Fitbit stuck in water lock or swim mode? Let’s fix it

water lock on FitBit Inspire 2

While many Fitbits are water-resistant, only a few models include a water lock mode. One of the biggest advantages of water lock mode is that it prevents your Fitbit from responding to accidental touches on its display and avoids any unintended button presses.

However, sometimes you can’t get your Fitbit out of its water lock after completing your swim or other water sports. It seems to get stuck in this mode no matter what you do.

And with water lock enabled, you can’t interact with your Fitbit, and it doesn’t respond to any taps, button pushes, or other actions on its screen!

If your Fitbit doesn’t come out of water lock, this article’s tips should get your Fitbit back to its normal state with the water lock off. 

So let’s read on!

Related reading

What is Fitbit’s water lock mode? 

Believe it or not, water from showers and water sports can actually activate your Fitbit’s screen. To prevent this, Fitbit introduced a water lock mode available on select models. 

Water lock disables your Fitbit’s buttons and touch screen from any accidental touches, swipes, or opening up apps that can happen when you swim, shower, or engage in other water activities.

When water lock is on, your Fitbit’s screen locks, and you see the water lock icon on your screen. water lock icon for Fitbit

While notifications and alarms still show up on your Fitbit’s screen, the touch screen is unresponsive and won’t allow any interactions.

How water lock turns on Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Versa 3 water lock on

Surprisingly, only specific Fitbit models allow you to manually turn Fitbit’s water lock on.

At this time, the Fitbit Charge 5, Inspire 2, Ace 3, and Fitbit Luxe have a manual option to turn their water lock on. However, your Fitbit automatically turns on water lock when you start a swim in the Exercise app.

While the Versa 3 and Sense also include a water lock, it’s an automatic-only swim mode feature that’s only turned on when you start a swim activity in the Exercise app (or auto-recognized)

Manually turn on water lock

  • Open your Fitbit’s Quick Settings and tap the Water Lock icon (it looks like a drop of water), then firmly tap your screen twice. Fitbit Charge 5 water lock

Manually turn off water lock

  • Firmly double-tap your screen.
  • Tap harder if you don’t see Unlocked on your Fitbit’s screen.

You turn off water lock mode using your Fitbit’s accelerometer, so you need to use more force than you usually do on your screen to get it to respond and turn the water lock off.

What to do when your Fitbit is stuck in water lock or swim mode

If you weren’t swimming, showering, or engaging in other water sports and your Fitbit automatically went into water lock, try pressing the side button(s.) Try pressing the button(s) once. If that doesn’t work, press the button(s) twice quickly and consecutively. Some readers found they needed to quickly tap the side button 5 times.

If you finish your water activities and cannot get it out of its water lock, you aren’t alone! Here are some of the tips that worked for us.

Before troubleshooting, make sure that you dry your Fitbit completely by wiping it with a microfiber cloth to soak up any remaining water droplets.

Don’t forget to dry your fingers too! And put on lotion after you disable water lock.

Try a stronger and faster double-tap

  • Strongly double-tap your Fitbit’s screen using more force than you usually do. Some of our readers suggest tapping with multiple fingers or your palm.
  • If you see a message on your screen about turning water lock off, tap your screen again another two times.
  • For Fitbit Inspire 2, firmly double-tap the screen, then press both side buttons simultaneously.
  • For Versa 3 and Sense, quickly double-tap the side button. If it doesn’t work at first, try again but press the button two times faster than before–you should do two quick taps of the side button.

Charge your FitbitFitbit Versa 3 seated correctly on its charger

Connect your Fitbit to its charger and a power source. See if it gets out of the water lock. 

This only works if the Fitbit is actually charging.

One of our readers, Jan, let us know a trick that worked for her Fitbit Sense and should work for other models.

  • Let your Fitbit Sense’s charge run out to zero, and then put it on the charger.
  • Wait for at least 5 minutes before turning it on while still charging.
  • Check and see if your regular clock face is back on and its water lock is off. 

So give Jan’s tip a try if nothing has worked thus far. Thanks, Jan, for the insight!

Change your Fitbit’s clock face

Temporarily change the clock face in the Fitbit app. Once out of water lock, return to your usual clock face.

  1. Open the Fitbit app.
  2. Tap the Today tab > your profile picture or icon > your Fitbit device.
  3. Select the Gallery tile. Gallery tile in Fitbit app for clock faces and apps
  4. Select the Clocks tab at the top. Fitbit app see clock faces made by Fitbit
  5. Choose and install a different clock face. We recommend you select one By Fitbit.

Restart your Fitbit manually use the charging cable button to restart fitbit alta or fitbit ace

  1. For the Luxe and Charge 5, connect it to its charger, then press the button on the charger 3 times, pausing for 1 second between presses. Wait for the Fitbit logo to appear.
  2. For the Inspire 2 and Ace 3, connect it to its charger, then press the side buttons together for 5 seconds and release. Wait for the smiley face to appear and your Fitbit to vibrate.
  3. For Fitbit Sense and Versa 3, press and hold the side button for 10 seconds until you see the Fitbit logo on the screen. Wait for the Fitbit logo to appear.

What to do if your Fitbit keeps activating Water Lock when not in water

If your Fitbit routinely goes into water lock mode automatically, try wearing your Fitbit a little higher up on your wrist. Also, make sure it’s snug but not too tight.

We also find that wearing your Fitbit on the inside of your wrist, rather than the outside, helps with this particular problem.

place fitbit on inside of wrist and arm
If you’re not getting good readings from your Fitbit, try placing it on the inside of your wrist and arm!

Also, make sure your Fitbit’s firmware is on the latest version and, if not, update it. Fitbit update firmware on Fitbit versa 3

For some Fitbits like the Inspire 2, there’s also a setting in your Settings app called Button Lock. Turning this on disables the buttons from activating when your screen is off. 

  1. Open the Settings app on your Fitbit.
  2. Scroll down to Button Lock and tap to turn it on.
  3. Confirm you want it on by tapping the checkmark.

Unfortunately, turning on Button Lock does cause a faster battery drain and results in your Fitbit needing more frequent charging.

Final thoughts

We hope that these tips helped get your Fitbit out of water lock mode. If not, let us know. And if something else ended up working, write up a quick comment and tell us how (and what we missed.)

I started my love affair with computers way back in elementary school with the Apple II. Since then, I've worked with technology in my career as a media educator and videomaker. I have an MFA in media making from Temple University, where I also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member. So I know a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides! After a cancer diagnosis, I turned to mobile technology like my Apple Watch to help me monitor my health throughout my chemotherapy treatment and later, to regain my wellness once in remission. I love sharing how to understand and use mobile tech, like smartwatches and phones, as a tool for empowerment to live our best and healthiest lives!

12 COMMENTS

  1. Have tried everything suggested but Fitbit will not come out of lock. It goes to set up wallet and then right back to locked swim mode

    • Hi Mary,

      Sorry to hear that your Fitbit is still stuck in water lock. What a pain!

      Can you let us know what model Fitbit you have this problem with (i.e. Fitbit Luxe, Versa 3, Sense)?

      If these tips didn’t help, we suggest you contact Fitbit Support and let them know everything you tried and that it’s still stuck!

  2. I’ve tried some of these tips but what I’ve now found is the only way to get my versa 3 out of water lock on a swim activity is to short press the side button 5 times and then the stop button comes up.

    This seems to work so far, but I’ve yet to try it in the pool.

  3. Thanks for posting this article! I was about to change my Sense fitbit for an Apple watch because of this. It was driving me crazy.

  4. Brand new Charge 5. I wanted to see how water lock worked. It took about 5 minutes of hard taps to get it on and now I can not get it unlocked.
    Phone technical phone was unsuccessful.

    Waiting for warranty email….This water lock feature looks like a dud.

    Does one actually need to use this function while swimming, or does going in exercise mode/ swim do the trick.

    • Hi Macfarside,

      Fitbit recommends water lock for any water-based exercises, although your Fitbit Charge 5 retains its water resistance whether water lock is on or off.

      When you use the Swim workout in the exercise app, water lock automatically turns on and then should also automatically turn off when you exit swim.

  5. Hey Beth!
    Thx so much for your help! TWO QUICK
    taps to my side button and it worked immediately!!! TY TY TY!
    I do have another fix you can add to your list, but it is a slow fix.

    Mine’s a Sense and I absolutely love it. Been swimming with it and using the lock mode for 3 summers now without issues. But first time I swam this season was a week ago and I could NOT get it out of lock mode! I did not goggle it or anything cuz my phone was in the house, but I tried tapping and swippeing a cazillion times and nothing.
    I finally gave up trying and hoped when it died on its own time, maybe it would reset itself. So,. I just let my phone charge run out to zero, put it on the charger and in 5 min I turned it on while still charging and the regular clock face was back on. Fortunately, that day my phone was low on charge so it only took a couple of hours to run out.

    Congrats on remission!!! Cancer’s such a tough diagnosis to hear.
    You’re a great teacher & writer as you explained beautifully and simply what to do. Again thank you for what you do to help us all out! 💐🌹🌸🌹💐

    • Hi Jan,

      Thank you for your lovely comment and the additional tip for Fitbit Sense–we will aff it in!

      Cheers,

      Amanda

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