Inked and irked: Apple Watch users report tattoo problems

AP Photo/Eric Risberg

AP Photo/Eric Risberg

It's an annoying problem for the unlucky few: the Apple Watch's heart rate monitor might not work if you have a tattoo on your wrist.

Inked and irked Apple fans have dubbed the issue “TattooGate” on Twitter, complaining that they must choose between their body art and their stylish gadget. Apple, for its part, acknowledged the issue on its support website.

“Permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart rate sensor performance,” the site reads. “The ink, pattern, and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings.”

While the issue might sound like one of those “1 percenter problems” some Twitter users wondered how it happened that Apple didn't have a single designer or tester with a wrist tattoo who would have noticed the problem. Apple suggests that users who can't get a consistent heart rate reading connect their Apple Watch wirelessly to external heart rate monitors.

If you have a wrist tattoo and aren't planning on removing it for the sake of the watch, it might make sense to test out the heart rate monitor feature before you commit to a watch.

This isn't Apple's first “-gate” problem. “Antennagate” in 2010 was a short-lived problem with the iPhone 4's antenna design, which caused reception problems when people covered a certain spot on the antenna with their bare hand.

Then-CEO Steve Jobs apologized to people who were not completely satisfied with the iPhone 4, but denied there was an antenna problem that needed fixing. Even so, the company gave out free protective cases. Even so, “Antennagate” didn't seem to make a dent in the iPhone's popularity or sour Apple's devoted fan base, and it's unlikely that “TattooGate” will make or break the Apple Watch.

Apple WatchbusinessScience & TechnologyTattoos

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A San Francisco Unified School District program that gave would-be teachers extra training in the classroom has lost a key partner. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/2019 S.F. Examiner)</ins>
USF ends partnership with SFUSD in teacher residency program

District launched training effort to improve low retention rates for new hires

The Rev. Norman Fong of the Chinatown Community Development Center joined San Francisco city leaders and community partners in a “Campaign for Solidarity” at Civic Center Plaza on Saturday, Apr 17, 2021. (CraigLee/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
City launches ‘Campaign for Solidarity’ to combat racial violence

Mayor London Breed, the city’s Human Rights Commission and community leaders launched… Continue reading

It’s time to break the code of silence and end the stigmatism against infertility, which is fairly common. <ins>(Shuttterstock)</ins>
Struggles with infertility are common

We all can support friends, ask legislators to mandate sppropriate insurance

Foxes, aka Louisa Rose Allen, says she taken back control of her music in recent years. <ins>(Courtesy Hollie Fernando)</ins>
Foxes back with ‘Friends in the Corner’

Pop star doing a lot ‘behind the scene’ since 2016

Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs spoke to San Francisco’s new Guaranteed Income Advisory Group on April 16. (Courtesy SFGOV)
City launches task force to explore Universal Basic Income programs

San Francisco on Friday launched a guaranteed income task force that could… Continue reading

Most Read