Fitbit has announced a recall of their older Ionic GPS smartwatch, due to situations where the battery can overheat and cause burn injuries. The Ionic was introduced back in 2017, which was really their first smartwatch to support a 3rd party app platform as well as on-watch payments and on-watch music streaming services. It was a massive step forward for the company, setting their watch platform stage for the next half-decade. Their previous smartwatch was the Fitbit Blaze.
The company, in conjunction with the Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) says there are cases where the battery can overheat, and can cause burns. The CPSC says they’ve received 115 reports in the US (plus 59 internationally) over the battery overheating. Within that, 78 of those reports in the US include third-degree burns, with four reports of second-degree burns. Additionally, 40 burn injuries were reported internationally.
In a statement, Fitbit says:
“Customer safety is always Fitbit’s top priority and out of an abundance of caution, we are conducting a voluntary recall of Fitbit Ionic smartwatches. We received a very limited number of injury reports – the totals in the CPSC announcement represent less than 0.01% of units sold – of the battery in Fitbit Ionic smartwatches overheating, posing a burn hazard. These incidents are very rare and this voluntary recall does not impact other Fitbit smartwatches or trackers.”
Fitbit ceased making the Ionic two years ago in 2020, but is offering a refund of $299USD, plus a discount of 40% off select Fitbit devices. You do not need to actively be using the Fitbit Ionic to receive these. The company says they sold approximately “1 million” Fitbit Ionic devices in the US, and then another 693,000 internationally. Which…is substantially less than I would have expected.
Fitbit has a dedicated page to the recall here, which answers pretty much every question you can think of. Starting with the most important – which is that Fitbit says you should stop using the Fitbit Ionic (in the event you’re still using it). Fitbit says this recall doesn’t impact any other devices. The Fitbit Ionic looks like the above photo, but on the back of it, it’ll say FB503 – which is the Fitbit Ionic model number.
The company says in the FAQs that you don’t need to be actively using the Fitbit Ionic to partake in the recall, saying:
“Ionic users, including inactive users, are eligible for a refund. For further information on how to receive a refund, visit our refund registration page. After starting the refund process, you’ll also receive information on how to access a special discount on select Fitbit devices, bands, and services, if available in your region, for a limited time.
So obviously, if you’ve got one sitting around in a drawer, then now’s a good time to dig it out. The $299USD refund is enough to cover basically every Fitbit device the company makes today. Their highest-end unit, the Fitbit Sense, is $299USD – so it easily covers that, plus you’ve got a 40% discount code atop that. The discount code is also applicable for certain bands/straps/accessories as well.
On that recall page, they also have all the international numbers and contact points as well, so this isn’t limited to just a US recall – it’s valid for all countries. Obviously, watches don’t discriminate and only burn certain countries.
It’s worth noting that this is hardly the first time we’ve seen a watch recall due to overheating batteries. In fact, we saw one just a few months ago with COROS recalling certain watches due to overheating batteries. In that case, they didn’t involve the CPSC, so we don’t know how significant or widespread the problem was.
And of course, more widely than just smartwatches, overheating batteries have long been a tech issue. Remember Samsung’s massive overheat and catch fire nightmare? Or, the entire hoverboard situation? Or heck, even the Boeing 787 battery saga. This isn’t the first, and won’t be the last time we hear of battery issues.
On the bright side, five years later, many people have probably moved on from the Ionic – saving both potential burns, as well as gifting your wallet $300.
With that, thanks for reading!
Thought about making a “no longer a Blaze but a burn” joke but thought better of it.
That’s amazing. You win the internet for today. 🙂
Thank for letting us know
eBay is now vacuumed for used working Fitbit Ionics….
Recall FITBIT Ionic
Unfortunately at least in Germany the refund process of Fitbit does not work. After adding the register number two times the system replies register number not found. Even after starting the process all over again and waiting longer than the required 30 min it does not work. It just works that way that all datas in the to the to the account connected app are disappeared and the watch is not possible to be used any more!! Thank You very much, FITBIT!! So Fitbit seems to design this process in a way that the watch is out of use, but they don’t have to pay.
My wife was so far very happy with the FITBIT Ionic. Now she is totally pist off and will not buy any device from FITBIT or Google for the rest of her life. Me too!
It is unbelievable how unprofessional this is managed by FITBIT!
you are correct the code they sent wont work. it hard to verify without that.
So I’m an Ionic user who’s a bit stuck with where to go next. Ironically, it seems the Ionic was the only decent watch/GPS/HR device that Fitbit have ever managed to make. All the ones since have substantial flaws? According to the reviews on here, the Sense and Versa 3 have issues with HR accuracy, and the Charge 5 struggles to get accurate HR and GPS signal at the same time. My friend has a Charge 4 and the GPS is hopeless on that too. Have any of these issues been resolved?
In addition to that, I don’t like the styling of any of Fitbit’s current offerings (they all look a bit rounded/girly to me, I prefer the flatter glass with some kind of bezel to protect the edges from damage). But as I’m somewhat trapped in the Fitbit ecosystem, I’d live with the device styling if the functionality was fine.
It’s all very frustrating as I was really happy with my Ionic (and it seems like the catching fire issue is pretty rare, but can understand why Fitbit decided to recall). I’ve only recently started using a new one because the battery wore out on my first. So the only upside is that I’ve got two Ionics to cash in for the refund!
Maybe jump the ship and get yourself Garmin Venu 2.
Fitbit are not providing refunds. Simply deactivating devices and leaving us without anything. They say there is a delay but on the forums people have been waiting months, myself included. Their helpline does nothing but provide an international number to call (which still doesn’t solve anything).