You’ve been logging all of your daily activities and exercises on your trusty wearable. But after accumulating all that data on your athletic accomplishments, you don’t want to leave it behind when you try out a new app. Here’s how to bring your information with you when you jump between the biggest health and fitness platforms.
The process doesn’t always happen smoothly, because these services all save your fitness data in slightly different ways—and they don’t necessarily want you to switch to another app. Although you can usually find export options, viable import options aren’t as common. Instead, you may have to try another solution.
In some cases you’ll need to set up a sync between two platforms: This doesn’t necessarily transfer the historical data you’ve already collected, but it does keep two copies of your data in two apps, starting from the moment you set it up. That way, if you then opt to leave one service for the other, you won’t need to import or export your information.
If you want to extract your data from your Fitbit account, you have to start at the service’s website. Log in, click your account avatar on the top right, and hit View account settings > Data Export > Request My Data. Fitbit will prepare your information, which may take a day or two, and then email you when your download is ready.
Your data will appear as a JSON file, a fairly standard data format, but one which isn’t easy to read—for human eyes anyway. If you later want to view it in a spreadsheet, you’ll have to use a tool like this one to convert the JSON into CSV, a format that’s easier to view in Excel. And if you plan to share your exported data with another service, check which formats the second app will support—you may need to convert your JSON files to another type.
Instead of pulling historical data from your account and importing it into another service, you can also set up a sync that will share your current data with another app on an ongoing basis. A great tool for this is If This Then That, or IFTTT, which connects multiple programs so that an event in one can trigger an action in another. To use IFTTT, head to its website, create an account, click your profile name on the top right, and hit New Applet. Click This and choose Fitbit as your trigger—you can choose to share steps, calories, weight, sleep, or a daily summary. Then, when IFTTT prompts you for an action, you can have that exported data go to an Evernote notebook, a Google Sheet, a weekly email, a text file in Dropbox, and so on. From the time you set it up, IFTTT will log everything in the way you specify. These ongoing exports are useful if you want to analyze your data, or if you think you might want to switch to a new service at some point in the future.
This kind of syncing feature is also available in a free Android app called FitToFit. It continually syncs data from Fitbit to Google Fit, giving you the option of jumping from the former to the latter if you ever need to. It’s only available on Android though, and like IFTTT, it won’t pull old data from the past.
One more option is FitnessSyncer, a platform designed to synchronize data between several services. The simple-to-use program works with Fitbit, Strava, Apple Health, Google Fit, and other fitness apps. Like the other syncing tools we’ve mentioned, it won’t dig out previous data you’ve already logged, but will keep activities synced between services from the point you set it up—and if you end up sticking with just one service, you’ll still have access to all your data. The free version only syncs once a day and only with five different sources. For more frequent syncs between more apps, you’ll need to pay $4 a month or $40 a year for a Pro account.
If you want to import data into Fitbit, you have limited options, because it doesn’t offer a direct import tool. Instead, you’ll have to use the previously mentioned tools to sync your data with another service. Essentially, you want to switch to this one, you really need to use a compatible service and already be syncing that app with Fitbit.
Robert Malinowski is a former journalist who has interviewed murderers on death row, flown over L.A. with the LAPD and patrolled with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police near the Arctic , He joined our team since one year!