Fitbit challenges on iPhone

Fitbit is Eliminating Competitions, Open Groups

Fitbit, which was acquired by Google’s parent company Alphabet, Inc. in January 2021, will be removing some popular features in its app. And members aren’t exactly happy about it.

Starting March 27, 2023, Fitbit users with the Android and iOS app will no longer be able to access Open groups. Closed groups will still be possible with friends and other users within the Fitbit Community that you meet and connect with through the Health & Wellness forums. But Open groups will be shut down, which means you will no longer be able to easily connect with like-minded people who share a common interest or live a similar lifestyle. In some cases, current Open groups have thousands, even millions, of members that will lose their connection with one another.

Most surprisingly, however, is that Fitbit will also be removing Challenges and Adventures. This includes trophies earned for achieving different milestones, like the Trail Show badge for earning 30,000 steps in a day or Skyscraper for climbing 100 floors in a 24-hour period.

Fitbit users loved being able to challenge friends, family members, and colleagues to daily, weekly, or weekend step competitions. It’s a motivating factor and one of the benefits of being part of the Fitbit community. Similarly, the concept of trophies might seem trivial, but it provides a satisfying sense of accomplishment.

Adventures, meanwhile, were a cool way to enjoy more immersive challenges, taking virtual tours of various locations to help motivate you towards reaching, or even exceeding, your step goals.

Fitbit Challenges, Adventures, Open Groups

Why the elimination of these features? Fitbit says it’s to “enhance the Fitbit app with Google technology this year.” Removing these features will allow Fitbit to “develop new features, deliver faster load times, and improve your experience.” It sounds, then, like Fitbit smartwatches and trackers will become slowly less Fitbit and more Google.

Those who want to download their data from these features before they are deleted on March 27 can do so at Log into your Fitbit.c‌om dashboard and from there, you can export the data to keep it for future reference.

Given these changes, which for some, could be dealbreakers, Fitbit is allowing members to cancel their Premium subscriptions. The Fitbit account can be deleted at any time as well should this move drive you to switch to another smartwatch or fitness tracker brand. But deleting the account will also result in the deletion of all your data. For long-time users who have been using a Fitbit smartwatch or tracker for years, this could include a wealth of historical health and wellness information they simply don’t want to part with.

Fitbit challenges on iPhone

Fitbit did not disclose details on what Google technology specifically will be included with Fitbit trackers and smartwatches going forward. The devices may see deeper integration with Google’s WearOS. Indeed, Google’s own first branded smartwatch, the Google Pixel Watch, runs on Wear OS 3 but also integrates with the Fitbit app.  

Could this spell the eventual end of the Fitbit app and ecosystem altogether, rolled into Google’s WearOS and/or other technology? That remains to be seen. But for long-time Fitbit users who have grown accustomed to the Fitbit app and its many features, this is sad news.