I was reading about the privacy of Fitbit devices, and this Huffington Post article has a rather concerning point with regard to GPS-enabled fitness trackers:

In certain cases, the government or legal institution could request your fitness tracker information and then use it against you in a court of law. That’s what happened to Chris Bucchere, a San Francisco cyclist who struck and killed an elderly pedestrian. Bucchere was charged with felony vehicular manslaughter, carrying a potential penalty of six years in prison. Prosecutors obtained his data from his GPS-enabled fitness tracker to show he’d been speeding before the accident. Bucchere’s self-monitoring became a piece of evidence against himself due to a lack of privacy. This is not to condone Bucchere — clearly he committed a crime — rather this just illustrates one example of surprising use cases for what you might think is harmless personal data.

Clearly, I would rather not have my GPS location recorded at all times, in case the data gets hacked or given to anyone without my permission. The Fitbit Surge is one of these GPS-enabled fitness watches - how can I disable GPS tracking and clear any information they have on me? Is the GPS data also synchronised to the cloud?

2 Answers 2


According to the FitBit community, the GPS is only enabled when you have turned on a tracking activity, example, walking, hiking, biking, etc. From the Fitbit Community:

GPS is only when you are tracking an activity that uses GPS, such as hiking. As soon as you stop tracking that activity GPS is turned off.


By design, it should only turn on when you have started an (outdoor) exercise using the controls on the Surge - that means, Run, Free Run, Walk, Hike, Bike, or Golf. If you haven't started one of those exercises, there wouldn't even be a way of telling if the GPS is on or not.

In other words, to keep the GPS off, just don't run any of those controls. If you want to have a hike registerd, just put it in "work out" mode and rename it as a hike later. (From the FitBit community)


This question is likely better asked of FitBit directly through their help site. Yes, your GPS data is synced to the cloud, because it is retrievable using the FitBit developer's API as described in their API docs. Accessing it programatically requires a few hoops be jumped through, but disabling this feature and/or deleting stored data is not documented.

FWIW, I've found their email support team to be very responsive when I have questions.

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