Image source: Fitbit

What to do if GPS keeps dropping on your Fitbit Charge 4

Is your Charge 4 GPS not connecting? Do you have a problem where the GPS keeps dropping? There are things you can do to help resolve this.


How to use GPS on Fitbit Charge 4

Charge 4 is the latest fitness band from the San Francisco wearables manufacturer. It’s main upgrade is the inclusion of built-in GPS. You won’t find many fitness bands with built-in GPS.

The previous editions only had Connected GPS. This means they require your smartphone in order to obtain a satellite signal.

Using the built-in GPS is very simple. Open the Exercise app on your Fitbit and choose an activity such as walk, run, bike, golf or hike. These are the ones that support GPS tracking. The others don’t so there’s no point in trying.

Wait until the tracker establishes and connects to the satellite. Once the signal is there tap on the play icon to commence your workout.

There are three GPS settings you should be aware of. One is the built-in GPS which works as explained above. There’s also a Phone GPS setting which works like earlier Charge devices – by tapping into the GPS sensors on your smartphone. The final option is called Dynamic. This uses the built-in GPS at the beginning of the workout, but if you have your phone with you it will revert to its sensors to map the route.

You might want to choose the second or third option to preserve battery life. This is done by going into the settings on Charge 4 and tapping on “GPS Settings”.

Of the three options, built-in GPS is much more convenient as it allows for true phone-free exercising outdoors.


GPS doesn’t connect or keeps dropping – what to do

As long as you are using built-in GPS and the connection is stable, your activity tracker will utilise that data to calculate distance, step count and other stats. If the connection is non-existent or drops, your tracker will refer to counting your steps to estimate these metrics.

Built-in GPS doesn’t work

There are a few things you can do to make sure Charge 4 establishes a connection quickly.

For starters, make sure you have a clear view of the sky. This will help with obtaining the signal. Avoid tall buildings, dense forests, steep hills. Even thick cloud cover can make obtaining a connection more difficult, but there’s nothing you can do about that.

Essential reading: What’s inside a fitness tracker?

It’s also a good idea to make sure that GPS is switched on. This is done by opening the Exercise app, choosing the exercise you want to track and swiping up. Make sure the setting is switched to “On”.

Other things you can do include making sure your Charge 4 is topped up to at least 80% battery capacity. This is because using built-in GPS is battery draining.

Fitbit says you should also avoid trying to start an exercise with GPS several times in a row. Apparently, that can cause issues.

There’s a 10 minute window to establish a GPS connection. If your device fails to do so, you’ll be presented with options to end the exercise, change the GPS mode or start the exercise again.

blank screen on charge 4 or problems setting up here what to do 1 - What to do if GPS keeps dropping on your Fitbit Charge 4
Image source: Fitbit

GPS connection keeps dropping

Let’s say you managed to establish the connection and commence your workout. But the signal keeps dropping. For example, the GPS connection gets lost midway through your run. A number of users have reported this issue on Fitbit Community forums. This can be very frustrating as it will mess with the exercise data.

Those who have spoken to Fitbit Support report they’ve been told to restart the device. The other suggestions are along the lines the ones we have listed above such as making sure you have a clear view of the sky.

A Fitbit Moderator on the forum says the following.

“We are aware that some customers are reporting that during a GPS activity, the GPS connection may be lost.” and adds

“If normal troubleshooting steps are unsuccessful, we are working on a resolution and are sorry for any trouble. We appreciate your patience and look forward to getting you back on track.”


None of this works? Revert to Phone GPS.

Hopefully one of the above solutions will have resolved your problem. No? A not-so-ideal workaround can be to revert to using the Phone GPS settings options. It won’t resolve the built-in GPS issue, but at least you’ll be able to put in that workout! And then hope for the best next time around.

If, on the other hand, you suspect your Charge 4 is faulty, the other option is to contact Fitbit Support. They will create a case and further assist you. Or you could exchange the device for another one in the store where you bought it.

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