Megs Bell started using a Fibit Flex this year, along with her whole family. The device worked well for about four months, but then it started to have problems holding a charge. The battery would drain after less than hour, leaving Bell unable to track her workouts and daily steps.
"It's really frustrating," said Bell, who lives in Maryland. "My family and I, we all compete," to get the most weekly steps, Bell said. So when she opens the Fitbit app and sees her step count dropping with each passing day, "it makes me really sad," she said.
Bell's experience is not unique. While it's unclear how common the problem is, some Fitbit Flex users have posted on forums and social media sites about experiencing issues with their Flex holding a charge after just a few months of use. (The Flex battery generally lasts five days between charges, according to the company.)
The Flex is an older model now, which isn't really considered to be one of the best Fitbits in the range, but if you happen to still own one of them here's what to do to resolve the issue:
- Clean the charger contacts.
- Try charging from a different USB port.
- Try charging from a computer USB port instead of a USB hub.
- Reset your tracker. (For the Flex, this involves pulling the tracker into a USB port, and using a paperclip to press down on a small pinhole on the back of the charger, for three to four seconds.)
Both Bell and Hamilton said that they still experienced charging problems even after trying all of Fitbit's recommendations. If this is the case, Fitbit may replace the tracker free of charge. Hamilton said the company replaced her device, even though it was a gift.
"I love the product (despite the failed battery) but would not have gone out to buy a replacement," Hamilton told Live Science. "My fear of the same issue caused me not to want to make the investment. But I was highly pleased with the way the support team handled my case."
Bell said that out of the four members of her family, she is the only one with a charging problem. Bell also contacted Fitbit customer support, and received an email from the company saying that her Fitbit was draining unusually fast. Bell answered questions about her case by email, and Fitbit sent her a replacement tracker. The new tracker "works like a charm," she said.
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Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.