In case there was still any doubt, Apple has confirmed that its new watch may have issues with tattooed wrists. The company broke the news with a support page for the Apple Watch heart rate reader, which details how to get the sensor to work.
Here’s the most important paragraph, which confirms the “tattoo-gate” rumors without offering an easy solution:
Permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart rate sensor performance. The ink, pattern, and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings.
Apple goes on to suggest that you can still get a heart rate reading by connecting your watch to a Bluetooth chest strap or any other connected external monitor. However, that doesn’t solve the bigger issue with the Apple Watch. According to some tattooed people, the device also locks up every time the screen switches off, requiring them to constantly re-enter the password.
It seems unlikely Apple will come up with a way to fix its current smartwatch, though hopefully the company can find a solution in time for the second-generation model. The answer may be as simple as tweaking the device’s heart rate sensor, but for now we wouldn’t recommend picking up an Apple Watch if you have a large tattoo on your wrist.