The Buzz Latest News

Apple Watch May Not Work as Well If You Have Tattoos

Apple Watch

Image: Apple

If you were planning to pick up a version of the Apple Watch and you have tattoos, you may want to reconsider rushing to put in an order for the tech device. A few Redditors found that their ink was keeping the watch from working properly.

Something about tattoos extending to your wrist makes the Apple Watch think the user is not wearing the watch, sometimes causing it to lock, forcing the wearer to enter a password when they use it. The wearer has the option of turning off the wrist detector, but some worry that could expose the owner to security issues with Apple Pay and other apps included with the watch. Tattoos can also make it difficult for the watch to take your pulse, receive notifications and make calls. 

The problem lies in the colors of tattoos — specifically solid tattoos in dark colors like red — which prevent the watch from reading your pulse. “Apple uses various spectrums of light to track the blood flow through your skin,” iMore says. “Anything that reduces that light’s reflectiveness — ink pigmentation within your skin, for example — can interfere with that sensor.” The site found that darker tattoo colors like black and red make the watch misread your heartbeat or ignore skin contact, while lighter colors are slightly easier for the watch to work with (the readings weren’t as inaccurate and the watch was able to better acknowledge skin contact with those lighter hues). iMore notes that these problems don’t arise if your skin is naturally darker, or if you have scars on your wrist.

While it doesn’t mean people with tattoos can’t use the Apple Watch, it is important to do diligent testing if your ink extends to the area around your wrist. The Apple Watch doesn’t come cheap and the last thing you want is to spend money on an item that isn’t going to work in the way it’s supposed to. Or you can just wait for Apple to improve on the watch so it does work no matter what kind of ink you’re sporting.

[via CNN Money, iMore]