In the days following the launch of the Apple Watch, there have been some rumblings that the smartwatch’s heart rate sensor may not work properly on people with wrist and arm tattoos. Now Apple has confirmed that, yes, tattoos can throw off the Watch.
In an Apple Watch support page on its website, Apple says that “permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart rate sensor performance.” Apple explains that the ink and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the Watch’s heart rate sensor, making the device unable to get an accurate reading. To get around the issue, Apple suggests wirelessly connecting the Watch to external heart rate monitors.
Obviously it’s kind of disappointing that the Apple Watch’s heart rate monitor can’t deal with some tattoos, but some folks with sleeves may still have enough non-tattooed skin at the bottom of their wrist for the Watch to get an accurate reading. And for tattooed folks that don’t care about measuring their heart rate, this won’t be an issue.