What To Do When Fitbit is Not Tracking your Heart Rate Correctly

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Why is my Fitbit not reading heart rate correctly? There is nothing more frustrating than our fitness trackers not working like we expect them to. 

As with all things “techy,” there will be times when even your Fitbit experiences problems. 

Let’s look at why your Fitbit may not track your heart right correctly. 

Where Do You Wear Your Fitbit? 

The first thing you need to do is make sure you are wearing your Fitbit in the right way

Your Fitbit can’t track your heart rate accurately unless you wear it to your body, where it picks up your heart rate. 

This is an excellent example of wearing your Fitbit in the wrong place. 

If you like to wear your Fitbit on your ankle in spin class, you will not get a correct reading. So instead, as you are sitting on your bike, look down at your ankle and start peddling. 

You will notice that your Fitbit moves a little bit on your ankle. That means at any one point, it is not close to the skin enough to pick up a reading. On top of that, it is harder for your Fitbit to access a pulse point on your ankle or the lower part of the leg. 

You shouldn’t wear your Fitbit on your ankle or the lower part of your leg. It is easier to damage your Fitbit when you wear it in this way. Also, you are not going to get an accurate reading. 

Your Fitbit is meant to be worn on your wrist. So when you wear it on your wrist, you will get a much more accurate reading. 

Should I Wear My Fitbit On My Wrist? 

Some say that it is a matter of preference, and it varies from person to person, but it seems that your Fitbit records your heart rate more accurately when you wear it on the back of your wrist. 

Of course, it makes it more challenging to see your heart rate when you are exercising as you have to turn your wrist to read your Fitbit. But, as you have more significant arteries on the back of your wrist, there is every possibility that you will get a more accurate reading. Generally, unless you notice an artery on the front of your wrist, you should wear it on the back. Most people have arteries on the front of their arms, but not all. 

Does it matter that much? Wearing your Fitbit on the front of your wrist is undoubtedly easier. However, unless you are going in for a significant competition, wearing your Fitbit on the front of your wrist should not make much of a difference. 

Have You Installed Recent Updates? 

Let’s talk about updates. As with all other fitness trackers, you must install the latest Fitbit app updates. 

That applies to your app as well as your phone. On occasion, you will find that a new update can cause a problem with monitoring vital functions. When you suspect that a new update is the root of the problem, switch your device off and on your work. 

You can also try switching off your phone’s Bluetooth connection. Then, switch it back on again, ensuring that you are within range of your tracker. Of course, that means you have to be within 10 meters for the Bluetooth to work. 

The app on your phone should now synchronize with your tracker. 

The problem with updates on a fitness tracker is that they can cause havoc with settings. For example, a setting may go back to default settings. 

When you experience problems with your Fitbit after an update, always check the function causing a problem. For example, has it gone back to default mode? 

Is Your Fitbit In the Right Mode? 

Some Fitbit models also work on a clip. If you have one of those, it is essential to ensure that your Fitbit is in the proper mode. 

When your Fitbit is on clip-mode, it does not track your heart rate. So when you take it off the clip, you need to make sure you engage in wrist mode. 

The clip mode seems to disengage the heart rate mode automatically. The relevant Fitbit models are supposed to “sense” that they are no longer in a clip. However, there have been reported issues with this function. 

If you are unsure, you should check that wrist mode is engaged. 

Is Your Fitbit Charged? 

As your Fitbit gets older, you may have a few battery issues. If you find that your Fitbit is tracking other functions but not your heart rate, you should make sure that it is 100% charged. 

There is a danger that you can overcharge your device. For example, if you find that you are getting a lot of problems with your Fitbit tracking or not reading your heart rate accurately, it could mean the battery has a problem. 

In a perfect world, you should only charge your device when the battery is low. However, overcharging means that you program in a battery memory. This can lead to functions on your Fitbit not working as they should. 

Is Your Fitbit Not Clean? 

clean fitbit band main

Sweat can leave deposits in the back of your Fitbit. As a result, deposits quickly build-up, and you may notice that your Fitbit is not working as it should be. 

All of the sensors on your Fitbit are on the back. So if you notice your Fitbit isn’t reading your heart rate correctly, it is a good idea to clean your Fitbit. 

Use a clean microfiber cloth without any water or detergents. Pay particularly close attention to the sensors. 

When your Fitbit is particularly dirty, you can use a small amount of alcohol when you clean your Fitbit. 

It is not only dead skin cells, sweat, and dust that get stuck on your Fitbit. You can also experience problems swimming with your Fitbit, especially in saltwater. 

Tiny saltwater crystals easily attach themselves to the sensor. When you have been saltwater swimming, ensure that you follow the previously mentioned cleaning instructions. 

Do You Have A Tattoo? 

Fitbit claims that it does not make a difference if you wear your Fitbit over a tattoo. But, with many years of experience in the fitness space, I know that this can make a difference. 

It does not happen all of the time, but it does happen. For example, perhaps some tattoo inks contain a compound that interferes with the sensors on Fitbit. 

When you suspect this to be the problem, move your Fitbit to a part of your wrist where you don’t have a tattoo. 

Is Your Fitbit Tight Enough? 

This may seem obvious, but it is not. 

You do need to make sure that you wear your Fitbit tight enough for it to pick up readings. 

Wearing your Fitbit too loose or even dangling interferes with the function. On the other hand, it should not be so tight that it hurts. Instead, you should wear your Fitbit tight enough so that all of the sensors are pressed gently against the skin. 

Is Your Heart Rate Sensor On? 

You also need to check that your heart rate sensor is on. 

In the latest models, the heart rate sensor should always be on. So if you know that you have one of the other models without an automatic heart rate sensor function, you need to make sure that it is on. 

Open up the settings on your device and make sure it shows that the heart rate function is either ON or in auto-mode. Even if it is on or in auto, it is good to tap it off. 

Leave it off for a minute. Then, tap it back on after a minute, and you should be good to go. 

Changing Your Clock Face

For some reason, changing your clock face may help. It is an issue that has been talked about in the Fitbit community for a while. 

Why should it make a difference? Unfortunately, it seems that Fitbit users are not sure. But, when all else has failed, you could try changing the Fitbit clock face.

You change the Fitbit clock face from the app. This is how to do it. 

  • The first thing to do is to go to the Today tab.
  • Click on your profile icon or picture
  • Select the device that is having a problem
  • Tap on all clocks and choose a different clock face

Clearing Out The Data

As a last resort, you can clear out any stored personal data. Instead, this is a powerful thing to do as it removes apps and payment information. 

It does not remove any stored synched information, including fitness data. 

Before you do that, trying one more thing is a good idea. It would help if you tried to remove your Fitbit from your account and add it back in. Then, tap on the Fitbit device you would like to remove from the app. 

Go ahead and remove it, making sure that you wait for a couple of minutes before adding it back in. After you have done this, synching your device is the next step. 

In Conclusion

It is frustrating when any device malfunctions, mainly when relying on the device for personal data. 

Fortunately, Fitbit not reading heart rate correctly is rare. Don’t let it frustrate you. Take your time and work through all of the actions slowly.