As good as your Versa, Sense, Charge, Inspire, Luxe or other Fitbit is, sometimes problems will arise. You might find that your fitness tracker or smartwatch won’t turn on or that it has suddenly stopped working. Hopefully one of these ten troubleshooting steps will help get rid of the problem.
Common causes of a Fitbit not turning on
Fitbit has a great range of devices. There’s something for everyone whether you are serious about running or simply want to keep tabs on your health. Popular choices for fitness bands are the newly released Charge 5 and the more discreet Luxe or Inspire 2. Then you have the Versa range for those after a smartwatch. And let’s not forget Sense – the most high spec of the lot.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
Generally Fitbits are pretty reliable. But at times they can be affected by glitches. That is the case for all wearables, whether they are an Apple Watch, a sporty Garmin or a sleek Samsung watch.
When you tap on the Fitbit display or when you move or turn your wrist the screen on your Fitbit should spring to action. But a problem can arrise where the screen just sits there unresponsive refusing to do a thing. It can be very frustrating. Don’t panic.
First, take some comfort in the knowledge that you’re not alone. In fact there are some pretty long threads on Fitbit’s Community Forum about this very issue.
Here’s one such example. In that particular case some users on the Community Forum reported that they left their device charging, only to find out it switched itself off and is refusing to turn back on. Or their device would simply go dead, for no apparent reason, as dead as a dodo.
Well, there are reasons why this might happen – and they can differ. It could be a depleted or bad battery, a faulty charger or charging cable, a software error, etc.
The good news is that most of the time you can fix the problem yourself. It is only when there is a hardware issue, such as a screen that is faulty or broken, that you will need to contact Fitbit Support. If your Fitbit is defective, check out the warranty. You might be able to claim a replacement device.
What to do if my Fitbit won’t turn on?
There are several trouble-shooting steps you can try to resolve the issue of an unresponsive display. In this article we list 10 of the most common ones.
As you can see from above, the cause of a Fitbit not turning on will not be the same for everyone – or every time. So take some time to go through these fixes one at a time. Resolving the problem yourself will save you time in the long-run.
Time needed: 15 minutes
Troubleshooting steps if a Fitbit won’t turn on or is unresponsive
- Restart the device
The first thing you should always do when there’s a problem with a Sense, Charge Versa, Luxe, Inspire or any other Fitbit is to perform a restart of the wearable. For example, on the Versa this is quite easily done by pressing and holding the back (left) and bottom (right) buttons until you see the Fitbit logo on the screen. It should take no longer than 10 seconds. Let go of the buttons.
Some users have suggested a solution where you hold down the buttons on the device for longer. One of them on the Forum says that trying a restart didn’t work but that he kept the three buttons down for about three minutes. Suddenly, the screen flashed up the Fitbit logo. It’s worth a try if the Fitbit won’t turn on. It might take longer than usual to restart.
Don’t worry, your data will still be there sitting on the device. It is not going anywhere. This is because a restart is different from a factory reset in that it does not wipe away any data. So you will still get credit for those steps. Think of it as a “soft” reboot. The exact instructions on how to do a restart for each Fitbit can be found on this link.
- Has the battery been depleted? Try fully charging the Fitbit.
Hopefully all is good and your fitness watch is back to life now. If not, perhaps there may be a problem with the charger and your Fitbit has simply run out of battery juice.
Try charging it up to 100%. If you’re having problems with this, we’ve pulled together a detailed guide on what to do if your Fitbit is not charging.
The gist of it is that you should make sure there is no residue on the tracker or charger cable, plus you should make sure the tracker is properly aligned with the charging pins. Also check if the USB port or electricity outlet is working. This is done simply by plugging the charger cable into another power outlet. On most Fitbits you’ll feel a vibration when the connection is successful. It could also be a faulty cable. This is easily resolved by purchasing a new charging cable – a $5-$10 expense.
- Throughly clean the device
Pretty self-explanatory. Clean the device. In fact Fitbit recommends that you do this from time to time. There may be dust, grime or dirt interfearing with the tech.
It should go without saying that you should not use soap or cleaning agents for this. Or cleaning wipes for that matter. Nope. Only use fresh water and a soap-free cleanser to clean everything. Also make sure to wipe the charging contacts and pins (charging ports) on the charging cable. This can also be done with a toothbrush and rubbing alcohol. Dry everything with a cloth or tissue when done.
- Make sure that your Fitbit is not in water-lock mode
Water-lock is something that you do not want to keep switched on. Inspire 2 has this and the functionality automatically switches on when you are in water. If not you can manually turn it on. Otherwise the Fitbit will not track your swim session.
Water-lock should also be enabled when you are taking a shower or bath. The feature blocks the screen and buttons rendering them useless. As described here, you should double tap the screen firmly to get out of water-lock.
- Double-check the display’s brightness settings – perhaps it is too dark
You may have inadvertantly switched the brightness setting of your Fitbit to dim. It has been known to happen. Or perhaps a software glitch caused this.
The issue is easily rectified by navigating to the Settings menu on your Fitbit device. Choose the screen option and the setting for brightness will show up. Tap on it and you’ll be able to adjust. On some devices the choice is between dim, normal and auto. It really depends on the Fitbit that you own.
- Has the Screen Wake been set to auto? If not it will refuse to wake up when you raise your wrist
The screen wake setting can be set to manual or auto. The first requires you to interact with the device (for example press a button, touch the display) in order for the display to spring to life.
You can tweak this in the settings. On Charge 3 and 4 press and hold the button and swipe left, then tap Screen Wake. On Charge 5 and Luxe, swipe down from the top of the screen to access quick settings. You’ll find the option there. On Sense and Versa 3 you’ll need to swipe right from the clock face to open quick settings.
Perhaps an easier way of doing this is via the Fitbit smartphone app. Fire it up, click on the Today tab and than on your profile image. Now select your device image. The Quick View function that controls this setting can be found on this page.
Or go to the fitbit.com dashboard. Click on the gear icon and then on your device image. Then look for the Quick View option to tweak the setting.
- Change your clock face to a different one.
Sometimes the clock face could be the cause of screen issues. Go to the smartphone app and choose a different one. Our suggestion is to go for a standard clock face – this is the safest option. Do a sync in order for the change to take affect. It might be worth performing a restart of your Fitbit after syncing.
- Make sure you are running the latest version of the firmware
Installing the latest software does come with risks, but most of the time you are better off doing this. Subsequent versions of firmware are there to squash bugs and install fixes. Perhaps there is a glitch in the software that needs rectifying. You can check if there’s new firmware for your Fitbit in the smartphone app.
- Do a factory reset of the Fitbit
A factory reset should be your last resort. Your Fitbit is still dead and unresponsive. It simply won’t wake up and you’ve gone through the list above. Do a factory reset.
Remember – this is not the same as a restart. It will return the tracker to its condition when you bought it – so all the data that is on it will be tied off. You will start with a clean slate. A factory reset also unpairs the Fitbit from your account so you will need to reconnect it.
How a factory reset is done differs depending on the Fitbit that you own. You can read our detailed guide on this link. For newer devices a factory reset is done by navigating to the Settings app on the device, choosing About, scrolling to Factory reset, and following the subsequent instructions to perform this. Give it a few minutes to do its thing and you might find that the screen has sprung back to life.
- Contact Fitbit customer support
If none of this works, there is the chance your Fitbit is faulty or there is a problem with the charger. Which means you will need to replace one or the other with a new one. In this case it’s best to contact Fitbit’s Customer Support Team and start the warranty process.
The simplest way to do this is to go to contact customer care in the Fitbit app. Navigate to the trouble shooting section and select online chat.
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