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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Saqib Shah

Fitbit Charge 5 software update did not make device unusable, Google claims

If your Fitbit Charge 5 is on the blink, the software updates aren’t to blame.

That’s the official word from Google, which acquired Fitbit in 2021. Its response flies in the face of the unofficial diagnosis from affected users, who have been complaining of crippling battery problems with the tracker for months.

"We're still investigating this issue, but can confirm it is not due to the recent firmware update," a spokesperson for Google told the BBC.

However, they stopped short of offering an explanation for the flaws, instead advising users to keep updating the device and to seek help on its customer support site.

As detailed by 9to5Google, the bugs originally surfaced last summer. Back then, affected users began complaining that the Charge 5 was dying following a software update in July. They claimed the battery life was depleting fast or the tracker wasn’t charging at all after running out of juice, essentially rendering it useless. 

Google released a similar-sounding statement at the time, and even offered some owners a discount on newer hardware rather than a replacement.

Although the reports gradually died down, the problems seemed to have resurfaced following another software update in December.

According to Fitbit, the estimated battery life for a new Charge 5 is seven days. Seeing as the tracker was released in 2021, and batteries degrade over time, the mileage you get out of it may be less the more time passes. Nonetheless, it shouldn’t run out after just a couple of hours, as some users have noted online.

“Firmware update killed my Charge 5. Battery life was less than two hours before needing to recharge,” wrote user ChanelHenderson on Fitbit’s community forum on Thursday, February 1.

“I contacted customer service who said I needed to charge [to] 100% then sync at least 9 times and let Charge 5 reach zero battery. Once it hit zero battery could not get any charge to it. Charge 5 was working perfectly before firmware update!”

Others Charge 5 users echoed the comment. “The update immediately bricked my Charge 5. After hours of troubleshooting and follow-up with Fitbit support they refuse to provide a replacement,” wrote a user known as MsDarnWright.

“My Charge 5 just died after the update. I am just getting constant flashing of the FitBit logo. It won't switch on,” noted a user called TeeEm. “The response from Fitbit is as it's one month out of warranty, I should buy a new one! What a joke!” 

In a response to a user on X, formerly Twitter, Fitbit suggested restarting the device. On the Google support website, it says that unresponsive Fitbits can be restarted while they’re connected to the charging cable.

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