“Time to move on”: Fitbit owners fed up with battery problems, Google response

Fitbit Charge 5
Enlarge / The Fitbit Charge 5 came out in September 2021.


Fitbit owners are getting frustrated with Charge 5 fitness trackers quickly losing their charge and, in some cases, exhibiting additional problems. Google has denied that the problems are tied to firmware updates. But users remain skeptical, and some are fed up with Google’s limited response to a recurring problem.

Charge 5 battery complaints

On December 21, Fitbit announced Charge 5 firmware update 194.91 on its support forum. On paper, the update seemed typical, promising things like new clock faces, support for right-to-left text, and “bug fixes and improvements,” per the release notes.

But by early January, there were complaints on the forum from people who said they updated their Charge 5 and then saw their device’s battery suddenly drain much faster. Examples include one user claiming their battery life drains from 100 percent to 0 percent in 25 minutes and others saying their Charge 5 lasts about 12 hours. Most say their Charge 5 no longer lasts for a full day despite staying powered for days between charges before the update. The problems led a user going by Ge0ffh to call his device “completely unusable.”

A user named Disappointed01 said:

My Charge 5 (2yrs [sic] old) was working fine until I ran this update. Now I have to recharge it as least twice a day. Fully charged last night wore it for sleeping & flat when I awoke this morning. Have tried resetting … as per the advice on here. Has made no difference. Really disappointed as I love my Charge 5. I see a direct correlation between this battery issue and the update even though Fitbit reckon that’s not the case.

There are similar recollections and accusations against the firmware update on the support thread, which is 21 pages long as of this writing.

One user on the thread reported that they live in a household with three Charge 5s and that theirs is the only one with the latest firmware update and the only one experiencing problems.

Google denies firmware problem

The BBC was the first to report on concerns about the Charge 5’s latest firmware. Today, it reported that Google denied problems with the update.

“We’re still investigating this issue but can confirm it is not due to the recent firmware update,” a Google spokesperson told the BBC, which noted that Google’s rep “did not offer any alternative explanation.”

The Google spokesperson also advised users to keep updating their devices and to contact customer service if they have problems.

On the thread announcing the update, a Fitbit moderator has also advised users to contact Fitbit and conduct basic troubleshooting.

When I looked through the 21 pages of mostly complaints on the support thread, I saw a few people who reported that the firmware update did not result in Charge 5 problems.

But there are also numerous threads online (examples here, here, here, and here) demonstrating newfound frustration with the Charge 5.

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