Consumer Tech

Consumer tech: How to safely add steps to your Fitbit

So my significant other realized after going to the park that she wasn’t wearing her Fitbit Alta. She’s a member of not one but two separate programs that provide certain incentives the more steps taken. So she wanted to add those missing steps – 4000 of them – to her Fitbit.

She put it in the dryer, on a special cycle which doesn’t produce heat. She knew how much it was adding by monitoring it with her smartphone. She believes it only took around 10 minutes to add 4000 steps this way. No harmful effects were noted. I suppose she put it inside of something like a sock or one o those nylons pouches. I was surprised it could have gone that quickly – that’s over 6 “steps” a second. Maybe it took a bit longer she conceded, but not more than 15 minutes.

Consumer Tech

Consumer Tech: Fitbit Charge tracker disconnected solution

I don’t want to oversell this solution. But let’s face it, you can lose hours and you probably will if you start rummaging through Fitbit’s own community forums on the solution of what to do when your Fitbit Charge or Charge HR doesn’t sync. You pick up a lot of bad and irrelevant and desperate advice.

What worked for me – the long story

Obviously there can be many reasons this may be happening: Bluetooth is off, Bluetooth pairing has been dropped, perhaps low battery, but those ar things you’d think of on your own, right, and anyway they’d be accompanied by other symptoms.

I have a Windows phone. Fitbit has an app through the Windows store. The syncing has always been very finicky. With my Charge HR I would sometimes have to try and re-try the sync for several minutes. Other times it would work right away. I couldn’t use either my home laptop or home desktop computer – both Dells – because the Windows 10 upgrade I did seemed to have wiped out the Bluetooth driver.

Then one day my spouse bought a Fitbit Alta and the helpful guy at Best Buy “helpfully” added her Fitbit and all her information to my account. You see I had commandeered her Samsung phone as well in a desperate attempt to find some device that would sync my Charge HR. It was a total mess. One day her steps overrode my steps and got synced backwards to my Charge! And it was 6000 steps fewer! So I got the idea to log out of my account. I logged back in and the sync worked quickly (quick means about 30 seconds in my experience). Since then I’ve done that a couple more times and both times I was able to sync right away after logging back in.

The summary
For Windows Phone when you can’t sync, and see the message Tracker disconnected when you know full well it has good batteries, it helps to log out of your Fitbit account and log right back in.

Syncing Fitbits is a finicky business in my experience. Their online help is mediocre and will just as likely lead you down the wrong path. Oh, and the wireless dongle that came with my Charge doesn’t fit the device! But I still like the devices overall – guess I got used to them. hopefully this trick to sync a Charge or Charge HR will help someone.

But don’t get me started on what happens when your battery begins to go.


How to change Fitbit account from one user to another

I’ve had a lot of trouble with my Fitbit HR, or more to the point, with the auxiliary programs. Two different Dell computers can’t find it – Bluetooth driver problems perhaps? My Windows phone can’t sync to it 99% of the time. Then I used an old Android phone, but I realized it was set up with my spouse’s account. And there’s no way to change it from the app itself. What to do?

The details for Android devices
Short of a full Fitbit app uninstall, I found what works is to go to the same place where you would uninstall an app, namely, Settings|Application Manager. Scroll to Fitbit. Touch Clear Data.

Then next time you launch the Fitbit app it will walk you through an account setup so you can associate it to your account.

This is the only practical way to do it, and the Fitbit site itself is useless for advice on this topic.

I’ve shown how to change the associated account from one user to another on an Android device. You cannot do it from within the app itself so you could waste a lot of time aimlessly looking around. Hopefully this post will help some people like me who are confounded as to why something so simple should be made so hard.