Some Tattoos Found to Interfere With Apple Watch's Sensors

A growing number of users have turned to social networks claiming that full sleeve tattoos, ones that stretch to cover the wrist, interfere with the Apple Watch's heart rate sensor and skin contact registration. Consequently, some Apple Watch users with tattoos have been unable to receive notifications and are frequently prompted to re-enter their passcode, if one is set, on the wrist-worn device.

Apple Watch Tattoo
A popular Reddit thread discussing the issue has received nearly 700 upvotes and 300 comments since being posted on Tuesday, and some users have unfortunately already coined the phrase "Tattoogate" to describe the problem. iMore soon followed up with a report confirming the issue, with the Apple Watch displaying inaccurate heart rate readings on the wrists of people with dark-colored tattoos.

"So I thought my shiny new 42mm SS watch had a bad wrist detector sensor," writes Reddit user guinne55fan. "The watch would lock up every time the screen went dark and prompted me for my password. I wouldn't receive notifications. I couldn't figure out why especially since the watch was definitely not losing contact with my skin. also I couldn't find anything online with people experiencing this issue. I was about to give up and call Apple tomorrow when I decided to try holding it against my hand (my left arm is sleeved and where I wear my watch is tattooed as well) and it worked. My hand isn't tattooed and the Watch stayed unlocked. Once I put it back on the area that is tattooed with black ink the watch would automatically lock again."

The severity of problem appears to depend on the color and ink saturation of the tattoo, with darker, solid tattoos causing the most interference with the Apple Watch's sensors. A temporary solution for affected users is to toggle off Wrist Detection in the Apple Watch app under the General menu on the main settings tab, but doing so will disable Apple Pay from being used on the Apple Watch.


iMore also points out that natural skin pigmentation does not have the same affect on the Apple Watch's sensors, so there is no reason to be worried if you have darker skin. But if you have tattoos, the best advice for now is to try out the Apple Watch yourself and rest assured that the device has a 14-day return policy. Apple has not provided comment on the matter, but we'll keep you posted if we hear anything.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

Neepman Avatar
85 months ago
Funny and fitting. Nothing says trash quite like a tattoo.
Score: 100 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sundog925 Avatar
85 months ago
You're tattooing it wrong?
Score: 79 Votes (Like | Disagree)
happydude Avatar
85 months ago
hahahahahahahhaha, perhaps the most unanticipated apple watch problem. really never expect that to pop up.
Score: 79 Votes (Like | Disagree)
camnchar Avatar
85 months ago
You're tattooing it wrong.

EDIT: Damn you!
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jouster Avatar
85 months ago
This is going to crush the hipster market.
Score: 55 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SSonnentag Avatar
85 months ago
Seriously people...you tat yourself up to look like a circus freak and get all upset when your your fancy new optical sensors can't recognize you as having a normal skin tone. Really?
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
airtag in hand

Apple Enhancing AirTags Anti-Stalking Measures With Android App and Shorter Sound Intervals

Thursday June 3, 2021 11:10 am PDT by
Apple is enhancing AirTags security to prevent stalking using the Bluetooth devices, Apple told CNET today. Apple is already sending out over-the-air updates to AirTags that will shorten the amount of time before an unknown AirTag alerts you if it is in your possession. At the current time, AirTags play a sound after three days of being away from their owner. After the update, AirTags will...
maxresdefault

Here's How Apple's New iPhone to iPhone Data Migration Feature Works in iOS 12.4

Tuesday July 23, 2019 1:20 pm PDT by
Apple this week released iOS 12.4, the newest version of iOS 12 available for iPhones and iPads. One of the new features in iOS 12.4 is an updated data migration option that uses device to device transfers rather than relying on iCloud. Apple didn't provide much information on the new data migration feature, so we thought we'd check it out in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the ...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
tmobilelogo

T-Mobile Data Breach Included Personal Information of Almost 50 Million Customers

Wednesday August 18, 2021 5:41 am PDT by
T-Mobile has issued a statement with further details about a cyberattack that the company confirmed earlier this week, confirming that the data breach included the personal information of almost 50 million current, former, and prospective customers. Late last week, T-Mobile confirmed that a forum post that purported to offer data from more than 100 million people was the result of a company...
airtag precision finding

AirTag Includes U1 Chip for 'Precision Finding' Feature

Tuesday April 20, 2021 12:11 pm PDT by
Apple's long-awaited AirTag was finally unveiled today, and as expected, the small circle-shaped accessories can be attached to items like wallets, keys, and more to allow them to be tracked in the Find My app. As was rumored ahead of release, each AirTag is equipped with a U1 chip, and on devices that also have U1 chips, there's a Precision Finding feature. U1 Ultra Wideband chips are...
m1 macbook air

Kuo: Mini-LED MacBook Air Coming in Mid-2022

Thursday July 22, 2021 7:48 pm PDT by
Apple will release a new version of the MacBook Air around the middle of 2022, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in note to investors seen by MacRumors. The upcoming MacBook Air will feature a 13.3-inch mini-LED display, which would make it the second Mac to gain mini-LED technology after the 2021 MacBook Pro, which is rumored to include a mini-LED display and is expected to launch later ...
Apple Films Tom Hanks Finch First Look

Apple Original Film 'Finch' Starring Tom Hanks to Premiere November 5

Thursday August 12, 2021 8:52 am PDT by
Apple today announced that the original film "Finch," starring Tom Hanks in its titular role, will premiere on Apple TV+ on Friday, November 5 and shared a first-look image from the film. The first look at "Finch," shared by Apple. The film, which is anticipated to be an awards season contender, revolves around a man, a robot (played by "Get Out" actor Caleb Landry Jones), and a dog that form ...
2016 macbook pro flexgate b

Apple Faces Another Class-Action MacBook Pro ‘Flexgate’ Lawsuit

Thursday August 20, 2020 6:43 am PDT by
Another class-action complaint has been lodged against Apple, which claims that the company was aware of a MacBook Pro design flaw that caused some devices to have backlight display issues (via Apple Insider). The so-called "flexgate" problem was present in some MacBook Pro models manufactured between 2016 and 2017. The problem appears as dark patches along the bottom of the MacBook Pro's...
macbook air m1 first benchmark

Apple Silicon M1 Chip in MacBook Air Outperforms High-End 16-Inch MacBook Pro

Wednesday November 11, 2020 4:43 pm PST by
Apple introduced the first MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini with M1 Apple Silicon chips yesterday, and as of today, the first benchmark of the new chip appears to be showing up on the Geekbench site. The M1 chip, which belongs to a MacBook Air with 8GB RAM, features a single-core score of 1687 and a multi-core score of 7433. According to the benchmark, the M1 has a 3.2GHz base...