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Fitbit Software Update Causes Users To Panic

Fitbit, the US smart wearable company who are due to release a range of next generation devices, has come under fire for changes to the way it shows data.

Version 3.64.4 of the Fitbit app came out in late July, with updates to the Fitbit charts to make them easier to read, with labeled buttons and month and year views to track progress easier. On paper, this sounds like a great update, but it proved to be a massive problem in practice.

Following the change, many users began to panic as the update began to suggest they suffered from breathing issues in their sleep, after being told prior that they slept normally. The issue is the result of the oxygen variation graph. The new graph records high points of variations in big spikes of yellow, which are quite shocking to look at. High oxygen variation is a sign of sleep apnea.

Complaints and poor reviews of the changes have littered social media and the Google Play Store, who have referred to the update as a “downgrade in usability”.

Fitbit is a popular choice over competitors due to the clear and accessible way in which it displays data, providing an encouraging experience for users. The way in which data is shown is just as important as the data itself, as two different charts showing identical data could lead users to two very different conclusions, as they have with the Fitbit update.


“Even common charts such as bar graphs and pie charts can be ambiguous, or worse, incomprehensible,” says mathematician and author Alberto Cairo.

“This is worrying because numbers are very persuasive, and so are charts, because we associate them with science and reason. Numbers and charts look and feel objective, precise, and as a consequence, seductive and convincing.”

The new update was likely released in preparation for the new Fitbit Versa 4 and Sense 2 that are due for release soon, however recent feedback may require Fitbit to rethink its data display strategy.

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