Image source: Fitbit

[updated] Users continue to vent frustration about Fitbit Charge 5 battery drain

Original story (published on July 27, 2022) follows:

Some Fitbit Charge 5 owners are reporting they are experiencing excessive battery drain. This is despite a recent firmware update which claims to have fixed the issue.

In an ideal scenario, your Charge 5 should run about a week between charges, and 5 hours with GPS switched on. But users have been reporting that their battery would die quickly, sometimes within a few hours.

The software version 1.171.50 that is meant to address this problem was issued about a week ago. Initially, the change-log only mentioned a Find Phone feature and new watch-faces. But this has since been updated to state that they have “fixed a battery drain issue some customers may have experienced with GPS-enabled devices.”

It may be that Fitbit suspected that GPS stayed on post activity on these devices and that resolving this would fix the problem. But the battery drain problem seems to be wider. Frustrated and angry users on Fitbit forums are still reporting the issue, despite updating to the latest firmware version.

Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets

To make matters even worse, some users are reporting that their device has become unresponsive. Black screen, no monitor activity on the back, it won’t even restart. And a few Charge 5 owners which had wearables that were working just fine before the upgrade, are now reporting their device would quickly drain to zero!

“My Charge 5 worked fine before the firmware update. The battery would last for several days, sometimes up to a week,” one users on the Fitbit Community Forum says.

“After the update it now goes from 100% to dead within two hours. So frustrating, it’s essentially become useless.”

Having said that, some Charge 5 owners are reporting that the update has fixed their issue. So it seems to be a mix.

Fitbit has since responded on the forums to address the complaints.

If the screen is not responsive for any reason or the battery is not charging, make sure to follow the steps listed in this article and complete a three pulse restart method as described here

Battery life should also be improved after the update, make sure that you’ve completed the update if you’re still having this issue. In the meantime, please review the steps listed here.

The three pulse restart method they mention consists of plugging your device into the charger. Then pressing the button located on the flat end of the charger 3 times, pausing for 1 second between presses. Then you should wait 10 seconds or until the Fitbit logo appears. You might want to let your Charge 5 battery drain all the way down to zero before attempting to do this.

The company adds that “the update is still being rolled out and you should all receive it soon”. However, the chorus of complaints has continued on the Community Forum.

Typical troubleshooting steps when experiencing battery drain

We have published a detailed post on what to do if you are experiencing a battery drain on your Fitbit. The typical solutions are to restart your tracker, clean the device as well as the charging cable, and to make sure the USB port is functioning fine.

Other things you can do with Charge 5 are to make sure you are using a simple clock face as the more complicated ones may eat into battery life. Also, make sure you don’t have the always-on screen option switched on and that the display is set to manual wake.

Beyond that, there is little you can do apart from waiting for Fitbit to issue a fix. If you suspect your device is faulty, it is best to contact the company’s support channels as you may be eligible for a replacement device.

Update (published on October 1st, 2022):

More than two months after the rollout of update 1.171.50, some users are continuing to report the issue. This thread on the Fitbit Charge 5 forum has grown to over 77 pages. So it seems the software refresh has not fixed the problem for all fitness band owners. The company has not issued any further firmware updates nor has it changed the suggested steps to resolve the issue.

However, some users have reported they have received a choice between replacement device and a 50% discount towards a purchase for another Fitbit. So if you are still experiencing battery drain frustrations or your device has been bricked by the latest update, contact Fitbit support. Also, if your device is working fine and you have not updated to the latest firmware version, you may want to consider not upgrading at all.

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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.

2 thoughts on “[updated] Users continue to vent frustration about Fitbit Charge 5 battery drain

  • I recently went through the similar problem of first rapid discharge, with the next day finding my fitbit charge 5 to be ‘bricked’, where it would immediately die once being disconnected from the charger. After 3 circuitous discussions with customer support, who continued to blame the immediate fitbit death upon my ‘looking at my watch too often’ or not ‘maximizing battery life settings’ I finally screenshot my sync screens to show how quickly it lost charge once disconnected.

    Despite owning the charge 5 for just over 1 year (1 month outside their ‘warranty’) Fitbit did not offer me a replacement device but instead only 35% off a new product . I have been a fitbit customer for years now and was one of the users to pre-order the charge 5. After the disappointing customer service based on a problem causes by fitbit’s software updates, I’m disheartened that this is how they are addressing it – by asking me to spend more money on an overall unreliable product and software.

  • My scenario is exactly the same. Owned for just over a year. It stopped providing sleep score and stopped accurately displaying sleep hours. Then, it stopped providing heart rate. Then it would not hold a charge over night. Same BS from the customer reps. They did offer me 35% discount on a new watch. I told them no, that maybe it was time to get an Apple Watch.


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