A Fitbit Nitpick

Technology, when implemented properly, can help us in our daily lives. It keeps us organized; it lets us work more quickly and efficiently; and it can make communication effortless.

Nike's iPod Sport Kit

Nike’s iPod Sport Kit

One relatively newer benefit of technology is in the area of health and fitness. For example, I’ve been using Nike’s Nike+ Running technology on my treadmill for a few years now. It tracks my duration, speed, pace, even calories burned, thanks to a small Nike sensor I’ve placed in my shoe that talks to my iPhone.

I decided to augment my setup with further gadgets (like I do), to get an even better bead on how I’m doing, fitness-wise. Since I wanted something that would talk to my iPhone 4S, I headed to the Apple Store where I got my phone. I was surprised by how many different items are available, both at their physical stores, and online, in the health & fitness category.

The Aria scale

The Aria scale

The first device I picked out was the Fitbit Aria™ Wi-Fi Smart Scale, which transmits your weight, BMI, and body fat percentage, over the internet, to your personalized dashboard page at fitbit.com. I bought this because, while it’s useful to have a gadget that tracks your movement, it’s also useful to have a gadget that reminds you WHY you need to move. I was hoping to shed some of this winter weight. The scale also has the benefit of displaying your weight after you’ve stepped off. With my eyes not as sharp as they once were, sometimes it’s hard to read the tiny numbers of an old-fashioned analog scale while standing on it. The Aria™ scale has you stand on it while it performs its calculations, then it tells you “step off” and only then does it display your weight. It then transmits its data to your Fitbit profile (which you have set up prior to the first weigh-in). The rest–meeting your fitness goals–is up to you. Fitbit helps you stay motivated with achievement badges like in a video game: I’m very proud of my “5 lb Loss” badge, considering as of this writing, I’ve only had the scale for a week.

The Fitbit One tracker.

The Fitbit One tracker.

The other gadget I got was more of a challenge. Many such gadgets, especially the pedometers and other biometric sensors, talk to the iPhone (and iPod Touch, etc.) via Bluetooth, the ubiquitous wireless standard that lets us use our phones hands-free. Comparing the various devices’ strengths and weaknesses, I decided on the Fitbit One™ Wireless Activity & Sleep Tracker. I was particularly intrigued by the possibility of tracking my sleep cycle, to see what kind of tosser-and-turner I really am.

Since I had already set up a Fitbit account with my scale, adding the One™ tracker was a very simple process. What followed, however, was not.

I discovered that, while there is a program to sync my Nike run data to my Fitbit account, it is impossible to use the Fitbit Bluetooth tracker at the same time as my Nike+ shoe sensor, even though that sensor isn’t strictly speaking Bluetooth. I spoke to both Nike and Apple and confirmed that bluetooth functionality is disabled on the iPhone while the Nike sensor is in use. This would also mean I couldn’t use Bluetooth headphones while I ran, but that’s another blog post.

Seeing as I had a longer “history” with my Nike device, I opted to keep it and send the Fitbit device back. And this is where I ran into the headache. Nowhere in the fitbit dashboard is there the option to remove a device. Adding one is as simple as can be, but the reverse is far from true. Unclear as to how to proceed, I e-mailed Fitbit. This was their response:

Hello Craig,

We are sorry to hear that you want to return your Fitbit One. Unfortunately, there is no way to remove the tracker from your Dashboard. You can further use your current Fitbit Account without using the One, and it won’t affect anything in the Dashboard. If you want to a Fitbit Account only for your Fitbit Aria, you well have to cancel the account and make another and the information recorded by your Aria will be lost when you cancel your Fitbit Account.

Regarding your question about other Fitness devices enabled with Wi-Fi, let us inform you that for the moment only the Aria scale works with wireless technology. We will consider this idea for future devices.

Thank you so much for your time.

Rita Isabelle and the Fitbit Team

My response:

Seriously? It’s a simple enough process to add a device, why can’t one be removed? That’s a serious hole in your otherwise very enjoyable system.

How can I wipe my settings from the One so I can box it up and return it? I worry that if somebody else uses it improperly it will log the data into my account.

I strongly urge you to add the ability to remove devices as easily as they can be added.

Thank you.

Finally, they responded:

Hello Craig,

We are sorry to hear that you want to return your Fitbit One. Your Fitbit can be returned for a refund. You can read our full return policy on our website by going to http://www.fitbit.com/returns. There is currently no way to delete data from your tracker.

I gingerly re-packed my tracker (taking care not to jostle it, because each movement gets stored in it as “activity”) and brought it back to the Apple store where I bought it. The helpful salespeople took it back and assured me it was not going back on their shelves (the darn thing still had my name in its digital display!) but rather, back to Fitbit.

Before you put yourself through this, make sure that you absolutely want to use this, and that you don’t have any devices with which it may conflict. Because once you have a Fitbit One™, it’s yours forever (as far as they’re concerned).

On the upside, I’m pretty sure all this stress burned some calories.


3 thoughts on “A Fitbit Nitpick

  1. Steve

    Found this on a Facebook page “Fitbit To remove the scale from your account, please do the following:
    1. Log in to your Fitbit Dashboard.
    2. Go to http://www.fitbit.com/settings/device/scale

    3. Choose the scale that you would like to delete.
    4. In the middle of the page, please choose the ‘People’ tab.
    5. On the right, under the ‘Invite People’ link, there will be an X. Choosing the X next to your name will delete your scale from your account.”
    Worked for me.
    Regards, Steve


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