Tattoos May Confuse Apple Watch Heart Rate Monitor, Company Admits | NECN

Tattoos May Confuse Apple Watch Heart Rate Monitor, Company Admits

"Permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart rate sensor performance," Apple said on its support website.

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    Have tattoos on your wrist? Your Apple Watch's heart rate monitor might get confused, the company says.

    It's an annoying problem for the unlucky few: the Apple Watch's heart rate monitor might not work if you have a tattoo on your wrist.

    Inked and irked Apple fans have dubbed the issue "TattooGate" on Twitter, complaining that they must choose between their body art and their stylish gadget. Apple, for its part, acknowledged the issue on its support website.

    "Permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart rate sensor performance," the site reads. "The ink, pattern, and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings."

    While the issue might sound like one of those "1 percenter problems" some Twitter users wondered how it happened that Apple didn't have a single designer or tester with a wrist tattoo who would have noticed the problem. Apple suggests that users who can't get a consistent heart rate reading connect their Apple Watch wirelessly to external heart rate monitors.

    If you have a wrist tattoo and aren't planning on removing it for the sake of the watch, it might make sense to test out the heart rate monitor feature before you commit to a watch.

    This isn't Apple's first "-gate" problem. "Antennagate" in 2010 was a short-lived problem with the iPhone 4's antenna design, which caused reception problems when people covered a certain spot on the antenna with their bare hand.

    Then-CEO Steve Jobs apologized to people who were not completely satisfied with the iPhone 4, but denied there was an antenna problem that needed fixing. Even so, the company gave out free protective cases. Even so, "Antennagate" didn't seem to make a dent in the iPhone's popularity or sour Apple's devoted fan base, and it's unlikely that "TattooGate" will make or break the Apple Watch.