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ScubaCinci

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 11, 2008
1,646
289
OH
It's reasonably well known that the AW does not play nice with some tattoos (and dark skin) depending on the person, color, and saturation. For some, no issues at all, for others it's inconsistent HR, O2 & fitness metric readings, and for some the watch locks upon arm down and will not function without turning wrist detection off. I'm in the latter category. I didn't know this was a thing beforehand or I would have had the tat modified to leave space where the watch sits.

That said, I'm wondering are there sensors that Apple could use to either improve the situation or fix it altogether? I was hoping maybe the AWU2 would have beefed up or additional sensors that would help but that didn't pan out. Maybe I'm being too optimistic. As it is, I'm not buying another AW until this is mitigated or resolved.

Before anyone mentions it:
  • Yes, I know it's my fault for getting the tattoo and being ignorant of the issue.
  • Yes, there are bottlecap stickers, second skin, scotch tape, etc. hacks that supposedly help. I've tried all I can find. I'm sorry to say they do not work for me or at best are very inconsistent.
  • Yes, I know I can wear it on the other wrist. I'm doing that when I need to have HR & other metrics tracking but for normal day to day use it bothers me and I don't like it. I tried for about 3 weeks and decided that wasn't going to work for me.
 

rKunda

macrumors 68000
Jul 14, 2008
1,604
591
I’ve had issues in the past but currently it has not been an issue.
 

ScubaCinci

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 11, 2008
1,646
289
OH
Anyone else have better luck with an ultra in terms of playing nice with tattoos?
 

HDJulie

macrumors demi-goddess
Jun 13, 2008
906
416
Little Rock, AR
I knew about the tattoo thing before I got mine so I don't have one close to my left wrist. I do have one on my right wrist & my Fitbit has some trouble with it. I'll switch arms this weekend to see what happens & report back
 
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HDJulie

macrumors demi-goddess
Jun 13, 2008
906
416
Little Rock, AR
I did 3 tests. The first picture is my right arm. The 2nd is the left underside. Each test was heart rate, blood oxygen, & wrist detection. I have the Apple Watch Ultra.

Test 1: On my right wrist, high enough to be on the bottom of the rose. Everything worked
Test 2: On my right wrist, fully on the blue rose. Blood oxygen did not work, heart rate & wrist detection did
Test 3: On the underside of my left wrist, fully on the 3 blue flowers & the bottom of the red rose. Only heart rate worked. Wrist detection did not work, nor did blood oxygen.



IMG_2378.jpeg
IMG_2379.jpeg
 

ScubaCinci

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 11, 2008
1,646
289
OH
Interesting, thanks. Mine is mostly black in that area so I'm sure that makes it all the worse. The worst part is, that area of the tattoo is basically background filler and I could have easily had it designed so it was left open had I known :(
IMG_9138.jpeg
 

HDJulie

macrumors demi-goddess
Jun 13, 2008
906
416
Little Rock, AR
The sensors use light, right? That's why the ink is a problem. Hopefully, they are working on either other means of doing the readings & such, or working on a light that can penetrate the ink.
 

ScubaCinci

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 11, 2008
1,646
289
OH
I read something somewhere about other sensors they can use in lieu of or in addition to the current ones that will work much better with tattoos.
 
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jamface

macrumors 6502
Jan 25, 2016
286
298
Have they once mentioned tattoo compatibility (or lack of) in all the time they’ve sold the watch?
 

Howard2k

macrumors 603
Mar 10, 2016
5,401
5,241
Seems like such a niche issue, I wouldn’t expect that Apple would be spending too much time on an issue like that. Good luck though.
 
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MarkX

macrumors 65816
Sep 10, 2015
1,149
1,386
Fochabers, Scotland
I have tattoos and fully accept that they hamper heart rate readings. Although they do work for me some times when I run, which is when I'm most concerned with readings I use a chest strap! Way more accurate than an optical sensor.
 

ScubaCinci

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 11, 2008
1,646
289
OH
Seems like such a niche issue, I wouldn’t expect that Apple would be spending too much time on an issue like that. Good luck though.
There are also people with dark skin that have had issues as well so not that niche...Apple is all about inclusion afterall. There is even a class action lawsuit about that - https://www.forbes.com/sites/emmawo...r-racial-bias-of-apple-watch/?sh=4252ca481799
Have they once mentioned tattoo compatibility (or lack of) in all the time they’ve sold the watch?
Not in any keynote but there are support articles on it and I would expect that if they were addressing the issue they would mention it prominently.
 

noteple

macrumors 68000
Aug 30, 2011
1,505
523
Interesting, thanks. Mine is mostly black in that area so I'm sure that makes it all the worse. The worst part is, that area of the tattoo is basically background filler and I could have easily had it designed so it was left open had I known :( View attachment 2266980
Laser lighten of some of the ink in that general area

 

ScubaCinci

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 11, 2008
1,646
289
OH
I've definitely considered that...I'm going to talk to my dermatologist. If it can be done without looking blotchy or weird, I'm in.
 
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