Image source: Fitbit

How to change the time on a Fitbit smartwatch or fitness tracker

This article is a part of our fix it series. Our topic today is how to change the time on your Fitbit smartwatch or fitness tracker. It turns out, this is quite easy to do.

The clocks moved back one hour today in Europe. The same is set to happen in the US on the first Sunday of November, which this year falls on November 1. Typically, regions that use daylight savings time shift the time forward at the beginning of spring and reverse it in the autumn. This ensures daylight lasts longer during the summer months.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

If you have a Fitbit, you may be wondering if there’s anything you need to do to adjust the clock. Knowing how to do this might also come in handy if the time is incorrect or you are traveling across different time zones – you want the device on your wrist to be on the correct time zone. It could mean the difference between being or not being on time for that flight out.


How to change or update the time on a Fitbit

The time change should be automatic

We can waffle on and some articles do – but there’s no need to. To cut a long story short, your Fitbit device gets the time from your iPhone, Android device or other smartphone or computer that you use to sync. As long as your mobile phone or pc has the correct time, the Fitbit on your wrist should display the correct time as well. Just make sure to open the Fitbit app to allow for a sync. This should ensure that any change registers.

If the automatic sync does not update the time on your wearable device, do can this manually by choosing sync now. If that doesn’t work you may want to try restarting the Fitbit, the mobile app and/or your smartphone.

Now working? You can change the time manually

If this has not worked then there’s a problem with the Automatic time zone detection. Perhaps it is not switched on. Check by doing the following:

  1. From the Fitbit app dashboard, tap the Account icon / profile picture in the top-right.
  2. In the menu that opens, you’ll find your personal info. Scroll until you see Advanced Settings. Tap on this.
  3. Check to see if the Automatic time zone option is switched on. If it is off, change it to on and do a sync. If it was already on, there’s something wrong. In that case go to step 4.
  4. Toggle off the Automatic time zone option. It will now be on manual.
  5. Choose Select time Zone, tap time zone you are in and submit the new clock display time.
  6. Sync your tracker to make the changes effective.

Here’s a screenshot of the app that shows the setting.

Automatic Time Zone Setting Fitbit
Automatic Time Zone Setting

This will in all probability work and can also be done from the fitbit.com dashboard by clicking the Gear icon and Settings Personal Info. Your Fitbit’s time should now be correct. The procedure is the same whether you have a Fitbit Charge, Fitbit Versa, Ionic, Ace, Luxe, Sense. It makes absolutely no difference. That is because all of these devices use the same app.

However, changing the time zone option to manual is not the ideal way of updating the time. This is because it means you’ll need to manually go through the app settings whenever the the time changes. It is better to get the auto option to work. Typically a restart and sync should resolve all issues so try this before tweaking the time zone option setting.

In case you were wondering, the above steps can also be used to change the Clock Display Time. That option is also sits under Advanced Settings. By going into this section you can decide between time shown in 12-hour or 24-hour format. People are pretty divided in terms of which option they prefer. I personally like the 24-hour clock format so tend to stick to that.

How to change time on a Fitbit smartwatch or fitness tracker
Image source: Flickr (Mike Licht) – no changes made.

Some of your fitness and sleep data might be off

It is important to note, some features on your wearable may be affected on the day the time shifts occurs. All of these discrepancies should resolve themselves by the next day.

For example, because of a 1 hour discrepancy your sleep logs for that night may be screwed. You can correct this manually in the app by clicking the Today tab, then selecting the sleep tile. Identify the sleep log in question, tap the three dots next to it and select the option to edit. Then simply adjust the time so that it reflects the correct number of hours you slept that night. Or just leave it, things will be back to normal the following day.


Don’t forget the alarms

One thing to keep in mind is that the alarms may be incorrect by the 1 hour the day the time shift happens. If you have an important meeting, it might be a good idea to set up a backup alarm to account for the possibility of the incorrect time showing on your Fitbit.

Finally, you may get woken up by hourly activity goal reminders when moving to a different time frame. If this is a problem, simply turn the reminders off temporarily and enable them the next day.

Fitbit also recommends switching on the All-Day Sync option on the days that the clock moves forward or backward. This insures the time on your wearable updates more quickly and helps to avoid some of the above issues.

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