Apple Watch confused by tattoos

It’s turning out to be one of Apple’s funniest blunders to date. Some Apple Watch users with full-wrist tattoos have found that the timepieces have trouble determining if they are actually being worn.

A number of sites have reported that people with full-wrist tattoos can’t get their Apple Watches to accurately read their heart rate or even detect that they are being worn at all. The Watches are giving false readings or shutting themselves off because the light sensors in the watch are being confused by the tattoos.

You can disable the ‘turn off when not being worn’ feature, however that also disables the ability to use the watch to make Apple Pay purchases.

It’s not the kind of problem you would have anticipated or tested for during the development stage but you might have thought that someone in the Apple testing labs would have tattoos.

I’m sure they tested the watches on people with all sorts of skin tones from near white to near black. They may have tested them on people with various skin conditions too. I’m not sure if they tested them on people with extensive scars (I’ve got a pretty large scar on my left wrist usually covered by a watch which is why I even mentioned that).

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said that the Apple Watch was ‘the most personal product Apple has ever made’ and apparently producing a wearable device that actually depends on physical contact is a bit trickier than they anticipated. I won’t be surprised to start hearing about people getting allergic reactions to the bands like has already happened with other wearable devices.

I figure that now that this story is out there, people are going to be testing all sorts of wearables on their tattooed selves to see if they get confused as well.

Not sure if Apple can even release a fix for this particular problem.

I suppose if you haven’t got a full-wrist tattoo already but you are thinking about getting one and you want an Apple Watch too then perhaps you should just get a tattoo of an Apple Watch and pretend.

Guy Wright

Guy Wright has been covering the technology space since the days when computers had cranks and networks were steam powered. He has been a writer and editor for more years then he cares to admit.


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