The 7 Best Fitbit Features You're (Probably) Not Using

From Fitbit Challenge to Fitbit Coach and more. Find out what yours can do

Fitbit fitness trackers are a popular way to count steps, record workouts, and analyze sleep patterns. But there's a lot more to these devices and their apps than meets the eye.

Here are seven surprising Fitbit features that the average user forgets to use or doesn't even know exists.

of 07

Fitbit Works Without a Fitbit Device

Woman and man exercising with a smartphone
John Fedele / Blend Images

Some people don't own a Fitbit tracker because they're too expensive or they don't want to wear a bit of tech on their wrists. But the official Fitbit app can track steps just as well as the Fitbit wearable trackers and works on any mobile device. And it's free! No purchase or wrist-wear required.

What We Like
  • Free—only requires the user to keep their mobile device on them at all times, which is something many people do already.

What We Don't Like
  • Lacks some of the more advanced features that Fitbit devices have, such as heart rate monitoring.

  • Cannot be used for water-based activities like swimming, which a waterproof Fitbit can manage.

of 07

Fitbit Coach Streaming Workouts

Fitbit Coach streaming workout service on Xbox One X

Fitbit Coach is a streaming video platform that provides users with an ever-growing library of workout videos designed for a variety of fitness levels and interests. What sets Fitbit Coach apart from similar exercise services is that it offers numerous short routines, mixed and matched into playlists suited to your fitness and energy levels. Fitbit Coach uses the same account as the regular Fitbit apps and all data is synced between the two.

What We Like
  • A great way to introduce a wider variety of exercise styles to Fitbit users who may be limiting themselves to walking or running.

What We Don't Like
  • While it offers several workouts for free, a good chunk of the content is behind a paywall.

Fitbit Coach apps are compatible with Windows 10 PCs and tablets, Windows 10 Mobile smartphones, Xbox One video game consoles, iPhones and iPads, and Android devices.

of 07

The Fitbit Windows 10 Live Tile

Fitbit Windows 10 app Live Tile

If you have a Windows 10 device or a Windows Phone running Windows 10 Mobile, the Fitbit app supports Windows 10's Live Tile functionality. This Live Tile will display live data from the Fitbit app without opening it.

To pin the Fitbit app, simply find it in your installed app list from the Start Menu, right-click on it, and select Pin to Start. You can then move the pinned app to wherever you would like on your device's Start Menu. You can resize it by right-clicking on the tile and choosing one of four Resize options.

What We Like
  • Conveniently displays your steps and challenge progress on your desktop or smartphone without opening the app.

  • A constant reminder to keep moving and stay on top of your fitness goals.

What We Don't Like
  • Live Tile functionality is unavailable on iOS and Android devices.

The Live Tile feature is compatible with all Windows 10 PCs and tablets and Windows Phones running Windows 10 Mobile.

of 07

Fitbit Works on Xbox One Consoles

Xbox One X and Xbox One S consoles, Xbox Controllers, Xbox 1, XB1

The official Fitbit app can actually be downloaded and opened on Microsoft Xbox. To find the app, simply search for Fitbit in the Store section of the dashboard.

What We Like
  • An easy way to monitor your fitness data on a larger screen.

  • Trigger Xbox notifications when you've met your daily goal.

What We Don't Like
  • Cannot sync to your Fitbit device; you'll still need to use a smartphone, tablet, or Windows 10 PC to do that.

The Fitbit app is available on Microsoft's Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X video game consoles.

of 07

Compete With Friends in a Fitbit Challenge

Fitbit Challenges on the Fitbit iPhone App

The Fitbit Challenges feature takes the Fitbit experience to a new level by gamifying your exercise and allowing you to compete with friends in daily or weekly leaderboards. Users can compete to take the most steps or reach their daily goal first. Progress is tracked via a leaderboard that all participants can comment on for the duration of the challenge.

What We Like
  • Encourages you to exercise more.

What We Don't Like
  • Start and end times can be confusing when numerous participants are in different time zones.

Fitbit Challenges can be tracked and initiated on all Fitbit apps and devices. Open the Challenges tab after opening the app and scroll down to the bottom of the screen to start one with your friends.

of 07

Race Through Fitbit Adventures and Solo Adventure Challenges

Fitbit Adventures feature on the iPhone Fitbit app

Fitbit Adventures are similar to Challenges but instead of using basic leaderboards, participants race around a 3D map of real-world locations such as New York City and Yosemite. 1,000 steps in real life with your Fitbit will move you 1,000 steps along the race course within the app.

What We Like
  • Visualized steps on a map is a great visualization tool and gives users a sense of both progress and an end goal.

  • Trivia included at each location throughout the race.

  • Solo Adventures are fun for those who don't feel like competing with others.

What We Don't Like
  • May be hard to explain to those who haven't tried it yet.

Adventure Races and Solo Adventures are compatible with all Fitbit apps.

of 07

Fitbit Has a Social Network

Woman in pink jumper checking Fitbit app on iPhone

Fitbit has always had social features, including friends list and leaderboards, but a newer feature that longtime users may be unfamiliar with is its social feed, which is located under the Community tab.

In this feed, users can post updates just like they would on Facebook or Twitter and even share Fitbit activity such as steps taken or badges they've unlocked. Friends can comment on each other's posts and "cheer" them (similar to liking on Facebook) for quick interaction.

What We Like
  • Content shared on the feed is only visible to friends, which is great for those who don't want their activity made public.

What We Don't Like
  • Easy to forget that the social feature exists in the Community tab of the Fitbit app and not on the main dashboard.

The social feed is available in all versions of the Fitbit app.