Apple admits tats are a problem for Watch


So there were all these rumors that the Apple Watch wouldn’t work for people with darker (natural) skin- but I’ve seen very little said to support that, and it seems it was being based on this tattoo thing.
Anyone know for sure?

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So far the rumors about the Watch not working well on pigmented skin have been false. Ink blocks the sensors, not melanin, from reports.

I’d say 95% of the people I know have tattoos of some sort, and I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen someone with a tattoo on their wrist. That hurts!

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Random thought. What about tattoo inks that change fluorescence or absorbance or any other optical characteristics by concentration of e.g. glucose in the surrounding fluid, or by presence of various biomarkers? (Or even a sealed RFID implant with lab-on-a-chip and NFC communication with the outside, or NFC-powered and near-IR communication.)

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The inquirer suggests not

The site noted that natural skin pigmentation won’t get in the way of the Apple Watch sensors, as it doesn’t block light in the same way as artificial ink pigment or even scar tissue.

Apple would deserve to get pilloried if this was a Melanin issue --plenty of “test subjects”, but as noted above, wrist tattoos are fairly uncommon.

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I couldn’t imagine they’d miss something like that.
Shockingly, many folks on twitter don’t:

  1. Fact check
  2. Think critically

Part of the issue seems to be that the heart rate sensor is also used to tell the phone that it is on somebody’s wrist. Some functions stop working when you remove the phone, and those functions won’t work without a working heart beat sensor.

Fortunately that particular function can be turned off.

Not a fan of ApplePay?

Even if it can’t be made to work right now, it should be possible to update the software to make wrist detection an option. And it may be possible to get the sensor working partly on tattooed arms with a different update.

make wrist detection an option.

Oh no. I’ve been mugged! They’ve taken my Apple Watch!

And then they used it to empty my bank account!

A mugger can take your apple phone. But then it has a lock code. I suppose the watch could have a lock code too. How about tapping out a secret code as an option? Better than a sensor which wants to know it is on somebody’s wrist. I could imagine that thermal or strain sensors could take the place of the optical sensor too.

I’ve actually been thinking about getting a wrist tattoo that would normally be covered up with a wristwatch for quite some time now, but probably won’t as the sensors are actually one of the selling points for the watch for me. Not like I’m lacking for other places to put it, though.

Selling point? I think this is a selling point for wrist tattoos, myself.

Oh my! What is a hipster to do?


Is this another “you’re holding it wrong” excuse?

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i always knew that one of these eons , my " i <3 amiga " tattoo was going to become an issue ~

Apple’s next solution: you could put a second Apple Watch (5% off when you buy two!) on your other wrist, so that they can act together to form a trusted BTLE zone.

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Might be hard to check the time if you wear it around your ankle though.

“Admits” it’s a “problem” suggests that (1) Apple didn’t know and (2) that this is some sort of screw-up on their part. It’s more likely that (1) Apple knew and (2) it’s a screw-up on the part of wrist-tattood people who expect body modifications not to have any effect on the function of the modified part of the body.