You don’t need a Fitbit to use the Fitbit app, so should you give it a go? 

The Fitbit app explained – what is it, how much does it cost, and everything else you need to know.

When you think of Fitbit, it’s likely that you primarily think of the device itself. After all, Fitbit is a brand that makes some of the best budget fitness trackers, although it also offers smartwatches and even smart scales such as the Fitbit Aria Air. 

For many, the app is a valuable supporting tool for bringing together from their fitness tracker or smartwatch and providing insights into their health and fitness. But it offers more than this and is available to anyone who wants to use it – you don’t actually need to own a Fitbit device.  

The Fitbit Inspire 3 next to the Fitbit app an iPad Pro.Credit: Saga Exceptional

What is the Fitbit app?

Screens from the Fitbit Premium Credit: Saga Exceptional

The Fitbit app is a digital health and wellbeing app available to most smartphone users. Its primary purpose is to supply personalised insights into your health and wellbeing, by analysing the data collected by whatever Fitbit device you are using.

This is most likely to be a fitness tracker such as the Fitbit Charge 5 or Fitbit Inspire 3, or one of the firm’s smartwatches, such as the Fitbit Sense 2.  

The data insights on offer include things like step counting, heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking. You can also log weight measurements, the food you’ve eaten and activities you’ve done, to get an estimate of your daily calorie burn. It’s important to highlight that some of these features are only available if you own a Fitbit device (we’ll explain this in more detail below).  

In addition to these functions, there is also the possibility of upgrading to Fitbit Premium, with its wealth of supporting content, including more advanced sleep analytics, mindfulness sessions and guided meditation, video workouts and recipe inspiration.  

Fitbit has endeavoured to create a comprehensive health and wellbeing platform for users. But as we’ll see, not everything is available to everyone. 

How to get the Fitbit app

The easiest way to get the Fitbit app is to download it via the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store (iOS | Android). It’s straightforward to download, and once installed it’s simply a case of creating an account and adding your information, such as your weight, height and sex, to allow the app to calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and daily calorie burn, for example. 

It’s worth noting that having been bought by Google, all new users now need a Google account. Fitbit provides more detailed information about this here. 

Screenshots from the Fitbit app, showing Cardio Fitness, the Home Screen, and stress managementCredit: Saga Exceptional

Is the Fitbit app free?

The Fitbit app is available free of charge. But the free version won’t allow you to access any of the content that’s part of Fitbit Premium. This means that certain data insights, as well as recipes, workouts and mindfulness sessions, won’t be available. 

For some people, this won’t matter. But if you’re considering getting the app because of all that added content, then you’ll need to be willing to pay extra for this. A monthly subscription will set you back £7.99, while annual membership works out at £79.99 in a one-off payment.  

If you aren’t sure whether Fitbit Premium is suitable for you, the good news is that Fitbit offers a three-month free trial to new subscribers, to give you time to explore all the available content. And if you’ve recently bought a new Fitbit smartwatch or fitness tracker, these devices come with a free six-month trial of Fitbit Premium.  

Whether you ultimately feel Fitbit Premium is worth paying for is a personal choice. We found Fitbit Premium irritating, primarily for the way it withholds some insights based on your own personal data that we feel should be freely available. 

What’s on offer?

As we highlighted earlier, Fitbit has tried to create a comprehensive app that provides detailed insights into your health and fitness, as well as offering a plethora of supporting content. What you can access on the app will vary slightly based on which device you own, but highlights include: 

  • Health metrics such as sleep analysis, step counts, calorie burn and distance travelled 
  • Heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring 
  • Stress tracking
The Fitbit Charge 5 pictured next to the Fitbit Premium appCredit: Saga Exceptional

Features that are available through Fitbit Premium: 

  • A Daily Readiness Score, which uses insights to measure how prepared your body is for physical activity that day
  • Workouts, which include yoga, Pilates, low-impact and mobility exercises, and audio workouts for walking or running, among many others
  • Nutritional advice, with recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks, as well as tips on mindful eating 
  • A wide variety of meditation and mindfulness sessions, for example, meditations for sleep and morning meditations 

Now, we mentioned earlier that some features are only available if you have a Fitbit smartwatch or fitness tracker. If you don’t own one of these devices, you can use the Fitbit app via something called Fitbit Mobile Track.

This allows the app to collect basic activity data via your mobile phone. It includes the following: 

  • Steps 
  • Distance 
  • Calories burned 

You can also use it to access other app features, including: 

  • Meal tracking 
  • Weight tracking 
  • Setting fitness goals 
  • Connecting to friends on the Fitbit app and creating a leaderboard, as well as sending them messages 

All the supportive content on Fitbit Premium that focuses on mindfulness, workouts and nutrition is available to anyone who pays for Fitbit Premium, regardless of whether you own a Fitbit device.

Fitbit app: what equipment do I need?

Screenshots of some of the workouts available on Fitbit PremiumCredit: Saga Exceptional

As we’ve (hopefully) made clear, you can use the Fitbit app without any equipment other than a mobile phone. This will give you access to basic activity tracking and goal setting.   

But if you want to get the most from it, here is undoubtedly a case for (at the very least) owning one of Fitbit’s smartwatches or fitness trackers. This allows you to benefit from the data insights that are on offer. 

The only other equipment you need will come down to how you intend to use the app. If, for example, you want to follow the workouts on Fitbit Premium, then you may need some equipment that’s specific to the workout you intend to follow (although there are many that don’t require any equipment). 

That might, for instance, include a set of weights for some of the strength training workouts, or a mat for yoga or Pilates (you can visit our guide to the best yoga mats we’ve tested if you don’t already have one). 

Otherwise, the barrier to entry is incredibly low. If you have a compatible smartphone, you can get started with the Fitbit app in just a few minutes.

Who is the Fitbit app for?

A screenshot of a kettlebell workout on Fitbit PremiumCredit: Saga Exceptional

Unlike the Peloton app or Apple Fitness Plus, which are purely exercise-focused, the Fitbit app straddles two different types of content.  

On the one hand, it’s suitable for anyone who wants to track basic activity data even if they don’t own a smartwatch or fitness tracker. And if you own a Fitbit device, then this is the app you’ll need to access all your data. In this respect, it’s about providing insights into your health and fitness stats. 

But Fitbit Premium is much more about supplying content that will help you to achieve your health and fitness goals. If you want access to recipes or a workout, or fancy some meditation, then Fitbit Premium offers all of this. In some ways, that makes it more comprehensive than some of the other apps we’ve mentioned. It’s especially suitable for people who are looking for the extra support.  

If you don’t like the sound of the Fitbit app, there are other ways of getting fitter and healthier. You might, for example, want to explore the benefits of joining a gym, or find a walking group to help you get more active. 

Steven Shaw

Written by Steven Shaw he/him

Updated:

Steven Shaw has been a freelance writer for a variety of outlets, most notably TechRadar. His degree in Medieval History prepared him less adequately for his career than you might expect, but the years spent working in technology focused retail were much more helpful.

Outside of work, Steven is passionate about health and fitness, and particularly enjoys high-intensity interval training, weight training, and increasingly, spending time recovering. Steven loves reading, films and a wide variety of sports. A particular highlight was watching Viv Richards and Sachin Tendulkar batting together in an exhibition match.

He wishes he could travel more. He can also tell you a lot about the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Carolingians. Most of his non-work time is spent with his young children, who are the living embodiment of high-intensity training.