Apple Watch users with tattoos wake up! Your dreams may have come true

Apple Watch Series 9 press shots
(Image credit: Apple)

Are your wrists covered in tattoos? If so, you've probably had to accept that your Apple Watch can't use the wrist detection feature because it can't detect tattoos as skin.

Well, now it seems like one of the biggest Apple Watch gripes could be fixed for some with the latest watchOS 10 beta.

According to Reddit user u/Mysterious-Side-4188 they have been able to use wrist detection on their Apple Watch Ultra for the first time ever after updating to the latest software.

Previously, the Apple Watch would lock itself when on a wrist with tattoos, leading to frustrating situations where users would need to continuously enter their passcodes to use the device as the Watch would lock on the wrist.

Many more users in the Reddit comments have also confirmed that the Apple Watch now works with tattoos on watchOS 10. But it remains to be seen how well the fix actually works. 

U/OceaniaAE-1 said, "Fixed for me! Full sleeves and always a pain point of getting the most out of my watches." but then returned to say "Well it was working for like 10 mins then I looked down again and it was black and needed a passcode again. I used for a solid 10 mins and it was going dim and everything."

"Update - So I was just messing around with it some more and it will work if I push it around to different spots. Further up my wrist where more design is it works. Down where I actually wear my watch I have thick wind bar mikiri and it doesn't work at all. Seems to be less picky but still no dice."

So it looks like some users may experience better reliability with watchOS 10 and tattoos but it's fully dependent on the design of your tattoo and the placement.

Apple Watch's tattoo crux — iMore's take

As a tattooed individual myself, I've always refrained from getting new ink further up my wrist purely because I didn't want to mess with my Apple Watch's sensors. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but my tattoos stop just before my wrist, and that means I can wear a shirt without anyone seeing and use an Apple Watch with wrist detection.

That said, I have many friends with tattoos who have hated using the Apple Watch because of this very issue, so it's promising to see that some users with tattoos are seeing improvements to wrist detection in watchOS 10.

At the time of writing, it seems like the wrist detection on watchOS 10 is only improved for some, but it's worth trying the feature again when you install watchOS 10 on your Apple Watch.

watchOS 10 launches on September 18 just in time for the release of Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2, so if you don't want to use the beta, you'll be able to test and see if your Apple Watch now works with tattooed skin very soon.

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself.

Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings.

John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019. 

John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.