Image source: Fitbit

Blank screen on Charge 4 or problems setting up? Here’s what to do.

Some users who have purchased a Fitbit Charge 4 are reporting a blank screen issue which is preventing them from setting up their new device. Here are our tips on what to do to resolve the issue.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

Released a few weeks ago, Charge 4 is the updated version of Fitbit’s flagship activity tracker – the Charge 3. The main upgrades are built-in GPS and NFC as default. Apart from a few software extras, everything else has been ported over from the predecessor device.

Well, it seems that this includes an issue that sometimes plagued Charge 3 users – a blank/black display. We wrote about this about a year ago. The Fitbit Community forum has hundreds of posts discussing the problem.

What happens is that the display simply stops responding. The fitness tracker remains active, vibrates when buttons are pushed or notifications come through, and still syncs fine to the app. But you can’t see anything.

Some Charge 4 owners are saying they are hitting the problem when trying to set up their new device. Their fitness tracker is dead on arrival!

Blank screen on Charge 4 or problems setting up? Here’s what to do.
Image source: Fitbit

Blank screen during initial setup

If you’re one of the unlucky ones and are hitting this issue right from the start, here are some things to try. These suggestions are also valid if you have managed to set up your Charge 4 but the display has gone blank at some point.

First, try plugging the charging cable into another power outlet, ideally a UL-certified wall charger instead of a USB hub or PC. Whilst you do this, make sure the pins in the cradle are properly aligned with the pins on Charge 4.

You should feel a vibration when there is a proper connection – this means your fitness band has started charging. Soon you’ll see a battery/icon percentage along with a smiley face. When you charge for the first time, it might take up to 15 seconds for this to occur.

Even if you see this the display might go blank if it times out. Make sure you follow the instructions to set everything up quickly enough. If it has timed out, take the Charge 4 off the charger for 10-15 minutes and plug it back in. Try not to let it time-out next time during the installation.

Now at least you know your Fitbit is working. With the display on and the device charging, you should be able to complete the setup process.

Blank screen during use

You have your Charge 4 working, and it’s tracking your steps, sleep and activity and syncing to the app. Hopefully all should be well from that point on. Unfortunately a few users are reporting the blank screen issue even if their tracker is up and running.

The suggestions on resolving this are exactly the same as for Charge 3. The first thing to always do if you’re experiencing a problem with your fitness tracker or smartwatch is a hard reboot. This restarts the device but does not wipe any data off of it.

To restart press and hold the button on the left of its screen for 8 seconds. When you see a smiley icon and the tracker vibrates, your Charge 4 has restarted. It should be ready for action now.

The other solution is a bit more long winded. It consists of first unpairing the device from your account in the smartphone app, removing the Charge 4 from the Bluetooth settings on your smartphone, restarting the fitness band and setting it up again in the smartphone app. This is actually the solution that Fitbit Support suggests people try.

Finally, also worth a mention is something that Charge 3 owners have found works. It consists of changing the clock face in the Fitbit app. It seems this caused the issue in some cases. Once synced, your screen may spring back to life.

All of these solutions are worth a go. If the screen on your Charge 4 is still blank, perhaps you have a faulty device. In this case it’s best to contact Fitbit Support directly.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

5 thoughts on “Blank screen on Charge 4 or problems setting up? Here’s what to do.

  • Are you kidding?
    A product doesn’t work right out of the box, and you want the buyer to spend time hacking it to get it to work. You bring the damn thing back and never buy that brand again

  • So very disappointed with my new Fitbit Charge 4. No matter what I do, I can’t activate anything on the screen of my Fitbit and it won’t sync to my phone. Christmas Bust ! So flustered with the amount of time spent to still not make any difference. Bought online through one of the biggest “ on line” stores. But can’t return due to it being purchased weeks prior to Christmas, thus now being past the 30 days grace to return. Money wasted for a product that doesn’t work and can’t return. How much worse can 2020 get?

  • I have a fit bit 4 and the screen is black.
    Nothing happens when I press the button on left side. If I press the back a green light comes on momentarily.
    I get reports on my iPhone— the Fitbit is useless to me!
    So frustrating— would not recommend to anyone— quite the reverse

  • I just bought my Fitbit Charge 4 today and I am having the same problem with a black screen. I feel a vibration if I press the button on the side but nothing shows up on the screen and does not link up via Bluetooth with my iPhone. I was on the phone with the Fitbit support team and now I am awaiting an email response after sending photos of my receipt and the serial number on the box. I hope I am able to receive a refund or a new device. Extremely disappointing.

    • Sounds like it could be a faulty device. You should be able to get a refund or exchange for another one.


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