The Pixel Watch relies heavily on Fitbit to be an attractive smartwatch and fitness device, but if you only want the former, there’s one annoying little quirk. You can’t turn off the heart rate sensor on the Pixel Watch.
Google touts the Pixel Watch as the most accurate heart rate sensor yet in a Fitbit device, but it’s not an optional experience.
If you dive into the settings on the Pixel Watch or in the Fitbit app, there’s no way to disable the heart rate sensor. You can disable this on both the Apple Watch (Settings > Privacy > Health > Heart rate) and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 via the settings on the watch of the health app. On the Samsung wearable, you can also change the frequency at which the sensor collects data from continuously to every 10 minutes.
There is no such option on the Pixel Watch. It would actually be especially nice to see an option to change the frequency of heart rate data collection, as this obviously has an impact on Samsung’s watch.
Notably, Fitbit has removed the ability to disable the heart rate sensor on the Fitbit Sense and Versa 3, as well as some other devices released since 2020.
Why would you want to disable the heart rate sensor? As Apple points out, it could be a matter of privacy, but it could also come down to not wanting to use your wearable’s fitness features. The Pixel Watch is a useful tool that goes beyond just health and fitness, and it’s honestly a bit of a shame that there’s no way to disable the heart rate sensor to focus on just those elements. It would also be a great way to save some battery life.
We asked Google if there are any plans to change this in the future, but the company could only confirm that the heart rate sensor cannot be turned off “at the moment”.
Hopefully, future updates will give Pixel Watch owners more control over the heart rate sensor.
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