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In events that are being melodramatically dubbed ‘tattoo-gate’, it seems certain types of wrist tattoo are stopping the Apple Watch from functioning properly.
There have been reports floating around on Twitter and Reddit of problems with the wrist-sensing capabilities of the Watch. It seems certain types of ink – large, dark tattoos in particular – cause the heart rate sensor to play up and malfunction.
The watch uses this technology to figure out if it’s being worn. If it can’t confirm continued skin contact, it can’t be sure if it’s still on the owner’s wrist. This can be a big problem because the watch locks itself every time it’s taken off. This means that some of those with tattoos are being asked to type their passcode every time they try to use it as the watch assumes it has been taken off the wrist.
The team at iMore took a more scientific look into these alleged problems and after some experiments concluded that while not all tattoos are an issue, there is definitely some truth here. The science, in short:
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.
Now, this can be remedied easily enough by turning off Wrist Detection from the Apple Watch settings app. However, that solution is not without its compromises as it means many of the Activity measurements will be unavailable and the watch won’t be able to automatically lock or unlock for security. Plus you won’t be able to use Apple Pay.
Are you an Apple fan with a prominent wrist tattoo? It may be worth visiting the retail store for a thorough trial before parting with your hard earned cash…