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

Your Fitbit can do a lot more than count steps

Woman working out with Fitbit Ionic
Fitbit

Fitbit fitness trackers are a popular way to count steps, record workouts, and analyse 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 at all.

01
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Fitbit Works Without a Fitbit Device

Woman and man exercising with a smartphone
A smartphone and the Fitbit app is all you need. John Fedele / Blend Images

Some common excuses a lot of people use when asked why they don't use a Fitbit tracker is that they're too expensive and that wearing something on their wrists can be irritating. Little do they know though that the official (and free) Fitbit apps can track steps just as well as the Fitbit trackers themselves. No purchase or wristwear required.

  • What We Like: Using the Fitbit app is absolutely free and all a user has to do is keep their mobile phone on them at all times, which is something most of us already do anyway.
  • What We Don't Like: The Fitbit app and smartphone combo admittedly lacks some of the more advanced features that the Fitbit devices possess such as heartrate monitoring. It's also probably not a good idea to take your phone with you next time you want to track your laps in the swimming pool.   
  • This Fitbit Feature Works With: Official Fitbit apps are available for free on Android, iOS, and Windows 10 Mobile devices in addition to Windows 10 PCs and tablets.
02
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Fitbit Coach Streaming Workouts

Fitbit Coach streaming workout service on Xbox One X
Fitbit Coach on the Xbox One X. Fitbit

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: Fitbit Coach is 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 Fitbit Coach does offer several workouts for free, a good chunk of the content is held behind a paywall. It's not expensive but this could still be a deterent for some.
  • This Fitbit Feature Works With: 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.
03
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Fitbit App's Windows 10 Live Tile

Fitbit Windows 10 app Live Tile
Fitbit Windows 10 app Live Tile. Lifewire

If you have a Windows 10 device or a Windows Phone running Windows 10 Mobile, it's well-worth pinning the Fitbit app to your Start Menu as it supports Windows 10's Live Tile functionality. This Live Tile will display live data from the Fitbit app without even opening it which makes it very useful.

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 like on your device's Start Menu and you can even resize it by right-clicking on the tile and choosing one of four Resize options.

  • What We Like: The Fitbit Live Tile conveniently displays your steps and challenge progress on your desktop or smartphone without even opening the app. It's 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.
  • This Fitbit Feature Works With: All Windows 10 PCs and tablets and Windows Phones running Windows 10 Mobile.
04
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Fitbit Works on Xbox One Consoles

Xbox One X and Xbox One S consoles, Xbox Controllers, Xbox 1, XB1
Black Xbox One X and white Xbox One S video game consoles. Microsoft

The official Fitbit app can actually by downloaded and opened on Microsoft's family of Xbox One video game consoles. To find the app, simply search for Fitbit in the Store section of the dashboard.

  • What We Like: Using the Fitbit app on a television is a very easy way to look at your fitness data on a larger screen. The app can also trigger Xbox notifications for when you've met your daily goal.
  • What We Don't Like: The Xbox One Fitbit app can't actually sync to your Fitbit device so you'll still need to use a smartphone, tablet, or Windows 10 PC to do that.
  • This Fitbit Feature Works With: The Fitbit app is available on Microsoft's Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X video game consoles.
05
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Compete With Friends With Fitbit Challenges

Fitbit Challenges on the Fitbit iPhone App
Fitbit Challenges on the Fitbit iPhone app. Fitbit

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

  • What We Like: Participating in a Fitbit Challenge really does make you want to exercise more due to its competitive nature.
  • What We Don't Like: The start and end time of Challenges can be confusing when numerous participants are located in different time zones. Each Challenge is set to the time zone of the creator of the Challenge which means that the end of their day may be someone else's 3pm.
  • This Fitbit Feature Works With: Challenges can be tracked and initiated on all official Fitbit apps on all devices. Simply click on the Challenges tab after opening the app and scroll down to the bottom of the screen to start one with your friends.
06
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Fitbit Adventure Races & Solo Adventures

Fitbit Adventures feature on the iPhone Fitbit app
Fitbit Adventures feature on the iPhone Fitbit app. Fitbit

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: Having steps visualized on a map is a fantastic visualization tool and gives users a sense of both progress and an end goal. The trivia given on each location throughout the race is also a nice touch and the Solo Adventures are fun for those who don't feel like competing with others just yet.
  • What We Don't Like: This feature is honestly very hard to explain to those who haven't tried it yet which is why a lot of Fitbit users tend to stick with the traditional Challenges that use easy-to-understand, basic leaderboards.
  • This Fitbit Feature Works With: Adventure Races and Solo Adventures are compatible with all Fitbit apps.
07
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Fitbit Has a Social Network

Woman in pink jumper checking Fitbit app on iPhone
The Fitbit apps have a lot of social features. Fitbit

Fitbit has always had social features such as its friends list and leaderboards but a newer feature that longtime users may be unfamiliar with is its social feed located under the Fitbit app's Community tab.

In this social feed, users can post updates just like they would on Facebook and Twitter and even share Fitbit activity such as steps taken or badges that they've unlocked. Friends can comment on each other's posts and cheer them (similar to liking on Facebook) for a 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, or inactivity, made public.
  • What We Don't Like: It's easy to forget that this social feature exists in the Fitbit app with it being placed in the Community tab and not on the main dashboard.
  • This Fitbit Feature Works With: The social feed is available in all versions of the Fitbit app.
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