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No, Apple doesn't want you to wear an Apple Watch charging band, and that's a good thing

On Monday, Apple posted guidelines for creating bands for Apple Watch (opens in new tab) under Apple's "Made for Apple Watch" program. And, unsurprisingly, people are throwing a little fit about one of the requirements:

"Bands must not integrate magnetic chargers."

For all of you getting ready to rant on Twitter after reading that, deep breaths: I'm going to tell you why this is, in fact, a good thing.

Apple doesn't want your skin to burn off

Simple science: Chargers — and their respective devices — get hot as they charge. If Apple were to allow third-party manufacturers to make bands with integrated chargers or battery packs, not only would it make your Watch overly bulky, but you'd likely suffer some mild to moderate burning on your wrist whenever it turned on. Given that the company has no desire to get a reputation for products that might burn its customers, I'm 100 percent not surprised that Apple has put the kibosh on magnetic-charging watches through the bands.

"Bu-bu-buh my iPhone can have a charging case and it's in my pocket, like, all the time!" Yep. Pocket. Or bag. Not directly on your skin, nor is the Lightning port or charging interface directly exposed. On your Watch, the magnetic charger is part of its underside; thus, to juice up your device, any band would have to wrap around the bottom and place its charging interface directly on your wrist.

You don't want to electrocute yourself, either

Here's another reason why a charging band is a bad idea besides potentially turning your wrist into the Nazi from Raiders of the Lost Ark: moisture.

In Apple's Watch user guide (opens in new tab), the company specifically advises against charging in any place where water might be present, for the following reasons:

"[It] can cause fire, electric shock, injury, or damage to Apple Watch or other property."

Given our hands and wrists come into contact with lots of different kinds of moisture throughout the day, I think I'd prefer my watch dying an hour or two earlier over being electrocuted — wouldn't you?

Bands shouldn't interfere with heart and wrist sensors

Now, even if a company were to make a hypothetical band that incorporated a magnetic charger and you weren't worried about burning or electrocuting yourself, there's still one big problem with such a device: It would probably block your Watch's health sensors, and with it, your access to Apple Pay.

As we ran into last week with the heavily tattooed, if the Watch can't tell you're alive, it can't use wrist detection to automatically unlock your device. That means if you plan to use Apple Pay — or really, any feature of the Watch other than the clock face — you'll have to enter a passcode every time you wake the Watch. You could turn wrist detection off, but then your Watch's information would be available to anyone who picked it up (or pickpocketed you), nor would you be able to use Apple Pay.

In short: Not worth it.

You don't need a wearable charger

Because, really, let's be honest: You're not going to need to charge your Watch while you're wearing it. The Watch has had a pretty unanimously good battery rating from most everyone who's tried it — iMore included — dipping low during the evening only for those who were using it heavily for exercise or repeated phone calls and messaging. (In my personal opinion, after having used an Apple Watch for a few weeks, I think it's more likely you'll want to charge your iPhone during the day than your watch.)

Say that you do run low on battery during the day: It's easy enough to take the Watch off and charge it for half an hour to an hour. After a few hours of roller derby practice, I do this while I take a shower and eat — I don't particularly need my Watch while I shower, and 45 minutes is enough to give it at least a 40 percent increase in charging. (Apple's official specs (opens in new tab) say that you can charge the Watch to 80 percent in just 90 minutes, and a full charge in 2.5 hours.)

Now, all that said, I'm sure there will still be developers that attempt to make some sort of charging band — they just won't have Apple's official "Made for Apple Watch" branding behind them. After all, there's a company currently attempting a charging band by trying to use the Apple Watch's diagnostic port. So if you really, truly, one hundred percent think that a charging band is necessary to improve your Apple Watch experience — there will be options available for you. They just may not be good options.

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.

17 Comments
  • And that $249 charging band is now D.O.A
  • The glowing green eyes on the back of that watch are staring at me. It's a takeover by Apple aliens, robots, or both!
  • In over a week of use, doing everything from calls to lots of texts to plenty of time checks, and on average a 45 min workout daily (using the workout app which constantly tracks heartrate), I've never had it die on me before bedtime. We're talking 6:30am to 10pm, on average, having about 20 to 25% battery life left at 10pm on a full days solid use. On a light day, last week Wednesday, no workout, and no calls, it ended the day at 48%. Apple Watch battery life, for a first gen product, is great.
  • Agreed - rarely below 40% from 6a-11p, unless more than 30 minutes exercise, then it went down to 24% - still more than adequate for daily wear.
  • Unfortunately I cannot say the same. 70-minute workout on Sunday, watch was dead at about 8:00 p.m. after having put it on around 6:15 a.m. Then yesterday (Monday), a 25-minute workout, started with watch at 5:00 a.m., was dead at 8:40 p.m. (so, roughly 2 hours more time than Sunday, but still not 18 hours). Today I'm experimenting with not having the display activate on wrist raise, as I believe I had a lot of unintended screen activations from just moving my wrist around (ex: while driving). In addition, not having it so easily accessible (i.e., having to actually touch the watch to wake it up) requires more effort on my part that a simple wrist raise, therefore I somewhat break my "frequent checking" habit. ;) So far, this seems to be helping, I put on my watch at 5:30 this morning, now 5 1/2 hours later the battery is at 79%.
  • thank God apple is saving us from being electrocuted by 5V DC.
  • I know it's probably a niche topic, but I'm really curious on how you use the apple watch during derby practice, besides tbe obvious timer function. Do you use it as a skater, or only as a coach? Can you share any details? An imore post detailing this would be awesome, but I'll take what I can get :p Thanks :)
  • It's on my list of things to write this week!
  • "Electric shock" from a charging-band? Somebody has watched too much of MacGyver. Sent from the iMore App
  • Yeah because battery cases just burn everyones hands off when they use them... Oh wait....
  • Lets be honest, the only feeling you get from charging bands is the heat and nothing else. You won't get electrocuted lol
  • How long does the Apple watch daily charge last if you just use the watch to tell time?
  • I'm not a fan of the Apple Watch but that white band sure makes it look nice. As long as it doesn't turn yellow like the plastic MacBooks.
  • I consistently use my watch from 6 am to 10 pm daily and never run out of battery. In fact, as I type this message my Watch has been running all day and still has 55% left. During the day, I check glances, run apps, monitor my health, and receive messages with very limited battery drain. I've even used the workout app (which I know is fairly hard on the battery) with very good results. I have been extremely happy with my watch, and I know as Apple refines the software it will only get better.
  • I can't believe nobody has commented aggressively about this rediculous blog. Ok, I have had my watch for 1 week now. The information from this blog is stupid. First off anybody who spends 350$ up on a smart watch does so for its convenience and coolness! You would not start a fire or electrocute yourself with 5 vdc even if you submerged the watch and charger in a bucket of water. Secondly any company could make a band that could contain an insulated barrier between your wrist and the charger if your afraid of your wrist heating up a few degrees. Third, I would like a small external battery used to place beneath the watch and my wrist that would transfer the charge into the watch as I sleep. Then I could take off the external battery and place it on charge all day to be filled and ready to charge my watch at bedtime. I feel if I paid xxx$ for the conscience of a smart watch I want to be able to use it 24/7.. Isn't it all about the most you can get out for your money? All of your excuses why this could/should not happen are rediculous and stupid.
  • How has no one mentioned the smart connector located in where the watch strap fits into the bottom of your apple watch, how are you going to be burned from that? Plus that would eliminate the inability to use apple pay and the health app whilst your watch is charging.
  • This is absurd. I will not buy an Apple Watch till the piece of garbage gets at least a few days on a single charge. I have used pebble watches for the past 3 years and the last thing I want to have to do is charge my watch every night. Without a charging band of some sort you will never get more than 3/4 of a day of charge. The Apple Watch is a complete failure until you can wear the things like you would a regular watch. People that have bought into the delusion that the Apple Watch is a good product have not had any experience but the use of an Apple Watch. A charging band would not burn your wrist or shock you. You are all insane if you ask me.