Android Presents Users With A Fitness-Tracker Quandry

Some unfortunate news for Android users that use fitness trackers of any kind – things are going to get tricky in the near future.

Google Fit Service = Dead

According to an Ars Technica article posted last month, Google will be shutting down its “Google Fit” fitness/health service in 2025.

Google Fit is an application programming interface (API) that was created in 2014 to sync health data from 3rd party devices (like Fitbit or Garmin devices) into your Google account. It also allowed users to sync data from other health-related devices (like smart scales) to view it all in a single dashboard.

This kind of service allowed users to switch between different fitness devices brands (like Garmin or Strava) while keeping all their historical fitness data and trends in a single place. Simply using the Garmin app would mean that you could lose all your data if you switched to a Fitbit device.

Google Fit is not the only fitness-related API that Google devices have, however.

Fitbit Accounts = Dead?

Fitbit devices have own API. According to the Fitbit API documentation “the user’s data is tied to their Fitbit account instead of their device.” This API lets users “store, share, and manage” their data in the cloud, and allows users to view and interact with their data on many different platforms (phone, Fitbit, tablet, desktop, etc.).

Google bought Fitbit back in 2021, and in September of 2022 Google announced that it would eventually eliminate Fitbit accounts and require Fitbit users to use their Google accounts. This requirement to use Google for existing Fitbit owners was optional in 2022 (although new users had to use Google accounts), but was slated to become mandatory in 2025.

With Google closing down Fitbit accounts as soon as next year, though, it’s unclear what will happen with this API (and the data that it managed)

A New Fitness API – Health Connect

After buying Fitbit Google had two competing fitness-related APIs, so they did what any tech giant does, they decided to create a third API! Relevant XKCD

This new API is called “Health Connect”, and it currently has an app in the Google Play store (that only works with Android 13). In Android 14, Health Connect is a built-in part of the operating system.

The most unfortunate part of this move is that Health Connect data appears to be on device only by design. Which means it’s unclear what happens to the historical data when users upgrade phones or switch devices.

Options to Keep Your Health Data

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of good options for users that would want to keep all their health data from various devices in one place and have that data be portable across devices.

It seems like a big part of being a Google/Android user is now planning what your strategy will be when (not if) Google cancels a project/app/device that you use.
Here are the three best options I see:

  • If you love Android/Fitbit and refuse to switch platforms and are okay with potentially losing your historical health data then you can stick with Android/Fitbit devices for the time being. However, you will need to move your Fitbit account to a Google account, and start preparing for when Google shuts down Fitbit.
  • If you want to stick with Android and are willing to change fitness trackers, then you may want to consider a Garmin/Withings/Whoop/Strava device. Keep in mind that the data in your device’s app will likely be lost if you ever switch to a different 3rd party fitness device, though.
  • My strongest recommendation (biased though it is), however is to consider switching to an iPhone and Apple Watch or other fitness tracker that syncs with Apple Health (Fitbit doesn’t). The iPhone’s Health app was released a few weeks before Google Fit and is still going strong (and even improving). It’s also worth noting that you can download apps for just about every Google service (GMail, Maps, Drive, Search, Photos, etc.) and simply use the iPhone’s more stable hardware and software support.