Menu
Apple confirms tattoos can interfere with Apple Watch's heart rate sensor

Apple confirms tattoos can interfere with Apple Watch's heart rate sensor

Reports surfaced this week that the watch wasn't working properly for people with tattoos on their wrists

Dark tattoos may interfere with the Apple Watch's ability to capture a person's heart rate, Apple has confirmed on the device's product support page.

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

Some watch functions require direct contact with the skin to work. If the device can't detect a pulse, it assumes it isn't being worn, shutting downs apps and requiring people to enter their passcode. Turning off the wrist-detection function solves the issue, but prevents people from using Apple Pay.

Reports emerged this week that people with dark wrist tattoos were experiencing problems with their Apple Watches. One watch owner with a tattoo on his left wrist said the device would lock, preventing him from receiving notifications. He initially thought the device's sensors were defective.

But when he placed the watch on his hand, which isn't tattooed, he was able to get text notifications.

Green LED lights and photodiode sensors on the back of the watch measure the amount of blood flowing through a person's wrist, using a technology called photoplethysmography, according to the support page. Blood absorbs green light, and by flashing the LED lights, the watch can measure blood flow and then calculate a person's heart rate. When the watch is unable to get a read, it increases LED brightness and sampling rates, Apple said.

Apple reminded people that Bluetooth-equipped external heart rate monitors, like chest straps, can be connected to the watch to obtain vital readings.

Apple didn't immediately reply to a request for further comment.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Appleconsumer electronics

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments