The Pixel Watch leans heavily on Fitbit to be an appealing 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 having the most accurate heart rate sensor in a Fitbit device to date, 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 turn the heart rate sensor off. This is something you can disable on the Apple Watch (Settings > Privacy > Health > Heart Rate) as well as on Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 through the on-watch settings of the health app. On Samsung’s wearable, you can also change the frequency at which the sensor gathers data from continuously to every 10 minutes.

There’s no such option on the Pixel Watch. It’d actually be especially nice to see an option to change the frequency of gathering heart rate data, as it clearly makes an impact on Samsung’s watch.

Notably, Fitbit 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 turn off the heart rate sensor? As Apple alludes to, it might be a privacy matter, but it may also come down to just not wanting to use the fitness features of your wearable. The Pixel Watch is a useful tool beyond just health and fitness, and it’s frankly a bit of a shame there’s no way to turn off the heart rate sensor to focus just on those elements. It’d 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 was only able to confirm that the heart rate sensor can’t be turned off “at this time.”

Hopefully, future updates will give Pixel Watch owners more control over the heart rate sensor.

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Ben Schoon

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