Fitbit Charge 5 users left in the dark after firmware update – Gadgets & Wearables

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Some Fitbit Charge 5 users are facing a significant issue following a recent firmware update. Version 194.61 of the software has rendered their devices unusable. Despite numerous complaints from users, Fitbit’s support team is still struggling to resolve the issue.
The software refresh started rolling out in the latter part of June as part of a Google Pixel feature drop. For Charge 5 it includes the addition of the Daily Readiness Score on the device itself. The fitness band can now display the complete list of exercise modes and there’s a few more clock faces. The update also expands language support for global characters and right-to-left text in phone notifications.
Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets
However, the software refresh, intended to enhance device performance, has rendered many devices non-functional or “bricked.” Some Charge 5 owners are reporting their activity tracker won’t turn on, sync, or charge.
This problem has caused a surge of complaints on Fitbit community forums. Users are expressing their frustration and disappointment over the unexpected malfunction caused by what was supposed to be a routine firmware update.
Unfortunately, the response from Fitbit has been slow. Despite the problem surfacing 11 days ago, the support team is still struggling to offer a fix.
So far they have only suggested the usual troubleshooting steps. This includes completing the 3 pulse restart using the charging cable; syncing the device via the Fitbit app; checking for firmware updates under the Charge 5 tile in their profile; changing the clock face to resolve display issues. Finally, users can also try to hold the button until the Fitbit logo blinks, release, wait 1-2 seconds, then hold the button again until a circle screen appears.
But none of this has worked for most of the people experiencing the problem.
Adding to the frustration, Fitbit’s support for out-of-warranty Charge 5 devices has been less than satisfactory. Users with devices no longer covered by the 1-year warranty have been offered a mere 35% discount code. This can be used for purchasing a new device from the Fitbit store.
Needless to say, many users are feeling betrayed. They feel they are expected to foot a considerable portion of the bill for a problem that was caused by the company’s dodgy update.
In a year that has been less than stellar for Fitbit, its handling of the recent issues has left many users questioning their commitment to customer satisfaction. The problems with the Charge 5 update have raised serious doubts about the reliability of Fitbit devices and the company’s ability to effectively manage and respond to crises.
As the Charge 5 is likely to be promoted as a Prime Day deal, potential buyers are left with a critical question. Why invest in a device that could potentially become dysfunctional upon receiving and updating it to the latest firmware? The company’s slow response, the absence of effective solutions, and the perceived indifference towards users with out-of-warranty devices have all fueled a growing sense of dissatisfaction within the Fitbit community.
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Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.
I had this issue with my daughter’s a couple of weeks ago. In addition to what you listed, there is a terms and conditions update that doesn’t automatically pop-up for Google. We did a combination of update the app, uninstall, forget the Bluetooth and redo and it eventually went. If you don’t see the new terms and conditions notification from google, you didn’t go deep enough. The Charge 5 has been an issue since we got them. I often have to log out and sync them to a different phone and for whatever reason that will unlock it, then it can be synced back to the original phone. The coding is bad. There has always been a glitch where they are waiting for the phone to request if notifications can be sent that freezes the whole process if the pop-up doesn’t pop-up.
My Charge 5 works, but a full charge only lasts about an hour.
I will never purchase another Fitbit. The update completely bricked my Charge 5.
Mine is doing the same thing.
My Fitbit Charge 5 clasps failed causing me to lose my device in less than 5 months! Warranty would not cover it since it was lost. This was a device failure not my fault. On the community page others have complained about the same problem! I called Fitbit to no avail. This is pathetic!!! I have used Fitbit for years. I am disgusted!
Same issue as mentioned. Never going back to Fitbit after the poor customer service received.
I was looking to buy on of these to replace my Amazon Halo. Now? FORGET IT!
Even before this firmware issue the charge 5 has suffered from many issues that would cause it to stop working or no longer hold a charge for more than a few hours. I personally had 4 replacements in the span of a year and eventually got a refund weekend the 4th one failed. Fitbit has a serious quality issue with this device, just check the forums, they are filled with complaints. It’s a real shame, the device itself is great when it works but Fitbit has really dropped the ball with quality and customer support.
I have the charge 3, and I’ve had the same issue. Fully charged, pulsing, updated but only a blank screen. Fitbit customer service is nonexistent. Never again.
This article is all over the forums, but the f-ing dipshits running support there have NOT added anything to the pinned tweet cautioning people not to updated. I guess that’s one way to sell more devices on Prime Day!
My Fitbit stopped working after swimming in the ocean with the water lock on. I chatted with fit bit support but their recommendation to restart the device was not helpful. I have used charge 5 in a swimming pool many times and never had an issue. I’m wondering if the salt water is the issue or the new updates. Unfortunately I am 5 months past warranty date.
I hate to break this to you but it was 100% the salt water. I believe they even recommend not swimming in the ocean with it.
I don’t even swim with mine in a pool because of the chlorine. The devices ARE IP68, but IP68 testing is done with “clean” (i.e. distilled) water in optimal conditions. I believe they ALSO recommend to not swim with it either, which is ironic considering it has a mode to track swimming.
Salt, chlorine, or anything like that can start to “eat away” at the waterproofing. And, because of the salts and chlorine in those bodies of water, they can also cause it to short out much easier, as they are ionized (hence why you can dunk almost any electronic in a bucket of DEIONIZED water, because is the floating ions in the water that cause electrical shorts, not necessarily the water itself.
I’m glad I read this article as I’m in IT and always keep app my stuff completely updated and patched in every regard. So at least I know not to use this firmware update lol.
Same thing happened with us.. never going to buy a fitbit again
Charge 5 is my first fitbit, before that garmin, samsung, and other chinese brand, 1 thing regarding this device, an expensive dissapointment, unreliable, and left me wondering what are the real contribution of their software update dept.? Putting fire with gasoline.
I had a similar issue with my Versa 3 a few months back. It updated and then it would no longer take a charge and they couldn’t troubleshoot it, so I got the same resolution since it was out of the 1-year warranty, 35% off the next purchase. I was skeptical but thought maybe since it had been a couple years old, maybe I just needed a new one, but now it’s seeming more like a fitbit scheme to get you to buy a new product. 🤔
My Charge 5 is dead after update. I have been using Fitbit since 2016. Bought Charge 5 in February 2023. Fibit said I purchased from an unauthorized retailer. Warranty is void. Awaiting my new Amazfit tracker. Never going back to Fitbit.
I have had a Fitbit for a number of years and am now using a Charge 5. Mine has not yet updated but have had syncing issues on and off since new. I signed up for the premium service but am not impressed. This is my last Fitbit as the battery is now starting to fail. I am going to bit the bullet and get an Apple watch. It is obvious that Google is not the company that Apple is. I am done even if I end up losing more than half a year on my less than stellar Fitbit Plus subscription. I refuse to buy another Fitbit watch (this is like the 4th one in as many years).
I changed the clock face and it worked for me. Before, I only saw 5 dots.
I have a Fitbit 5.
I’ve been a long-term Fitbit user, as my 3 Fitbits die on me I’ll not replace them. The reason for 3 Fitbits is to rotate them. I also wear an Apple Watch 7 and I’ve noticed that the Fitbits are off in miles walked compared to the Apple as much as 1 mile less. I’ll just go with Apple Watch when the Fitbits die, it was a big mistake for Fitbit to sell to Google, I believe a lot of the problems we are having are Google shortchanging Fitbit, and for that I won’t buy a damn Google either.Al
I have been with Fitbit since the inception of the company and loved it. There was great customer service, the community interaction/challenges/badges were awesome. Cue the Google takeover. Everything changed overnight with no warning. Years of data GONE. Badges I worked hard to achieve GONE. Now the devices work for crap, no customer service and if it you have issues there response is too bad. I will NEVER buy another Fitbit device EVER. I am so disappointed with the absolute disregard for what was a wonderful community.
I had a Charge 5 which suddenly stopped working in a way that from one charging cycle to the other the uptime on one charge dropped from over a week to 9 hours.
My suspicion is that it was due to a recent FW update.
Fitbit sent me a replacement unit as mine was still under warranty. The new one works perfectly but from the very first time on I refused to update the firmware due to my experience.
Now I am happy I did (or didn’t).
My fitbit charge 5 doesn’t sync at all, the battery doesn’t keep more than 3 hours, we tried to do everything what they said but not resolved. I have only 6 months used. I am very disappointed 😞, I have used fitbit from 2o17. I will not buy again if this will not be fixed.
Mine also died. Jumped through all their hoops. Their troubleshooting was useless. Fortunately still under warranty but from the sound of it this one isn’t going to last either. Thanks for article, I thought maybe I did wrong.
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