Fashionistas, Beware: Apple Watch May Choke on Ink

Turns out the smartwatch is confused by some relatively common anomalies on the skin, including tattoos. Here's the scoop.

Fashionistas, Beware: Apple Watch May Choke on Ink Photo (cc) by jfingas

It seems that the Apple Watch and arm tattoos don’t get along in what’s already been dubbed #TattooGate.

According to Reuters, tattoo ink wreaks havoc with the Apple Watch sensors, disrupting a number of its key functions.

“Turns out people with wrist tattoos will be unable to use Apple Watch for Apple Pay because it can’t sense you’re alive. Fun! :D,” complained Steve T-S on Twitter.

iMore performed some tests with tattoos and the Apple Watch and said users’ complaints are mostly legit, especially if the tattoo is a solid, darker color like red or black.

“The ink pigmentation interferes with the sensor’s ability to read your heart rate — and with it, the watch’s ability to assess whether or not it’s maintaining skin contact,” iMore said. “Apple uses various spectrums of light to track the blood flow through your skin. Anything that reduces that light’s reflectiveness — ink pigmentation within your skin, for example — can interfere with that sensor.”

One solution to the issue is to turn off “Wrist Detection” in the Apple Watch app, which will prevent the device from auto-locking, but it also switches off Apple Pay, which won’t help users like Steve T-S.

Of course, another more obvious resolution to the problem is to wear the watch on your other wrist, if it’s not tattooed.

Tattoos aren’t the only potential issue for the Apple Watch’s sensors.

“It’s also worth noting that prominent scars and other potential skin aberrations can trip the watch’s sensors,” iMore added.

Even if wrist ink isn’t an issue for you, check out “5 Reasons NOT to Buy an Apple Watch.”

Are you an Apple Watch owner? Share your experiences below or on our Facebook page. And share this article with your friends on Facebook!

Krystal Steinmetz
Krystal Steinmetz
A former television and radio reporter, I stay at home with my two young children, run a small craft business and freelance for Money Talks News. I have a BA in journalism ... More

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