I have had a Fitbit Versa for a month or so now and over all have been really pleased with it. I like the simplicity of the interface and the fact that it lasts more than a single day without needing to charge it at night.
There is still room for improvement such as integration with Spotify or better control of music running on the connected phone but overall it seems a decent device.
However over the last few weeks I have become increasingly frustrated with the connected GPS feature. I have been training for a 10k run and so started to use the watch more to track some runs. I began to notice that the pace and distances recorded were way off what they would normally be.
When paying more attention during the runs it became clear the problem was the connection between the watch and the phone. When starting a run I would wait for it to connect and then click go. After a few minutes it will revert back to saying connecting, it would eventually connect and the cycle would repeat every few minutes.
My Phone is a Huawei P20 pro running Android 8.0.1
To prove that it was the connection to the phone with the issue and not the GPS signal itself, I went on a run tracking with both the Versa and Strava. Strava tracked the run perfectly with the correct distance but the Versa ket losing connection and jumping to the point at which it was restored. This jumping to the next available GPS point created straight lines from the previous known point which results in incorrect distance and so incorrect pace.
In the example below its suggested I ran through a lake:
I went over to the Fitbit community forums and found a large number of posts reporting the same issue going back several months. Each one would have a standard reply from a Fitbit moderator which would not really give much help and not accept that there is a fundamental issue.
These posts suggested doing various things:
None of these seemed to make a difference. Even if they had it could not be considered a fix as a user should not have to turn off wifi in order to use a wearable device.
I started digging a bit more and noticed that the GPS remained connected for over an hour when my phone was charging.
This suggested that the issue was something related to the battery saving options but I had already excluded them.
After doing a lot of googling and digging around, I came across Doze.
What is doze mode?
Doze mode is a feature in Marshmallow, which prevents certain tasks from running if your device is in idle state. Doze in devices reduces power consumption by deferring background CPU and Network activity for applications.
The settings for this are separate to the standard battery settings that allow you to configure how apps should be killed in the background.
It was found under:
Settings > Apps & Notifications > Apps > Settings > Special Access > Ignore Battery Optimisation
In here I added in a rule to exclude the Fitbit app.
Since doing this the watch has most of the time remained connected and correctly tracked my runs.
(It has disconnected a couple of times but this seemed to have been the Ftibit app crashing for separate reasons.)
Not A Fix
The reason why I consider this a workaround and not a fix is that Doze is a feature that is there for a reason, I should not have to put a rule in there for Fitbit to work as advertised.
You will notice from the screenshot that there is no explicit rule in there for Strava and it seems to be able to operate in the background without any issue.
The doze feature is now ignoring Fitbit all the time even when I am not out on a run as a result of this it is now using more battery that it needs to.
So whilst i'm happy that I can now track runs accurately, I'm hoping that Fitbit can look into this and release an update which will help it play nicely with the doze feature when tracking activities without having to white list it in the app.
Let me know if this resolved the issue for you.....
I am a Liverpool supporting software developer originally from North Wales, now living and working in Manchester.