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Wearable Tech

How to set up the Fitbit Ionic

Fitbit's fitness-first watch is easy to set up, though the process takes a bit of time. Here's what you need to know.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Fitbit Ionic is the company's second smartwatch. Following the more basic approach of the Blaze, the Iconic adds mobile payments, apps and watch faces to Fitbit's existing fitness platform.

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Getting your Ionic set up and ready to help you keep tabs on your overall health isn't a lengthy process. I suggest charging the Ionic before you get started connecting the watch to your phone.

Get the app

The first thing you'll need to do is download the Fitbit app to your iOS, Android or Windows device.

Fitbit's app is compatible with over 200 devices. However, if you are curious whether or not the app and syncing of your Fitbit Ionic will work, there's a tool on the Fitbit website to check compatibility. 

If you don't have a mobile device, you can download the respective app for your computer's operating system from this page.

You'll also need to sign up for a Fitbit account, using either the mobile or desktop app.

Pair the Ionic

fitbit-ionic-setup

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

After installing the app and signing into your account, it's time to connect the watch to your phone.

Find and select the Ionic from the list of Fitbit devices. The app will instruct you to plug the watch in. A few seconds later, the app will begin looking for an Ionic available to pair with. Once it's found, tap on the Ionic listed and ensure the four-digit number in the app matches the number displayed on the watch.

Depending on your device, you may have to approve more Bluetooth connections (sometimes referred to as "Bluetooth LE") in order to keep your device synced and allow for notifications.

The rest of the process

fitbit-ionic-setup-2

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

With the Ionic paired with your phone, the next step is connecting the watch to your Wi-Fi network. Doing so will allow it to download and install software updates, as well as sync music to the watch in the future.

This process can take awhile. For me, it took about 15 minutes. Just keep your phone and watch near one another, and wait until you are alerted the installation has finished.

During the update, you have the option of tapping through various features of the watch, or skipping past it. You'll also need to approve sharing your location with Fitbit (used to track runs and workouts), along with advice on how to wear it and basic navigation tips.

For me, the entire process took roughly 20 minutes, the bulk of which was taken up by a software update.