Not everyone is happy about Google’s takeover of Fitbit. Some are citing privacy concerns, others worries about the future of the wearables manufacturer. The deal will not happen until well into 2020 but its good to know you have options on what to do with your data.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
Google’s $2.1 billion acquisition does not come as a total surprise. Fitbit got into the wearables game early on which allowed it to quickly establish a big market share. But the San Francisco outfit hasn’t been innovating and is falling behind some of its rivals. For example, we have been waiting for the past two years for Fitbit to enable the blood oxygen sensor that can be found on some if its devices. Then there’s the competition that comes in the form of low-cost Chinese fitness bands and smartwatches. The fact that the company hasn’t been profitable in recent years meant something had to be done.
But now there are two camps – those that think Fitbit will go from strength to strength with resources from Google and those that fear the search giant might kill Fitbit off eventually. Just think back to Nokia and Withings. After much fanfare, Nokia did not really manage to do anything with the French outfit’s hardware. In the end one of the original owners bought Withings back.
Lots of people are concerned Google is just after the data – targeted advertising comes to mind. If you have similar worries it is not too difficult to export and delete all your Fitbit data before the takeover goes through.
Deleting your Fitbit account
There are two ways to erase your Fitbit account and all associated data. Luckily, both are quite simple.
To do this from the smartphone app follow these steps.
- Open the app and make sure you are in the Today tab . Tap your profile picture.
- Scroll down and select Manage Data.
- Tap Delete Account
- Follow the on-screen instructions.
From the Fitbit.com dashboard the procedure is as follows.
- Find and click the gear icon > Settings.
- Scroll down and click Delete Account
- Follow the on-screen instructions.
It’s worth noting, your data will not be deleted immediately. Fitbit will retain it on its server for 7 days after you erase your account. This gives you a chance to change your mind and recover everything. Once the week is up, there’s no way to recover access to your Fitbit data as your account will be frozen. The data will go into the trash bin anywhere between 30 and 90 days after you delete your account. It takes this long because it needs to be erased from multiple backup servers and systems.
Exporting Fitbit data
It makes a lot of sense to export your data before you delete it. You have two choices here – export a month of your recent Fitbit data or everything. You’ll want to go with the second option.
Here are the steps.
- In the web dashboard, find and click the gear icon > Settings.
- Choose Data Export.
- Under Export Your Account Archive, click Request Data.
- You’ll receive an email confirmation request at the address linked to your Fitbit account.
- After you’ve confirmed, another email with arrive with a link to download your Fitbit account data. If you have lots of data it might take a few days before this arrives.
- Download and save the data file to your computer.
The fitness data includes steps, distance, active minutes, calories, floors, heart rate, stationary time, cardio fitness score, exercise history, exercise logs, a summary of your Fitbit Coach workouts and more. It doesn’t include GPS data but this can be exported for each workout individually by choosing the activity in the Exercise tile of the smartphone app, tapping the 3 dots and Export as TCX File.
In addition to your fitness data, the above procedure will also export Fitbit community groups you’re a member of, your profile, your conversations in the Fitbit app, a list of your Fitbit friends and more.
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