge 3) tips and features: How to use your new tracker

Whether you like having your wrist gadget act as a second screen to your smartphone, or you want to turn off all notifications, we've got you covered.

Head to the Fitbit app, tap through the Notifications tab and begin toggling exactly what you want buzzed through to your Charge 3. As shown above, this can be done to give the green or red flag to all your calls, texts and calendar pings, and you can select from your list of apps, too.

3. Improve step tracking accuracy

This is really more of a general Fitbit tip, as opposed to a Charge 3 one, but it's essential for receiving the best accuracy.

Now, there's plenty more to focus on with this tracker, but steps will no doubt be at the core of most people's daily tracking picture. However, Fitbit estimates what each step looks like based on your height and gender, meaning those with naturally big or small strides may be seeing inaccurate information.

Essential reading: We try Fitbit's Female Health Tracking

To edit this, tap the card in the top right of the Fitbit app, scroll down to Advanced Settings and tap through on Stride Length. As we say, this is automatically set by Fitbit, but you can manually enter the centimetre equivalent of your walking and running strides.

Wondering how to work it out? It's simple – just head down to a running track or somewhere that you know the exact distance of, count your steps as you complete that distance and then divide the total distance taken by the number of steps to get your stride length.

You're also going to need to tell Fitbit which wrist your device is sitting on, in order to improve accuracy. To do this, head to the Charge 3 icon, select Wrist and then whichever wrist your device is strapped to.

4. Set a silent alarm

Fitbit Charge 4 (and Charge 3) tips and features: How to use your new tracker

If you're anything like us, you'll find great satisfaction in replacing your alarm clock with a much friendlier buzz on the wrist from the Charge 3.

Sure, you can always use your phone, but that almost always leads to you spending 45 minutes every morning catching up on Twitter, Instagram or, heaven forbid, work emails, before you even make it out of bed.

You can set alarms through the Fitbit app, though you can also toggle your list on/off from the device itself. If you're setting up a new alarm, you'll want to head to the Charge 3 settings section, hit Silent Alarms and then choose your time and which days you want it to sound on.

5. Make the battery last longer

The Charge 3 already boasts week-long battery life out of the box, but, as always, there are ways to extend this even further with a few neat tricks.

The first thing to consider tweaking is how often you sync your device. This can be turned off through the Charge 3 section of the Fitbit app, though it does mean you'll have to manually sync the device in order to see your progress up in the app.

Notifications, too, can also be reduced in order to save some life. The good news is that you don't have to go into the Fitbit app, either, with a double press of that side-button allowing you to toggle them on/off.

The same goes for heart rate – perhaps the biggest gobbler of battery you can alter. To simply turn it off, swipe across to the Settings menu of your device and scroll down to Heart Rate. The downside of this is pretty mammoth, as you won't be able to properly track your activity, sleep or resting heart rate, but very handy for keeping the Charge, well, charged.

You don't have to do all these things to help save a bit of juice, but toggling a couple of these settings will definitely see the tracker go for longer.

6. Turn off raise-to-wake

Fitbit Charge 4 (and Charge 3) tips and features: How to use your new tracker

We're not the biggest fans of Fitbit's Screen Wake, with it too often failing to pick up our wrist raises. However, if you want to add an element of control to when the screen flashes up, simply hold down the side-button and tap the Screen Wake tab.

This will mean you'll have to tap the screen or press the side-button in order to wake the device – a great feature for when you're sleeping, or you just want to kill the tracker's light in the cinema.

7. Edit your exercise shortcuts

Fitbit Charge 4 (and Charge 3) tips and features: How to use your new tracker

By default, the exercises listed on the Charge 3/4 may not be your go-to options. However, if you want to track your tennis, yoga, or anything else shown in the list above, you can create a shortcut through the Fitbit app.

Simply head to the device section from the top-left icon, tap Exercise Shortcuts and toggle the order you want the current six options in. You'll have to get rid of one or two if you want to add more, since six is the limit, and we recommend adding Workout (which is set as a default option on the Ionic and Versa, but not here) for any activity you want to track that isn't listed.

Also remember that you can change the type of activity you've performed in the post-workout. All you need to do is click on your exercise, and tap Categorize Exercise at the top of the screen in order to toggle.

8. Quickly check your stats

Fitbit Charge 4 (and Charge 3) tips and features: How to use your new tracker

As we've just alluded to, you can edit your exercise shortcuts and the details surrounding your exercise through the Fitbit app. However, if you don't want to open up your phone just to get all your daily stats, the Charge's Quick View lets you do so on the wrist.

Of course, the Clock Face you select will already give you some of those tracked stats, but getting a base look at the bigger picture can be achieved by swiping up from the home face.

From here, you'll be able to scroll down and get a look at your battery percentage, steps taken, active minutes, distance, current heart rate, calorie burn, stairs climbed and how many hours of sleep you recorded.

9. Restart your Fitbit Charge 3/4

The Fitbit Charge 3 is a pretty unflappable tracker, but that doesn't mean it isn't prone to the odd hiccup. We've not had any great issues with this tracker, but there have been instances with other Fitbit devices that have required a hard reset in order to get things working again.

If your Fitbit isn't syncing properly, or it's crashing consistently, you can give it a reset through the device itself or through the app. This isn't completely foolproof, and there's naturally a chance you just have a faulty device, but the off-on rule should always be your first act of troubleshooting – after, of course, you've checked you're running the latest software.

To do so means you're going to lose any data that's not yet been synced that's being held on the device, and you're also going to have to spare a bit of time to set it all up again.

On the Fitbit app, click the top-left Charge icon and scroll down all the way to the tab in red that reads, 'Remove This Charge 3/4'. Or, on the tracker, head to Settings > About > Clear User Data.

As mentioned, you'll then have to set up the device just as you did when you first took it out of the box. Make sure it's plugged in and wait for the Charge 3 to reboot, before following along with the instructions for setting up a new device in the app. If you need to reset your Fitbit, we have a guide for that too.

10. Change your goals

The key to success in fitness tracking is achievable goals you can actually meet. So make sure you adapt your Fitbit goals to an activity level suitable to your needs. First, forget about it for a week and see how many steps you manage. Then dive into the app and see if you can set your goal to be about 10% higher.

  1. Got the app and tap the device icon in the top left corner.
  2. Scroll down to Main Goal.
  3. Choose from Steps, Distance, Calories Burned, Active Minutes or Floors Climbed.
  4. Sync your device.

Oh and when you start crushing that target – up the goal again. Don't slack off – or else! Check out our full guide to changing your Fitbit goals.

How we test

Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

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