The only Fitbit wearable so far with built-in GPS is Ionic. However, most of its other devices have the ability to connect to a GPS signal via your smartphone. Here’s what to do if you’re having trouble establishing a connection.
Essential reading: Fitness bands with built-in GPS
Those that run or cycle often appreciate the usefulness of built-in GPS. And while there are quite a few sports watches with this functionality, fitness bands with built-in GPS are few and far between. Your best option is probably the Garmin Vivosport if you’re looking for such a device.
The next best thing is Connected GPS. This is a fancy term meaning the device on your wrist can piggy-back on your smartphone’s GPS signal. The benefit of this is that your outdoor exercise stats will be more accurate, plus you get a map of the workout in the Fitbit smartphone app.
Troubleshooting a connection
Those of us that have a watch with built-in GPS know that it can be very difficult at times to secure a connection. The same applies to Connected GPS – yes, the dreaded ‘Connecting…’ message!
Fitbit suggests you switch off Wi-Fi on the phone when using connected GPS. Of course, the Bluetooth on your smartphone needs to be switched on in order for it to communicate with the device on your wrist. You can check whether this is the case by going into the Bluetooth settings on your phone.
Your phone needs to be within 30 feet of your device, and the Fitbit app should be open while you are tracking your workout. The wearable will vibrate to indicate that it found a GPS signal. How quickly this occurs depends on your surroundings. Tall buildings, dense forests or steep hills might all impede with your phone’s ability to find a GPS satellite.
Ideally, you want to wait until the signal is established before you start your exercise. Otherwise the step count will be used to estimate distance instead of GPS, and your workout data will be less accurate.
If you’re not getting a signal the first thing to do is to check that Connected GPS is switched on. On the Versa, this is done by tapping the gear icon on any exercise and making sure that GPS is listed and switched on. Similarly, on Charge 3 check that Use Phone GPS is listed and on for the particular exercise. On Charge 2 and Inspire HR you will need to do this via the Fitbit app. Choose the Today tab/your profile/your device images/Exercise Shortcuts. Find the exercise and make sure Connected GPS is on.
Additional things you can try
Here are a few more things you can try if you’re still having problems obtaining a GPS signal:
- close and re-open the Fitbit app
- restart your smartphone
- go to the Location section in your smartphone’s settings and make sure Fitbit has permission to access these
- for Android smartphones, in your phones settings go to location, location method, and choose phone only
- other smart devices (such as headphones) may interfere with the Bluetooth signal, so you may want to try switching these off
If nothing works, the final solution is to contact Fitbit Customer Support. There’s always a chance your device might be faulty.
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