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Apple Confirms Wrist Tattoos are a Problem for the Apple Watch

It looks like the Apple Watch isn’t quite what it’s cracked up to be as those with tattooed wrists won’t be able to use one

If you’ve got a full-sleeve or even the smallest tattoo on your wrist and hope to grab yourself an Apple Watch, don’t waste your time as Apple has confirmed that tattoos on the wrist cause big problems for one of the Apple Watch’s biggest functions, its heart-rate monitor. It seems the sensor can’t quite interpret the blood flow when glancing through tattooed skin, causing its results to be inaccurate at best.

Since the discovery was made, Apple has since updated their support document and have acknowledged that the Apple Watch may not work properly for those with tattoos. The way that the heart-rate sensor works on most smartwatches is by shining infrared or green light through the skin measuring blood as it flows through your veins. On normal, untouched skin this works fine, but on tattooed skin, it’s not as easy and can interfere with the reading.

“Permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart-rate sensor performance,” Apple writes. “The ink, pattern, and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings.”

This doesn’t just pose a problem for those trying to use it for fitness, the Apple Watch also uses the sensor to detect whether it’s still being worn on a wrist, which if the watch detects it’s not being worn, notifications won’t be pushed to the device – another one of the watches main features. It can also cause the watch to lock if a passcode is enabled on the device. The only way users can currently get around these problems is by disabling some of the features and security measures that are supposed to be built in.

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