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Lost Fitbit Syncs Through Another Person, Leads to Recovery

Posted on Sunday, November 30, 2014 @ 01:29:21 AM CST by David Yee [] [read 35385 times]

Hardware News

A little more than a week ago, on a Saturday, I lost my Fitbit One fitness tracker device. I have had it for well a year, and used it quite religiously, so it was a real disappointment. My family and myself had gone out to play tennis, went to a restaurant (5:30 PM), and then to shop at Target (6:30 PM). It was at Target when my wife asked how many steps I had thus that I discovered that I didn't have the Fitbit any longer. I simply assumed that it was left at home, but upon returning at night at about 7:45PM, could not find it anywhere.

One of the best ways to locate a lost Fitbit is to use its iOS app itself. So that evening I carried my iPad Mini all over the house and garage to try to locate it, but to no avail. Looking at the steps history, it showed that it last synced at around 3:20 PM, the time when we left home for tennis, which mostly likely meant I brought it with me. It showed that I had about 11K steps at that point. After a few days I had pretty much given up hope, but on Friday I decided to check the app to see if it somehow synced, and to my surprise it did- 2 days ago on Wednesday. My Saturday steps counts count had been updated from 11K to 16K!

I then logged into to see the time-based step history, and noticed that the final steps were registered at between 5:15 and 5:30 PM. There were ZERO steps registered on Tuesday or Wednesday when it synced. My first reaction was that the Fitbit is in the house somewhere! But, more analytical reasoning determined it wasn't so. If I had carried it back into the house unknowingly, it would have registered steps, but the the lack of any steps showed that it was dropped somewhere after around 5:30 PM that night.

So I thought the Fitbit must be in the car. I must have dropped it in there, and despite looking thoroughly inside the vehicle before, I must have missed it. So I checked the car again, using the iPad to scan for it, but again no go. Confused, I fired off an email to Fitbit, asking whether it was possible for my lost Fitbit to sync through another person's phone/tablet, even though the tracker did not belong to their account. I also provided my home IP address, hoping that they could simply confirm to me if the sync occurred through my house. Unfortunately, they didn't answer my question, though they were nice enough to offer a replacement if "qualified" (not sure what the conditions were, but likely if within the one year warranty window):

Hi David,

We're sorry to hear you lost your Fitbit One tracker.

You're on the right track. That's how we investigate if it is still syncing when a Fitbit trackers gets lost.

After checking within our system it hasn't been paired to any other Fitbit account other than yours and it doesn't sync since the date you stated (11-26-2014). So apparently it could remain on the same spot where you lost it or it might be that the person why found it doesn't know how to sync/set it up.

We'll need the following information to review your replacement options:

- A copy of your purchase receipt. If you purchased your tracker from an online retailer, please attach a screenshot of your order history page.
- If your product was obtained through your employer, please tell us the name of your employer and the month you received your tracker.
- Your preferred shipping address
- Your phone number
- Your product's color

We will evaluate your case based on the information provided, and may provide a replacement as a gesture of good will. You can view our warranty at

Once I pretty much eliminated the possibility that the device was in the house or its immediate vicinity, I had to assume that somehow it performed the sync through someone else's phone/tablet that had the app installed. It must have been left at the Thai restaurant we went to after Tennis. So last night, I returned to the same restaurant to grab some to-go food, while holding my iPad Mini with cellular 4G LTE enabled, and the Fitbit app fired up. Sure enough, after standing at the front counter for less than 30 seconds, a sync had occurred! I then asked the worker there and showed him a picture of the device (conveniently shown on the app), and sure enough he produced my Fitbit from a drawer near the kitchen of the restaurant- they had found it lying on the floor just a few days ago near the table where we sat.

Through this experience, I discovered some interesting and important behaviors of Fitbit Syncing.

  1. At least for the Fitbit One, the frequency of sync is pretty often, perhaps even once a minute, with your bluetooth-enabled iOS device such as the iPad or iPhone. No movement is necessary on the tracker itself in order to "wake it up" per se. So even if the Fitbit is stationary, e.g. sitting on the desk somewhere, it would still sync frequently.

  2. Perhaps most importantly, the Fitibit will sync through another person's iPhone/iPad that has the Fitbit app installed.

  3. Its sync range is pretty impressive at 15 to 30 feet away. Obstacles such as walls and doors will shorten that distance, however.

The best way combat the loss of a Fitbit is to well, prevent it in the first place. It's a good idea to:

  • Have a routine and always keep it in the same area/pocket, and check to see if it is still there every now and then.

  • If possible, tape a small address label on the back of the device. This is easy with the Fitbit One, though is a bit trickier with the smaller Zip and the wrist-worn Flex, Force & Charge.

  • Put in as much of your name in the Greeting option of your Fitbit Device, or your phone #. It is a shame though that the greeting, at least for the Fitbit One, is limited to a paltry 8 characters.

Tips to help You Find/Recover the Lost Fitbit

  • Don't give up. Even if you do not find it the first few days, at least check the app and see if it synced

  • Walk around with the Fitbit App open, and keep using the "Scan" feature to look for it.

  • If applicable, call and ask the places you were at to see if anyone found it. I did this but unfortunately no one did the day when I called. Though you can always call again later because sometimes it could be camouflaged somewhere where it could not easily seen.

  • Download the LightBlue (Bluetooth Low Energy) iOS app which will tell you about nearby BLE devices, including of course any Fibit trackers.

  • Contact Fitbit's excellent customer service. They may even replace your device outright if it is still under warranty.

What Not to Do

  • Do Not waste your money and time to buy and use the $5 Find Fibit App in the iOS App Store. It did not do diddly for me, and could not even see my wife's nearby tracker (Fitbit Charge). I used the Fitibit recommended LightBlue (Bluetooth Low Energy) app from the App Store which was free, and it was able to easily sense the presence of the Charge from over 20 feet away.

  • Enable the Silent Alarm like some recommend, which may drain the battery and give you a smaller time frame for you (or someone else) to find your Fitbit. In my case, the excellent battery life of the tracker allowed the opportunity for someone to unknowingly sync it, giving me the critical clue to its location.

  • I hope that this lost and found story helps anyone recover a recently disappeared Fitbit. I do wish, though, that Fitbit Inc will eventually add a lost/stolen feature on their devices in the near future, in which case at least a custom message could be displayed on the tracker. Having it beep akin to the Find iPhone app would be great as well. Perhaps the the upcoming Fitbit Charge HR or the Surge will usher in this much needed functionality, though I wouldn't bet on it.

    Right now there are 5 comments/reviews for Lost Fitbit Syncs Through Another Person, Leads to Recovery.
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    Lost Fitbit Syncs Through Another Person, Leads To Recovery Rating: 3.4/5 (48 votes cast) 5 comment(s) by users total.

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    User-Submitted Reviews of Lost Fitbit Syncs Through Another Person, Leads to Recovery & Testimonials

    Posted by Mimi (3 years ago)

    Lost FitBit Zip Syncs for a week

    I lost my FitBit somewhere in the Atlanta Hartsfield airport on a Wednesday. I was crushed because it was brand new - a replacement to another one I had lost previously. I didn't have the heart to call FitBit at that moment. I know i had it when i deboarded my 1st flight because i checked my steps. They were at about 4900. I got on a train to change concourses and by the time I got

    to my gate, it was no longer in its case. I even retraced my steps to see if i could find it. No luck. I traveled on to Puerto Rico and as i deboarded my Fitbit exclaimed "Overacheiver you are 3,000 steps over your goal." It synced an hour before my flight ended so i was dumbfounded. I first thought someone on my flight must have found it. But that wouldn't explain the sync an hour before we landed and no one on the 3.5 hour flight walked that much on the plane. Then each day for 6 days it synched at different times each day. And whoever had it was exercising a lot. They doubled my steps! It stopped synching the day before i was to return home. So i convinced myself that whoever had it must have stayed within 50 feet of my hotel room but must have left the island. It registered zero steps for 2 days. I returned home ready to sync my FitBit Flex (yes I have 2 devices) and much to my surprise this morning, after 2 days of registering zero steps, it synched AGAIN! And when it did, it also logged steps for the 2 days that earlier read zero. So now I am really confused. I know that whoever has it does not live in my apartment complex in my Midwestern city! That would be too many coincidences! That person would have to have found it in the Atlanta airport, been within 50 feet of me in Puerto Rico, then somehow now be near me back at home some 300 miles from Atlanta. So, evidently once synched, always connected if someone is using it? I will add that my first FitBit Zip i lost never registered another step after the night i lost it. I think i accidentally threw it away during a move. That may mean no one found that one. I just wish FitBit could determine the location of the device.

    Bought: FitBit Zip

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    7 out of 7 people said 'YES'


    Posted by Sarah (4 years ago)

    Wanted to know if device could sync with someone else's iPhone

    My fitbit is new (only had 2 weeks) and it synced at 1 pm Tuesday at which point I was at work and no where near my personal computer that I had set it up on and did not even had the sensor thing plugged in. It doesn't sync with my phone because I have the iPhone 4. Just was curious how it logged my steps over last week. Kind of weird it can sync to my account but through another person's device. Oh well.

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    Yes it is really odd, but that's exactly what happened with me as well. Because I didn't even go near the restaurant where I lost the Fitbit One, and the fact that it synced showed that it will indeed sync through anyone's iPhone (or an Android phone perhaps) that has the Fitbit app installed.

    8 out of 9 people said 'YES'


    Posted by AshVer17 (3 years ago)

    Lost FitBit One

    I lost my FitBit One on a camping trip to Lake George this past weekend (August 15th-17th). I like to bring it with me to record my data on hikes, etc. I've only had this FitBit for just under 6 months, and I'm in love with it. The last sync was at 10:16 pm on Saturday 8/15. I remember taking the wrist band off because I was hot--my mistake. I didn't realize I had lost it (or misplaced it) until Sunday halfway through my hike. I was SO disappointed, but thought it was just in the tent. Upon returning to the tent area, I could not find it or the Velcro wrist band that the One comes with. I still can't understand what happened to it. At the time I did not think to put on my bluetooth to try to sync it to my account. Even though it's been four days, I'm hoping that it is still somewhere in my camping gear and that if I bluetooth sync it, that it will update. I can only hope. If anyone staying at the Whippoorwill campground in Lake George, NY finds a FitBit One in or around campsite 38, it's mine. :(

    Bought: FitBit One

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    1 person said 'YES'


    Posted by Dyane (2 years ago)

    Fitbit sent me email to reset password/I lost it, apparently som

    I lost my fit bit & someone apparently found it & contacted Fitbit to reset password, I received email this morning to reset! I don't want to reset, I lost it. Please advise.

    Thank you.

    Dyane Silva

    Bought: Fitbit one

    Date Received: 2012-02-01

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    Posted by sarah (3 years ago)

    what if someone stole mine!!!!

    I lost my fitbit flex about 1 week ago and still can not find it!!! Before reading this article i downloaded the fitbit finder app and the BTLexpolorer but still no progress!!! when i did lose it i know it had a low battery so it is probably dead so trying to sync it will be no help. :(

    Bought: flex

    Order Date: 2015-03-05

    Date Received: 2015-07-10

  • it is so helpful
  • Cons:
  • can be easily lost
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    Germany flag   Review came from Germany.