The digital age has given rise to many new technologies, one of which is the Fitbit. It tracks how many steps you take in a day and your heart rate.
But some people wonder if there is more the Fitbit is doing than what it lets on. Is there spyware in these popular devices?
People are apprehensive about their privacy and have the tendency to fear the worst when it comes to advanced technology. These fears have been stoked by hackers, security agencies, and media outlets excite new technology’s potential dangers.
Here’s If Your Fitbit Is Listening To Me:
Fitbit uses microphones to listen to voice commands, it can be controlled using vice commands after speaking a certain word. Your Fitbit has access to a microphone and uses voice commands for certain features. The information doesn’t get sent to anyone or used by other parties.
There are two parts to it:
- Is your Fitbit recording what you say? No.
- Is your Fitbit using data from your phone to determine when you’re about to go for a walk? Probably not, but it could be.
Let’s take a look at the first question: is your Fitbit recording what you say? The short answer is no.
Your Fitbit isn’t listening to what you say and selling it to marketers. The long answer is covered in the rest of this blog.
Among other things, this type of behavior would be in violation of U.S. Federal Trade Commission guidelines, which prohibit “unfair or deceptive acts” by companies that gather personal data about American consumers.
Fitbit is a company that produces wearable technology devices. People typically wear them on their wristbands to track various health and fitness data like heart rate, steps taken, sleep quality and duration, calories burned, etc.
However, they can also be worn as clips or on different types of accessories.
While the standard Fitbit device doesn’t have a built-in speaker or microphone (except for the Versa line), there is an advantage to using voice commands with your Fitbit.
It provides you with a more natural way of interacting with the device and makes things much more convenient for you in general. You won’t have to take it out of its case or even reach for it to control it.
How Can You Check If Your Fitbit Devices Are Listening?
There are several ways to check if your Fitbit device has listened to you. One of the most accessible methods to check if your Fitbit devices listen is through the Fitbit app. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:
- Click on your profile picture in the top left corner of the home screen and click on privacy settings from the drop-down menu that appears.
- From here, select voice recording history, and you will be able to see all of your voice recording history (if you have any).
- You can then playback or delete those recordings as you wish. To delete a voice recording, press and hold on to that item in the list until an ‘X’ symbol appears, then tap “x” to remove it from your account. To download a copy of a recording, tap that item and then tap Download Voice Recording at the bottom of the page.
How Do I Stop A Fitbit From Listening?
You can turn off voice recording in your Fitbit app. Tap the Account icon > your device image from the Fitbit app dashboard. Then, scroll down to Personal Info and tap it. Tap Smartphone Settings > Notifications and disable Voice Recording.
You can also turn off microphone access by going to Fitbit app > Account icon > your device name and image (or choose an accessory if you have one)>Smartphone Settings > Notifications, then disable Accessory Microphone (iOS only). You can always re-enable this feature if you want to speak with Alexa or Google Assistant in the future.
Finally, if you don’t want anyone listening at all (or just want to be on the safe side), you can disable your microphone through your phone’s settings menu:
- On Android, go to Settings > Apps & notifications and find Fitbit in either the recently opened apps section or “All apps.”
- On iOS devices, go to Settings and scroll until you see Fitbit. There are many ways they’ve made it easier for us to use our phones in conjunction with our fitness trackers—you just need a little help figuring out which ones work best for you.
Read more about is my Firestick listening to me?
What Exactly Do Fitbit Use These Recordings For?
Your recordings are used to create a personalized speech recognition model that is unique to you. When your Fitbit device listens for utterances, it uses the model to determine what you said.
This context-sensitive personalization helps improve accuracy and requires no retraining on your part.
The improved understanding of your voice can help make interactions with your device more seamless and accurate regardless of where you are or how loud the environment is around you.
For instance, if you have a sleep apnea episode during the night, we hope to eventually be able to detect this by listening for abnormal breathing patterns through short snippets of audio recorded to detect this anomaly.
If our devices do not recognize something that was said, we may use these recordings to analyze them and improve our ability to understand those phrases going forward. Under no circumstances do we ever sell any personal data collected from these recordings, including voice clips or transcripts, without getting explicit consent from owners first.
Can You Use Fitbit Devices Without Them Snooping On You?
The short answer is: yes, you can use your Fitbit with the microphone off and not connected to any other devices.
But if you’re looking for an answer that’s a little more complex than a simple yes or no, you’ve also come to the right place.
If you have an account set up, then your device is almost certainly recording your data and sending it back to Fitbit’s servers to be analyzed.
However, this data collection allows the device to work in tandem with the app. In other words, without the syncing of data between your device and the app via an Internet connection, certain features such as step counting would not function properly.
If you’d like to use a Fitbit but aren’t comfortable with Fitbit having access to specific data from your workouts and activities (including location information).
Then we recommend either using a different fitness tracker that doesn’t require an account in order for all its functions to work correctly or disconnecting from all other devices before working out in order to prevent automatic syncing of your workout data.
Can Fitbit Devices Listen When It’s Turned Off?
The answer is both yes and no. Although you can choose to disable it, the Fitbit Sense does have a feature that captures your voice recordings—which it may then use to improve its services—when the device is turned on.
However, when you’re not using it, the Fitbit Sense can’t listen or record what’s happening around you (unlike Alexa or Google Assistant).
If you turn off the microphone on your device and delete any recorded clips through your settings, it certainly won’t be listening to you.
When you start to hear the advertisements others hear, it can cause some concern. Could my information be sold? Is there a way to delete recordings?
Fortunately, Fitbit provides its users with more control over the audio collected by their devices than any other smartwatch.
Can You Have Old Recordings From A Fitbit Deleted?
Deleting recordings: When you choose this option, all your voice recordings will be deleted from your account and Fitbit’s servers. This means that previously made transcriptions of your audio may still exist in your Fitbit app but will no longer be able to be played as audio files (only as text).
Deleting individual recordings: If you want to keep some of the recordings for reference or don’t feel like deleting them all at once, you can delete individual ones by going into settings > privacy and security > voice recordings. From there, choose “Delete selected,” and they’ll be removed immediately.
Fitbit devices cannot listen when turned off: If, like me, you’re concerned about Fitbits recording while they’re off or not being worn at all – don’t worry! These devices aren’t equipped with microphones. They also do not sell any data collected from user conversations on their platforms or apps.
We may hear a few stories about our Fitbits eavesdropping on private conversations, and there may be a grain of truth to those claims.
The chances are that your Fitbit isn’t spying on you in your most intimate moments. And even if it were, Fitbit doesn’t record the data (and if it did, it would be encrypted).
Fitbit has adamantly denied the presence of audio recording equipment on the device, stating that it’s physically impossible and that the company has no plans to add the functionality.
They also note that Fitbit only collects heart rate and movement data and approximately 30 minutes worth of employee diagnostic data for product development purposes.