Fitbit GPS Problems: 7 Common Issues (Explained)

Whether you’re looking to monitor your daily steps or train for a marathon, Fitbits offer a convenient way to track your progress.

With the GPS feature on your Fitbit, you can easily track the distance and pace of your walks or runs. However, it can be frustrating when the GPS signal is unreliable or doesn’t work at all.

In this article, we will discuss the most common Fitbit GPS issues and their solutions.

Closeup view of new Fitbit Sense smartwatch, isolated on yellow background

The Fitbit App is Out of Date

Fitbit is continuously enhancing its app to improve the user experience with both the device and the app. However, if you don’t update the app to the latest version, it may adversely impact the device’s functionality.

As a Fitbit wearer, I recommended updating the Fitbit app frequently, irrespective of whether you use an iOS or Android device.

Below are the steps to update the Fitbit app on your phone:

For iOS devices:

  1. Open the App Store app.
  2. Go to the ‘Updates’ tab.
  3. Check for Fitbit on the list. If an update is available, you will see Fitbit in the list.
  4. Tap on Update to install the update.

For Android devices:

  1. Launch the Play Store app.
  2. Tap on the menu icon located in the top-left corner.
  3. Select ‘My apps & games’
  4. Look for the Fitbit app update in the Updates list.
  5. Tap ‘Update’ to update the app.

Please check out our article for troubleshooting tips if you encounter difficulties updating the Fitbit App.

Not All Fitbit Watches Have a Built-in GPS

Fitbit is a great tool for tracking fitness, but not all Fitbit devices have built-in GPS. Some Fitbit devices, such as the Fitbit Charge 2, Charge 3, Inspire 2, and Inspire HR, use Fitbit’s connected GPS feature instead.

Connected GPS works by connecting your Fitbit device to your phone’s GPS system through the Fitbit app. The Fitbit app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

To use connected GPS accurately, you need to:

  • Establish a Bluetooth connection between your Fitbit device and phone.
  • Enable your phone’s location feature at all times.

Struggling to establish a Bluetooth connection? Read our article for solutions to Fitbit Bluetooth problems.

This connection allows your Fitbit device to access the GPS information from your phone, which helps track your outdoor activities, such as running or cycling.

It’s important to note that connected GPS can drain your phone’s battery faster than usual, as your Fitbit device is constantly connected to your phone’s GPS.

However, the accuracy of connected GPS is comparable to that of a built-in GPS system.

Therefore, if your Fitbit device lacks built-in GPS, using the connected GPS feature via the Fitbit app is a reliable alternative for tracking your outdoor activities.

Here are some additional tips for using connected GPS:

  • Make sure your Fitbit device is charged to at least 50% before starting your workout.
  • Start your workout in an open area with a clear view of the sky.
  • Avoid running or cycling in areas with tall buildings or other obstructions that can block the GPS signal.
  • If you notice that the GPS signal is weak, stop your workout and restart it in an open area.
  • After your workout, disconnect your Fitbit device from your phone to save battery life.

Here is a list of Fitbit watches without Built-in GPS:

  • Fitbit Blaze
  • Fitbit Charge 2
  • Fitbit Charge 3
  • Fitbit Inspire HR
  • Fitbit Inspire 2
  • Fitbit Inspire 3
  • Fitbit Luxe
  • Fitbit Versa
  • Fitbit Versa 2
  • Fitbit Versa LE

Location Services Are Not Automatic

If your Fitbit does not have a built-in GPS, you will need to enable your phone’s location services in order for the connected GPS on your Fitbit to work accurately.

Location services use GPS and cell towers to determine the location of your device.

The connected GPS uses your phone’s location services to update your workouts precisely. If your location services are turned off, the GPS on your phone will not be accurate, and your Fitbit will not be able to track your workouts as accurately.

Here’s how to enable location services on your phone:

For iOS devices:

  • Go to ‘Settings’
  • Tap on ‘Privacy & Security’ and then tap on location services.
  • Scroll down until you find the Fitbit app and click on it.
  • Select ‘Always Allow Location’

For Android devices:

  • Swipe down from the top of the screen.
  • Touch and hold ‘Location’.
  • If you don’t find Location: Tap ‘Edit’ or ‘Settings’, then drag ‘Locatio’ into your ‘Quick Settings’
  • Tap ‘Location Services’, then ‘Google Location Accuracy’
  • Turn ‘Improve Location Accuracy’ ON or OFF.

Not All Exercises Use GPS

GPS is a great way to track your workouts, but it’s not necessary for all exercises. Only exercises that involve moving over a distance can be tracked by GPS. This includes activities like running, walking, cycling, and hiking.

If you’re doing an exercise that doesn’t involve moving over a distance, such as weightlifting, yoga, dance, or Pilates, you can still track your workout with your Fitbit. However, you won’t be able to get distance, pace, or route information.

  • To see if your exercise is tracked by GPS, open the Fitbit app and go to the ‘Exercises’ tab.
  • Under the ‘GPS’ section, you’ll see a list of all the exercises that can be tracked by GPS.

If you’re not sure if your exercise is tracked by GPS, you can always check the Fitbit website.

The Environment can affect the GPS Signal

GPS works by receiving signals from satellites in space. The weather can affect the strength of these signals, so it’s important to be aware of the conditions when you’re using your Fitbit.

The best conditions for GPS are clear and sunny skies.

If it’s cloudy or raining, the GPS signal may be weaker. In extreme weather conditions, such as a heavy downpour or a snowstorm, the GPS signal may be lost altogether.

Other factors that can affect the GPS signal include:

  1. Tall buildings: The GPS signal can be blocked by tall buildings. If you’re working out in a city, try to find an open area with a clear view of the sky.
  2. Tunnels and underground parking: The GPS signal can also be blocked by tunnels and underground parking. If you’re working out in a city, try to avoid these areas.
  3. Dense forests and mountains: The GPS signal can be weakened by dense forests and mountains. If you’re hiking, try to find a clear path with a good view of the sky.

Continues Glitches Mean a Reset May be Required

If you’re still having problems with the GPS signal on your Fitbit, you can try resetting your device.

Note: This will erase all of your data, but it may fix the problem.

To reset your Fitbit, follow these steps:

  1. On your Fitbit, go to the ‘Settings’ menu.
  2. Swipe up and tap ‘Device Info’
  3. Swipe up and tap ‘Clear User Data’
  4. Tap and hold the ‘Back’ button for 3 seconds.
  5. Tap ‘Yes’ to confirm the reset.

Your Fitbit will now be reset to its factory settings. You will need to set it up again and sync it with your phone.

Once your Fitbit is reset, you can try using it again to see if the GPS signal is working properly.

If you find that resetting your Fitbit does not fix the GPS signal problem, you may need to contact Fitbit customer support for assistance.

But what if your Firbit is resetting without you wanting it to? Read our article with solutions to Fitbit watches constantly resetting or restarting.

Fitbit Firmware is Out of Date

Fitbit strives to provide a great user experience, but from time to time, bugs may appear and affect your experience and result in glitches.

The best way to combat this is to make sure that your software is up to date. This will help your GPS, heart rate monitoring, and other functions perform at their best.

You can manually update the software on your Fitbit.

Here’s how:

  • Open the Fitbit app on your phone.
  • Tap on your profile picture in the top left corner.
  • Scroll down and tap ‘Help & Support’
  • Tap ‘Check’ for update.
  • If an update is available, follow the on-screen instructions to install it.

Once your Fitbit’s software is up to date, try using it again to see if the GPS signal is working properly.

Here are some things to keep in mind before updating your Fitbit’s software:

  • Make sure that your Fitbit is charged to at least 50%.
  • Make sure that your Fitbit is connected to your phone via Bluetooth.
  • The update process may take a few minutes.
  • Do not disconnect your Fitbit from your phone or turn off your phone during the update process.

Please also check out our article about Fitbit Charging Problems.

Pros and Cons of using GPS on Fitbit devices

Pros

  • Continuously tracks vital health stats and exercise data
  • Most Fitbit watches are water resistant
  • Has various options for users
  • User Friendly

Cons

You may experience issues with your Fitbit device and GPS when:

  • The Fitbit app is outdated
  • Your device does not have built-in GPS 
  • Your location services are turned off
  • The exercise you are doing doesn’t use GPS
  • The firmware is not updated
  • Your surroundings are interrupting the GPS signal
  • A hard reset is required

Final Thoughts

Fitbit is a great option for people who want accurate health and fitness tracking. The GPS function is an excellent tool for tracking distance, speed, incline, and more when you are running, hiking, or cycling.

If you’re looking for an accurate, convenient, and motivating way to track your health and fitness, Fitbit is definitely for you.

Sources

How to resolve issue of Fitbit GPS not connecting

Fitbit GPS vs Connected GPS: How to use GPS on the Fitbit and see your routes

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