Apple Watch on tattooed arms, are your health measurements working well? — 2022
The Apple Watch has become a must-have accessory for many people. Measure heart rate, oxygen saturation or track physical activity. These are some of the tasks that can be performed. But if you have tattoos or are thinking of getting one, you should be careful. In this article we take a look at what can happen if you wear this watch over your tattoos.
The sensor: the great affected by tattoos
If you take an Apple Watch and turn it, you will be able to see different diodes on the face that are not merely decorative. During use, you will be able to see that they light up green or red, depending on the model you have in your possession right now. The operation is quite simple, since their mission is to go through your skin to take different measurements on the blood flow of the wrist. It is quite similar to what different medical equipment does, such as a heart rate monitor that is placed on one of the fingers of the hand and uses a laser to measure heart rate and saturation.
But he has a great enemy in your skin. Tattoos can act as an insurmountable barrier for the laser that will not be able to pass through your skin. This is a serious problem, since it is being prevented from performing many functions. Although it is true that on many occasions it will affect depending on the intensity of the tattoo and the ink used. In the event that it is a subtle tattoo, surely nothing will happen. But if a highly concentrated and dark ink has been used, serious problems will arise.
Everything that can go wrong if you have tattoos
Once you take into account how the tattoos you have on your skin can affect the sensors of the watch, it is important to detail all the functions that it affects. Obviously, in general, you will be able to use the smart watch without too much problem. But as is logical, you are going to be able to have different problems throughout its use that can become really annoying. Below we are going to detail all these inconveniences that can occur and how it can affect you. Although you can always have a different alternative so that it does not affect you too much.
The watch constantly asks for the password
You will have been able to verify the different situations in which the Apple Watch has asked you for a password. Most of the time it will ask you when you take off the watch and put it back on your wrist, or when you change arms. But why does the watch know that it is on the wrist or on the table? Through the sensor on the back you can quickly detect blood flow, this being the indication that it is placed on a wrist. In the event that you take it off and put it on, you will have to insert it again.
This basically happens because, as we mentioned before, tattoos prevent the sensor from detecting your blood flow. When there is a high concentration of ink, there is no room for the light from the sensor to correctly pass through the skin and detect that you are wearing it. This will constantly cause the watch to ask you for the password even if you have it perfectly placed on your wrist. This can be really annoying in the long run because it will constantly force you to enter the password or unlock the iPhone so that the Apple Watch is also unlocked.
A priori it may seem quite logical that the solution is to eliminate the need to enter this code. But in this sense you would see how many functions are limited, such as Apple Pay. In this case, to make a payment through the contactless system, it is really important that it is unlocked. This is a system that requires maximum security, and the only way to identify yourself is through the four-digit code.
Unable to record heart rate
The sensor, beyond registering the presence of your wrist, also registers the heart rate. The sensor emits a beam of light at a very specific frequency whose mission is to pass through the skin and thus record the pulses in a comfortable way. In this case, as we have mentioned, the tattoos act as a barrier on the wrist that prevents a record of the pulsations from being made in any case. Two situations can occur in this case.
The first situation that can occur is that when making the measurement with the clock application, it does not return any data. The second will make the measurement really inaccurate. The latter can become important, since an inaccurate measurement can cause you to be scared by having an unreal heart rate, whether it is tachycardia or bradycardia.
Cannot measure oxygen saturation
Several Apple Watch models beyond measuring heart rate, also the ability to measure oxygen saturation. In this case, use is made of another sensor that passes through the skin and measures the concentration of oxyhemoglobin through signal reception, making use of its physical properties of excitation. It is something fundamental for many people, and as in the previous case, it requires that light can pass through the skin.
So we are again faced with a function that will be completely limited by the presence of tattoos. In addition, we are talking about a technology that requires great precision and that requires that the sensors be able to penetrate correctly through the skin. It can give an inaccurate result, but it can also directly generate an error in which no saturation value is displayed.
poor calorie counting
Another point that can fail when you have tattoos is counting calories. This is something important for many athletes who perform physical activity on a daily basis and want to know in a clear way how much they are burning. The algorithm requires knowing the heart rate at all times in order to have the most accurate information possible. This is something that is combined with the weight and height data.
That is why, indirectly, if they are wearing tattoos when using the Apple Watch and exercising, you are going to have problems. Although important sensors will work to know the exercise you are doing, but the calories will not be entirely accurate. It is true that it is not vital data, but for many it can be essential to keep a clear control of the physical activity that is carried out.
It can be fixed?
Seeing all the errors that can occur when a user uses it with a tattoo on the wrist, the big question is whether it can be solved. It should be made clear that this is not a bug or software-related problem. That is why no patch can be applied through an update and Apple can do absolutely nothing. We are talking about a physical problem related to the operation of the sensor and how the light beam must pass through the skin to get a response.
The solution may mainly lie in changing the Apple Watch hand. The most important thing is that in no case do you have any tattoos right in front of the sensor. Unfortunately, there is no other solution than removing the tattoo completely, something that may not end up being worth it to use the Apple Watch normally. The smart thing to do is know that if these features are important to you, don't get an Apple smartwatch.