Recent reports suggest Apple Watch isn’t working fine for users who sport arm tattoos.
According to posts on Reddit, Apple Watch users with wrist tattoos are complaining of some issues with the devices wrist detection and pulse measurement features. Users reported they experienced the watch locking up, not sending notifications, and losing the ability to use some apps, Apple Pay or place phone calls when worn over inked skin.
One user noted that the Watch’s wrist detection tool wasn’t picking up that it was being worn. But when he put it against his hand, which isn’t tattooed, the Watch seemed to work fine.
Apple blog iMore confirmed the issue noting that the back of the watch flashes green and infrared lights, which is either absorbed or reflected by blood and allows the watch to sense a heartbeat. But tattoo ink is opaque, meaning no outside light will penetrate through tattooed skin. Solid-colored tattoos, especially red ones, reflect back only red light and solid-black tattoos absorb both colors of lights, causing the heartbeat detection to malfunction.
Cupertino however noted that the watch does work fine on dark-colored skin, and over scars and skin abrasions as in these cases, the skin is translucent and allows the lights to pass through.
For those who have issues with their wrists and still wish to use the Apple Watch, Apple has recommended them to turn off Wrist Detection in the Apple Watch app to avoid the device auto-locking. Unfortunately, doing so will also disable Apple Pay from use. Alternatively, users can try wearing it on a non-tattooed wrist.