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Can You Use a Fitbit Without a Smartphone or Computer?


If you’ve been a Fitbit member for a while, you already know that the best way to see your fitness and activity stats is via the mobile app. But can you use a Fitbit without a smartphone? 

You can use your Fitbit without a smartphone or computer and still get access to useful features, but you’ll need to sync to your account to access recent data about your health and fitness. Without your phone, your Fitbit won’t access streaming services, sleep stats, and connected GPS.  

From what I know, you don’t need to have your phone with you all the time for a Fitbit smartwatch or fitness tracker to work.

However, not connecting the device with your phone means you won’t have data or history about your activity. But the daily live fitness and activity tracking should work as intended.

Do You Need a Smartphone to Use a Fitbit?

You Fitbit device can work without smartphone, tablet, or computer, but it isn’t 100% standalone.

To begin with, you need a smartphone and internet connection to do the initial Fitbit setup. After completion, you can use the device without bringing your phone along with you.

The Fitbit will record stats such as steps taken, calories burned, heart rate, and distance covered. Then, it will store the data locally ready for automatic sync when you’re near your phone, usually within a proximity of 30 feet.

If you don’t want to use your phone, you could synchronize data with a Fitbit dongle and computer within a 2-meter range. This option should work well provided your computer supports Bluetooth connectivity.

Of course, there’s an exception to this possibility.

If you wish to use a Fitbit to map routes when biking, you had better make sure the model you choose includes a built-in GPS system. Otherwise, you’ll need to bring your phone with you so that you can activate and use the connected GPS feature.

Also, Fitbit’s streaming services do require cellular data to work effectively, and, as such, you must have your smartphone within reach.

4 Fitbit Features That Require a Smartphone

Up until now, it’s clear that you don’t necessarily need to have your phone, tablet, or computer in close proximity to get the most out of your Fitbit.

However, some Fitbit features can’t work without your smartphone near you, and they’re as follows:

1. Connected GPS

If you have a Fitbit that doesn’t feature a built-in GPS system and you would like to map routes, calculate pace, and account for distance covered during workouts, you’ll need your phone.

Take the Fitbit Versa 2, for example.

The device doesn’t have an onboard GPS system, but it allows you to take advantage of the connected GPS to get the most out of your workout.

For the connected GPS to work efficiently, the Versa 2 needs to be in close proximity to your smartphone.

The same came applies to all other Fitbit models that don’t include the onboard GPS.

2. Call and Message Alerts

Call and message alerts allow you to stay up to date with the most important things in your life.

The notification could be a concern from a friend, an issue from a loved one, a notice from work, or really just anything you consider too important not to miss.

However, if you use a Fitbit device to help you get these alerts, but you haven’t paired it to your smartphone or the phone is far away, you won’t get notifications.

4. Syncing

One of the reasons why Fitbit fails to sync is the absence of your mobile device.

Fitbit depends on Bluetooth connectivity to connect to and synchronize recent activity from the device to the app.

And given that Bluetooth technology works based on a given range, it’s only possible to establish a connection between the Fitbit device and its primary app in close proximity.

You need to be within 30 feet at least for the synchronization to start and complete, although drawing closer would be much better.

Notably, Fitbit automates the syncing process, so you’ll never have to do this manually unless the process jams up.

4. Sleep Stats View

One of the best things about Fitbit is its ability to track sleep in stages.

The problem is, it’s tedious to view sleep stats directly from the device because you’d have a of screen swiping to do.

Using the Fitbit app to access this information would be more convenient. All you have to do is log into the app and tap on “Today” tab to access your sleep data.

The cool thing about the data in the app is how advanced the information is. In my opinion, the ability to see up to 7 days of sleep data from the Fitbit app makes your smartphone a necessary component to have with you. 

Which Fitbit Does Not Require a Smartphone?

Any Fitbit fitness tracker or smartwatch with a built-in GPS system doesn’t necessarily need a smartphone to work.

When activated, the built-in GPS system will track distance covered, record pace, and even map your workout routes.

As of this writing, the Fitbit models that feature the built-in GPS technology are:

  • Fitbit Sense
  • Fitbit Versa 3
  • Fitbit Charge 5
  • Fitbit Charge 4

The inclusion of a built-in GPS doesn’t take away the need for a smartphone, though.

At the end of the day, you will still need your phone to synchronize data from your Fitbit device to the app and Internet to save the data to the Fitbit server.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can You Use Fitbit without Internet?

You can use your Fitbit smartphone or fitness band without Wi-Fi connection because it doesn’t need Internet connection to operate.

The Bluetooth technology is what your Fitbit needs to connect to your phone, and you must activate it on both gadgets for them to work together.

However, you must connect your smartphone to the Internet to synchronize your health and fitness stats to the Fitbit server.

2. Can You Use Fitbit without the App?

You can use your Fitbit device without the app, so you don’t necessarily have to bring your smartphone with you to your workouts.

However, you’ll need to synchronize your data to the app if you want to see a detailed report of your recent data.

3. Does Fitbit Needs to Be Near a Phone to Work?

Your Fitbit device doesn’t necessarily need to be near a phone, a tablet, or a computer to work. As I mentioned before, the live fitness an activity tracking should work perfectly.

However, you’ll still need your phone to get the most out of your setup.

You will need your phone near you if:

  • You need to sync data from the device to your Fitbit account. 
  • You want to take advantage of the connected GPS because your Fitbit model doesn’t feature a built-in GPS.

Final Words

You can use your Fitbit smartwatch or fitness tracker without a smartphone or computer. Not to mention you don’t even need Wi-Fi to operate the device.

However, your phone, tablet, or computer and Internet connection are important for syncing data to your Fitbit account.

And besides, a smartphone, tablet, or computer is the only device via which you can access comprehensive data about your health, fitness, and activities based on Fitbit tracking.

So while it’s possible to use a Fitbit device without a smartphone or internet, you will need your phone and Wi-Fi connection at one point in time.   

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Michael Jonathan

Michael Jonathan is the brainchild of Apelo Studio. He loves talking about wearable devices, and he is passionate about helping you push your wearable device to its limits. His creativity and ability to tear electric components apart and put them back together makes him an incredible troubleshooter and blogger.

29 thoughts on “Can You Use a Fitbit Without a Smartphone or Computer?”

  1. It doesn’t tell you how to use the watch without a smart phone. All I want is heart rate – pedometer and distance. But I am no wiser after reading this information sheet.

    • Hello Peter,

      Quite an interesting observation.

      I will have a guide added to this post on how to use a Fitbit without a smartwatch.

      That notwithstanding, I’m assuming you’ve already have your Fitbit device setup.

      To see your hear rate, swipe the Fitbit’s display left until you see the heart rate tile. On the tile is your current heart rate, as well as a historical graph of your recent data on the same.

      I hope this helps.

  2. I think what we want to know is do we have to get the app and sync the Fitbit, or can we just use it to track our steps and heart rate. If that is possible, how do we do it?
    Step by step please.

    • Hello Mary,

      I’m working on updating the post to include a section that show exactly how to use your Fitbit device without a smartphone.

      To respond to your question, though:

      1. You first have to set up your Fitbit device. This post https://apelostudio.com/how-to-set-up-a-fitbit/ shows you how to do that.

      2. Wear and use your Fitbit without necessarily bringing your phone with you, or activating Bluetooth. You should be able to track your steps and monitor your heart rate.

      3. You must sync the Fitbit device to the app to get an update on your health and fitness tracking metric in your Fitbit dashboard. For this, your smartphone will be a requirement. And it must be in close range with your Fitbit.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you!

  3. I have no desire too share my statistics with anyone. I wish to keep track of my own step count, heart rate, and anything else the charge5 is capable of. But I’m 55yrs old and im SICK of online accounts, and more pass words.
    I can’t even post this without more of that bs.
    Have a nice day.

    • Hello Rick,

      I’m not sure I understood you correctly. But I hope your Fitbit Charge 5 is working well for you.

      The data you get on the watch and in the app is accessible only to you – unless you want to share that information with someone else.

      Have a great day, too.

      Michael Jonathan.

  4. Hello

    I believe what we are asking is,
    With out creating an account, downloading an app or with out linking any data anywhere. Is it possible to set up the watch so the time is correct and it will show the steps / HR / correct time on the device?

    Thank you

    • Hello Adam,

      Let me summarize this for you in a way that’s easy to understand:

      1. You need the Fitbit app for the initial set up. This is where you do the initial configuration, including setting time.

      2. After the set up, you can use your Fitbit device without necessarily bringing your phone with your wherever you go. Your Fitbit will show the correct time, count your steps, and monitor your heart rate.

      3. The data won’t sync to your Fitbit account until your smartphone, iPad, or tablet are in range with the Fitbit. And you must have Bluetooth activated for this to work.

      I hope this helps to answer your questions.

  5. So if I understand previous questions (FAQs)
    you have to have a smart phone to initiate the use of a Fitbit.
    I purchased a Fitbit 3 and have attempted to download the app, however it says my phone (Samsung S-6) is not compatible for the app. So is there one available that either does not use the app or is compatible for my S-6.

  6. Frustrating! My mom does not have a smart phone or a late model computer. I could not sync her Fitbit to either the Google account I had to open just for Fitbit, nor the computer app. The app wants me to buy a new Fitbit, which I finally did. I could not even use my own Fitbit account because Fitbit won’t allow more than one device per account. All she wants is the time, not the stats or functions. No more Fitbit for Mom!

    • Hello Marie,

      So sorry to hear how frustrating your experience is. I can only imagine what it is like to be in such a situation in the first place. Let me point out a few things that I think might help you to fix this problem.

      1. First, the initial Fitbit setup requires you to have a smartphone, which can be an Android 9 or higher, or iOS 15 or higher if you’re using an iPhone.

      2. Second, check if the Fitbit app is up to date. Sometimes the sync problem occurs because the app is obsolete.

      3. Third, you indeed can’t have more than one device per account. The best workaround is to create a separate account for mom on your phone and use it to set up the Fitbit for her. I’m certain this will work. After this, your mom should not have an issue reading the latest time.

      I hope this helps, because mom does deserve to get a Fitbit if she really needs one.

      Please let me know how it goes.

  7. I use a laptop PC running Windows 10, which I understand should be compatible with the rehomed Fitbit Inspire 2 that I’ve just been given to help monitor my heart rate.
    But I cannot identify and download whatever application would be needed to install the Fitbit system on my laptop. The Fitbit Setup at https://www.fitbit.com/global/us/setup only allows for one to do this using a smartphone.
    I do not have (or want) a smartphone. So how exactly do I download whatever I need to set up my computer to link with this Fitbit?

    • Hello Diana,

      Happy New Year, 2024.

      I hope you’re well.

      Unfortunately, Fitbit Connect was discontinued a long time ago, so you can’t connect your Inspire 2 from a Personal Computer. The only way around this is to get a smartphone for the initial set up.

      I hope this helps.

      • Not really. If I had access to a smartphone, I wouldn’t have asked how to set up the Fitbit without one.
        All that this tells me that I can’t actually do what I (and the kind donor of this Fitbit) were told a few weeks ago that I could do to set it up. How maddeningly unhelpful of Fitbit!
        But https://fitbit-connect.en.lo4d.com/windows – which is only dated by a copyright claim for 2012-2024 – assumes that Fitbit Connect does still work, albeit only in the last version published before it was discontinued, and states expressly that the download does work.
        It did download, and my computer could and did install this .exe programme, but then it displayed this message:
        “Download the Fitbit app for Windows 10. With new features including Challenges, Bluetooth syncing and improved performance. This update will replace Fitbit Connect.”
        This looks like the right Windows app: https://fitbit.en.softonic.com/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=paid&utm_campaign=bing_itunes_sb&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=paid&utm_campaign=bing_itunes_sb&msclkid=b6c4c03183cc12c724c3a5a8c68770db and clicking on the download button takes me to the Microsoft Store site – but, although the search facility there recognises “Fitbit for Windows 10”, I can’t find anything matching that term – or even for just “Fitbit”.
        Can you help me to find the right app on the Microsoft Store?

        • Diana,

          As much as I appreciate the information you’ve provided above, it helps a lot to save time by checking Fitbit’s official set up guideline, which, by the way, is up to date.

          To be honest, you’re wasting your precious time because all Fitbit users no longer have the ability to sync their devices with computers. I doubt that modified, third-party apps made to look like Fitbit Connect can make a difference, if any.

          I still insist that you get access to an Android or iOS smartphone for the initial setup. And moving forward, keep in mind that Fitbit trackers and smartwatches only work with iPhones, iPads, and Android smartphones and tablets.

          For more information, click here.

          • There’s no point your “insist[ing]” on my doing something that I cannot do, cannot afford to do and do not want to do.
            Instead of scornfully dismissing “modified, third-party apps made to look like Fitbit Connect”, it would really help anyone already in possession of a rehomed Fitbit if you would try to answer my previous question.
            The more restrictive the range of gadgets with which Fitbit is or becomes compatible, the fewer people will choose Fitbit and the bigger the market for alternative gadgets will become. Anyone who develops a Fitbit-equivalent with a far more sustainable approach will reap big rewards.

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