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10 tips every Fitbit owner should know

Fitbit trackers are great at helping remind you to go the extra mile and get your life on a healthier track. Use these tips to get even more out of your tracker.

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Taylor Martin
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1 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

10 tip to get the most out of your Fitbit

Fitbit trackers are a great way to constantly remind yourself to be more active and help you start leading a healthier life. They aren't without fault, though. They require you to hold yourself accountable and dedicate yourself to the hard work needed to shave off some pounds or switch up your diet.

To make things easier, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your Fitbit tracker.

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Setup MobileTrack in case you forget your Fitbit

So you left your Fitbit to charge while you were showering, but you forgot to strap it to your wrist before heading out for the day. If you do this, don't worry, you can use your phone to track in the interim. It's not as accurate as a Fitbit, but it will suffice.

To enable MobileTrack, open the Fitbit app, navigate to the Account tab, tap Set Up a Device and select MobileTrack. Any time you leave behind your Fitbit tracker, the Fitbit app will default to MobileTrack for tracking basic information about steps and activity until it reconnects to your tracker.

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3 of 11 Taylor Martin/CNET

Turn off All-Day Sync

If you want, you can track your progress on your phone throughout the day by enabling the All-Day Sync feature. This forces your Fitbit to sync data with your phone consistently throughout the day.

While some may find it useful, it's not a necessary feature. You can track your progress on the most of the wearables directly, and if you want to see more detailed information, you can manually sync the device at any time.

Turning off All-Day Sync will significantly improve the tracker's battery life. To disable the feature, open the Fitbit app, navigate to the Account tab, select the device to open its settings and toggle off All-Day Sync.

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Challenge friends with different trackers

One of the greatest things about mobile trackers is the ability to compare your stats and activity with your friends and family. By default, you can only do this if you all use the same brand tracker. In other words, if your mom uses a Jawbone Up and your best friend uses a Garmin tracker, you can't compare anything using the official companion apps.

However, if you sign up for Matchup, you can compete with people who have a Fitbit, Apple Watch, iPhone, Garmin, Jawbone, Withings, Misfit, Pebble or any other tracker that integrates with the Apple Health app.

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5 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Change up the Dashboard

Trackers gather all sorts of information, some of which you may not care about.

To see what matters most to you first or only what you want to see, open the Fitbit app and tap Edit in upper left corner. You can then uncheck any data that you don't care to see, such as water intake or how much you're moving per hour. You can also drag and drop items to rearrange the different metrics and show what matters most at the very top of your dashboard.

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Customize the Fitbit's display

To change what you see when you look at your tracker, open the Fitbit app, navigate to the Account tab and select the tracker to open its settings. From within this settings menu, you can change the watch face, reorder or disable certain metrics from displaying on the tracker and select what appears when you tap the watch or activate Quick View.

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Find a misplaced tracker

The chances of you misplacing something you keep on your wrist virtually 24/7 are slim to none. But it happens. And clip-on trackers often end up in piles of dirty clothes.

If you've somehow misplaced your tracker, there is an easy way to locate it -- it just requires to you be within the range of the tracker. First, open the Fitbit app and attempt to sync with the device. If the sync works, it means you're at least in the vicinity of the tracker. If not, you can check your log and see when the last time the device synced. From that, you can try to deduce where you were and where you've been since then.

To narrow down where the tracker might be, you can download a Bluetooth LE explorer app, like LightBlue Explorer on iOS or Bluetooth Finder on Android. Some apps specifically made for finding a lost Fitbit are Finder for Fitbit on iOS or Bit-Finder Geo on Android. These apps search for Bluetooth signals and will display the signal of all the nearby Bluetooth devices. The lower the number, the stronger the signal is and the closer you are to the device.

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Link with IFTTT for awesome automation

Fitbit integrates with IFTTT. What that means is you can integrate the Fitbit into your smart home or with tons of external services.

For instance, if you own a Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew coffee maker, you can have it power on and brew a cup of coffee when the end of your sleep session is logged with Fitbit. You can also have your lights turn on when you wake up in the morning, your sleep logs saved to a spreadsheet in Google Drive or receive a motivational text message if you haven't achieved your daily goal by a certain time every day.

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9 of 11 Taylor Martin/CNET

Connect third-party apps

The Fitbit app is pretty all-inclusive, offering food and water tracking, an activity tracker, weight loss planning and more. But it's arguably not the best in any of those categories. If you're used to using a different app, such as RunKeeper for your runs or Lose It! for keeping track of weight loss and food, you can continue to use those applications and have them sync with the Fitbit app.

There are quite a few third-party applications that utilize Fitbit's APIs. To find them all, go to fitbit.com/partnership or the Account tab in the Fitbit app and tap Compatible Apps at the bottom.

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10 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Clean your Fitbit

Your Fitbit gets dirty, especially if you wear it while working out. Fitbit suggests taking a break from the tracker from time to time or giving the band a nice rinse and dry after working out or sweating.

It's also good to give the Fitbit a deeper clean from time to time.

For elastomer bands, Fitbit suggests using a small amount of rubbing alcohol and a soft bristled tooth brush to remove grime. For leather or metal bands, it suggests wiping the band down with a non-abrasive lint-free cloth and lightly dampening the cloth, if needed. Let the band air dry away from heat and direct sunlight.

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Set your stride length

For more accurate data on your distance walked, be sure to set your stride length in your account settings from the web. Go to fitbit.com and login to your account. Click the settings cog in the upper right corner and under Personal Info, you will find Stride Length and Running Stride Length. To calculate these, measure 20 or 30 feet (6 to 9 meters) and count the number of steps it takes to cover the distance while walking and while running.

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