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Fitbit Charge 5's latest update is bricking the fitness tracker in some cases, once again

Users are reporting excessive battery drain, followed by an unresponsive device, with no way of rolling back, all over again.
By
January 31, 2024
A Fitbit Charge 5 rests on its side on a cement surface.
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • The latest update to the Fitbit Charge 5 is reportedly causing excessive battery drain and bricking devices.
  • This is a repeat of an incident from July 2023, which caused the same issues. The two updates even have the same changelog.
  • There is no way to stop the Fitbit Charge 5 from auto-updating its firmware.

The Fitbit Charge 5 is a good fitness tracker, and it makes it to our list of best fitness trackers that readers should buy. Unfortunately for Charge 5 users, owning this tracker is turning out to be a headache, as updates frequently brick devices or cause disproportionate battery drain. We reported on a firmware update in July 2023 causing this issue, and a new firmware update in January 2024 is repeating the same story all over again.

Fitbit announced the latest v194.91 update for the Charge 5 with an extensive changelog. There are new clock faces, support for global language characters and right-to-left text notifications, availability of all exercise modes in the Exercise app, and general bug fixes and improvements.

If the changelog sounds familiar to you, that is because it is literally the same changelog as the v194.61 update from July 2023. This could be a case of Fitbit/Google not providing accurate changelog details, so we can give them some benefit of the doubt here.

However, users who have received the update and installed it mention the same issues present in the past update. For one, the update thread in the Fitbit forums is inundated with users complaining of excessive battery drain. For many users, when the device has drained like this a few times, it stops responding, and they are stuck with a black screen on an unusable device. Much like before, there doesn’t appear to be any way to stop the Charge 5 from auto-updating. Reports continue to arrive to this point, even though the update rollout was announced on December 21, 2023, so it’s safe to presume that it is still being seeded to users.

As for resolution, affected users will need to contact Fitbit customer support. Some users have been offered a discount code of up to 50% for another Fitbit device. But seeing the same story repeat itself, I wouldn’t advise users to sign up for this ordeal all over again.

We’ve reached out to Google and Fitbit for a statement and will update the thread once we hear back from them.

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