Image source: Fitbit

Think twice before installing the latest update for Ionic & old Versas

The new firmware update for Fitbit Ionic or old Versa range is causing some devices to get stuck and unresponsive. Our suggestion is – proceed with caution.

The latest version of the operating system (dubbed 4.2.2) has started making its rounds a couple of days ago. It is meant for the ageing Ionic, along with Versa, Versa 2 and Versa Lite.

Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets

But don’t get too excited. The release notes say the software refresh contains “bug fixes and improvements”. So you probably won’t notice any change in the way your wearable functions.

However, a few unlucky customers have noticed a big change – but for the worse! So you may want to hold off on updating the software. In some cases the update has even gone as far as bricking devices, rendering them useless.

Truth be told, any software update comes with risks attached to it. That is not just the case with fitness trackers and smartwatches. While it is usually good to be on the latest version of the software, that is not always the case.

Here are some comments from the Fitbit Community forum:

“In the middle of updating to new firmware yesterday my Versa 2 died, it was charged and plugged in whilst updating and it seemed to be progressing well but just froze and the screen went blank. Gutted as it’s only 16 months old.”

“I had the same thing happen and still haven’t been able to get it working. Any luck?” says another one.

“Mine has died too – 8 weeks outside of the warranty date. I’ve done everything suggested on the forum and on Fitbit chat and nothing,” says a third.

Both Ionic and legacy Versa range customers are experiencing problems with devices becoming unresponsive. Some have mentioned that the sensors have stopped working after the wearable asked to recalibrate.

Having said that, quite a few have installed the update with absolutely no issues. It is still early days to judge the extent of the problem as the update has just started making its rounds.

Fitbit says OS 4.2.2 should be available to everyone in the coming weeks. There are ways to force the upgrade, but we suggest you don’t do this. The purpose of gradual rollouts is to make sure the software is bug free before reaching the majority of customers.

So until you see the update banner appear in the Fitbit app, have patience. Even if you do see the banner, you might want to check Fitbit Community forums before installing to read about other people’s experiences with the update.

Possible workarounds if your device is unresponsive

The first thing to do if your device is stuck and unresponsive is to try and restart your Ionic and Versa. That is always the go-to solution for most problems you might be experiencing with a wearable device.

If the device is unresponsive because the battery no longer charging, there’s another solution you can try. We describe the troubleshooting steps in a separate article, but they basically boil down to cleaning the tracker and charging cable, checking that the USB port and outlet are not faulty and making sure the wearable is securely attached to the charging cable.

If you’ve tried these steps and your wearable is still stuck, the best thing to do is to contact Fitbit directly. There are a number of ways to do this including chat and giving them a call.

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

5 thoughts on “Think twice before installing the latest update for Ionic & old Versas

  • It’s an absolute joke.
    Fitbit routinely damage peoples devices, devices that they own, through their dubious updates.
    If you check the warranty you’ll see that they also accept no responsibility for any software, let’s face it it’s only their software, that gets installed on a device.
    Once your device is bricked customer support, possibly bots, go through the whole copy and paste solutions that never work then refer you to the warranty.
    If you’re lucky you’ve brought it from them, or an approved seller, and it’s still in warranty and they’ll replace it.
    If however you have brought it and it survives past its warranty date, but they damage with an update of theirs. Your out of luck and pocket and they offer you a mildly discounted voucher to buy a newer model.
    If you buy it from a non approved outlet then you are out of luck no matter what. Warranty is void.
    Poor product, bad updates, terrible warranty conditions and a heavily moderated forum make for a not very enjoyable experience.

  • Afrer installing the update my Versa started showing impossibly high BPM readings and freezing up the HR stats. Showed BPM of 200, while manual count and blood pressure cuff showed low 60s. Also stopped showing sleep stats and HR stats on dashboard. Then it developed swiping issues. After 10 re starts and 3 factory resets my Versa is stuck on the clock screen, won’t scroll up down or left right. My wife has the same model and hers is showing high BPM and sleep and HR stat loss on dashboard as well. DON’T INSTALL THIS UPDATE ! ! ! !

    • Exactly the same has happened to my Versa.

  • Before the Versa 2 I had a Charge 3. The first one of those died about 6 months into warranty so Fitbit replaced it. Then replaced it again, then again, then again. So, I took their coupon and got the Versa 2. That died after applying the update. Same symptoms as described above. Now that I’ve gone through 5 charge 3 and 2 Versa 2 I won’t be buying Fitbit again and highly recommend others avoid them or don’t update them.

  • I just installed the latest update for Ionic and old Versas and I’m not sure if I made a mistake. Ionic is crashing all the time and I can’t even open the app store.


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