Some tattooed users are getting bad readings from the Apple Watch’s heart-rate sensor [Update]

It seems like every new Apple product for the past several years has been plagued with some kind of issue. Well, don’t be surprised but Apple’s latest wearable is now suffering from what users are dubbing “Tattoogate”

According to iMore, various folks around the Internet are experiencing issues with the Apple Watch and its photoplethysmography sensor. The photoplethysmography sensor is located on the back of the watch and is used to measure the heart-rate by utilizing green LEDs and light-sensitive photodiodes. When the sensor encounters tattoo ink or specific pigments, it has an issue with accurately establishing readings. Naturally, this issue would be encountered by those that have heavy art around their wrist or the region of skin the sensor would come into contact with.

While accurate readings are naturally affected, there are some other functions of the watch that are also impeded when the watch cannot detect contact with your skin. Some of the other issues have to do with the watch’s auto locking feature, Apple Pay and workouts not being tracked properly. Although Apple has yet to comment, it looks like those with tattoos might have to endure the occasional misreading or abandon the Apple Watch entirely.

Update: Well, it looks like Apple has finally chimed in on the situation by updating their support page for the Apple Watch. Apple states:

“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.”

Currently, Apple is suggesting the use of an external heart-rate monitor. While this would certainly fix the issue for inaccurate readings, it still wouldn’t solve the auto locking and Apple Pay issue.

via Some tattooed users are getting bad readings from the Apple Watch’s heart-rate sensor [Update].

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