If you have a Paying Fitbit 5, you can prevent the installation of the latest patch. Many reports from disgruntled Fitbit users claim that their fitness tracker is no longer working properly after installing firmware version v194.61.
Released in late June, the update should only introduce new features and (ironically) bug fixes. This saw the introduction of right-to-left text notifications for various Asian languages as well as all exercise modes being widely available in the Exercise app.
However, after installing the patch, people started experiencing sudden battery drain. The device can no longer hold a charge properly. One user said that their tracker “charges very slowly… then disconnects [it] from the charger, it restarts then drops to one percent. Some even claim their Charge 5 is completely bricked – it won’t work anymore. All they see is a black screen and nothing to bring back the visuals.
So far, Google’s parent company has not commented on the problem. Fitbit, on the other hand, tried to solve the issue by making some suggestions. A moderator of the official forums posted a series of fixes people may try to restore what they wear. Solutions range from simply changing the Charge 5’s clock face to completing a “three-pulse restart method with the charging cable.”
However, based on recent post comments, none of these “fixes” seem to be working. People still have bricked gadgets.
Besides recommending such fixes, Fitbit has done nothing but further frustrate their customers. So far, the company has not offered a full refund or replacement to affected customers. Stated in some publications that the company is giving people a 35 percent discount on the new Charge 5; assuming the faulty device was still under warranty when it stopped working. As it turns out, the warranty only lasts for one year. If you got yours earlier than that and the warranty has run out, you’re out of luck. You will not get the discount.
Due to this situation, we strongly recommend disabling automatic updates on your smartphone to prevent the patch from reaching your Charge 5 until something more concrete has been done.
Worst case scenario
It’s unknown if Google or Fitbit are working on a fix; although we think they might. Some users in the initial forum post said that their device was still running on the old firmware which means there is a chance that the software roll out was temporarily stopped. We asked Google if it wants to make a statement about the bricking problem and if it plans to release a fix. This story will be updated when we hear back. Hopefully, the bug is quickly addressed.
This situation could not have come at a worse time. Amazon Prime Day 2023 will begin on July 11, an event where a ton of gadgets on the platform will see major price cuts. Other companies such as Walmart and Best Buy hold their own events. If you’re thinking of picking up a Charge 5 during Prime Day, though, you might want to think again; at least for now.
In the meantime, check out TechRadar’s list of best fitness tracker for 2023 if you really want one. Consider something like third generation Oura ring or Amazfit Blip.