Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Tech News

Inked & incensed: Apple Watch won’t work on tattooed or scarred wrists

Apple may have a small problem with their newest piece of technology; the Apple Watch isn’t working on people with tattooed or scarred wrists.

apple watch tattoos

apple watch tattoos

The Apple Watch has a major problem

The Apple Watch is supposed to come with a host of cool features; from tracking heartbeats and sending them to loved ones, to allowing you to use Apple Pay without pulling out your phone. So what happens when these features do not work? Enter tattoogate.

Some Apple users are reporting the very features that make Apple Watch useful are not working. Why? Apparently, the infrared sensors Apple uses cannot “see” through wrist tattoos or scar tissue. Since the sensors cannot operate properly, users cannot pay for items, accurately track heartbeats, or use the sensor’s ability to tell when it’s on your wrist.

When the sensors are functioning correctly, the device can tell when you’re wearing it, so you do not have to enter your passcode every time you need to use it; and since tattooed users do not have this ability, they have lost a bit of the novelty of the Watch.

The type of tattoo makes a difference

YouTube user, Michael Lovell, demonstrates the problem. When the device is on his non-tattooed left side, the device works without issues. However, when he switches it to his tattooed right side, the device stopped working and asked for the passcode.

The type of tattoo seems to make a difference in the effectiveness of the device: big blocks of dark color seem to be most problematic, while lighter shades go unnoticed by the device.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

This seems odd given the device will work regardless of skin tone, however, as iMore notes, “natural skin pigmentation doesn’t block light in the same way artificial ink pigment, or even scar tissue does.”

Perhaps they should have addressed this issue before launch. I would not be a happy camper if I threw down my money, only to find out that the device isn’t fond of tattoos.

There is a workaround, but with a catch

For users with tattoos or scars that want to continue to use their devices, there is a workaround, but it will make your device less secure. To continue using your device, simply turn off wrist detection all together and you will not longer need to enter a passcode at all.

Again, do so with caution, as you will be less secure, but at least the device will function. I am not sure what the workaround is for tracking heartbeats, since the device cannot read them without the wrist sensor. Hopefully Apple will come up with a better way to deal with this problem, or some users may be hopping mad.


Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.



Tech News

AI art is taking over. Generators are popping up across social media and forum sites, but an AI-generated tattoo tool? Now that's cool!

Tech News

(TECH NEWS) The Apple Watch Series 6 is a ridiculous display of self-flattery—but that doesn’t mean people won’t line up to buy it in...

Tech Gadgets

(TECH GADGETS) A lot of people balked at the idea of an Apple Watch, and even though many of its features seem superfluous, it...

Tech News

(TECH NEWS) A few weeks ago, the Red Sox got in trouble for stealing Yankees signs with an Apple Watch. They were stealing signs...

The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.