Fitbit Introduces Live Tracking (with a little help from Apple)

Adam Miarka —  June 26, 2014

This week’s Fitbit iOS app update brings with it a welcome feature, in live tracking. Along with tracking steps throughout the day via one of their many trackers, new live tracking functionality relies on the iPhone’s GPS to monitor and provide real-time feedback on your exercise.

Fitbit has always been one of the fastest companies to allow 3rd party apps to update your stats. You have been able to import exercises through Runkeeper or MapMyRun for quite some time, but this is the first time that Fitbit it tackling this feature head on.

How Live Tracking Works

When you want to begin a new exercise, you simply open the Fitbit app and scroll down to the exercise entry. By tapping on the exercise entry, you are taken to a summary screen that shows both a chart of your workouts along with a list of them at the bottom. Swiping thru the charts will show you your exercise distance for the the last four weeks.

Selecting the timer icon at the top right of the screen takes you into the exercise screen showing you a few choices at the top and your current GPS status. The choices at the top allow you to select either a Run, Walk, or Hike. Below the type of activity are audio Cues and Playlists. With Cues, you can setup audio feedback depending on your preference. So if you want to hear audio feedback of your current stats (Distance, Time, Average Pace, ect) every half mile you can do that.

Once you are ready to start your workout, just hit the big pinkish circle. The new live tracking provides very basic data, but it’s enough for anyone looking to start tracking their workouts.   You get a nice simple screen showing time, distance, average pace. Sliding the screen to the left will also show you a real time map of your progress.

When you are finished with your exercise, you push the Pause button. You then have to hold down the Finish button until the screen fills with green so that you don’t prematurely stop a workout. Nice touch! You can then view a small summary of your workout including your steps taking, calories burned, and active minutes.

What’s next?

So what’s in store for Fitbit? According to Dave, Fitbit looks to be reading a few new trackers with advanced abilities. I could see Fitbit definitely integrating heart rate information into their app via Bluetooth LE. There are a plethora of sensors coming to the market that Fitbit could also utilize for exercises. Probably one of the best known companies is Wahoo Fitness which not only has heart rate monitors, but also cadence sensors for biking. Once thing is for certain, the future looks good for anyone looking to get into tracking their health. Glad we are starting to see some updates from Fitbit!

4 responses to Fitbit Introduces Live Tracking (with a little help from Apple)

  1. After a workout, the app tells me i have 17’14” pace, what does that mean?

  2. It means you averaged 17 minutes 14 seconds per mile for the exercise.

  3. I’m looking for an easy way for my family to track my runs etc real time, for both daily runs and races. Will this feature do that?

  4. Hi Krisi, this feature will not let them track you real time. You would need to use RunKeeper or MapMyRun for something like that.