Man gets tattoo removed so Apple Watch can work properly

@hwclinicbrugge/TikTok Framesira/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘My Apple Watch kept locking’: Man gets tattoo removed so Apple Watch can work properly. Can a tattoo really block an Apple Watch?

‘Same for Garmin.’


Jack Alban


How badly do you want to wear an Apple Watch and enjoy all of the features it has to offer, like checking your text messages at a glance, responding to them, even making phone calls á la Dick Tracy, through it?

Sure, all of these features could pretty much be done with your smartphone, which you’re probably going to be carrying around with your wearable in the first place, but what would you be willing to do to get that piece of electronic-and-capacitive-glass-bling on your wrist? Would you take a laser to your skin?

That’s what a cosmetic nurse who posts under the username @hwclinicbrugge showed one client do in a viral TikTok that’s accrued over 3.4 million views on the popular social media application.

Client removes tattoo to get his Apple Watch to work

The content creator describes in a text overlay, “Removing tattoo for apple watch use,” as she films herself removing a circular portion of the client’s tattoo on his wrist.

“Did you know that an apple watch and a tattoo are not a good combination?” she added in the caption.

In the video, the laser tech can be seen “erasing” the area on the patient’s wrist, which is covered in tattoos. Leaving that little bit of skin ink-free will supposedly allow the wearer to allow their Apple Watch to accurately read their biometrics.

Several commenters said they, too, experienced issues using Apple Watches due to their wrist tattoos.

“Both my arms are blacked out and it doesn’t work at all,” one claimed. “Spent all that money on an Apple Watch and eventually got sick of having to enter the password everytime.”

Another penned, “I noticed now that I have a tattoo my Apple Watch kept locking.”

However, someone else said that even though they have tattoos on both of their wrists they’ve never had any hiccups while using their Apple Watch: “Very strange, I have tattoos on both wrist and my Apple Watch works perfectly fine.”

Another agreed, writing, “I have a full sleeve down to my finger tips and wear my Apple Watch on that same arm with zero problems.”

Do tattoos really impact the effectiveness of Apple Watches?

According to The Verge, tattoos can sometimes complicate the operations of wearable tech such as the Apple Watch, which, like other smartwatches and similar products implement the usage of photoplethysmography sensors. Also known as PPG, these sensors are defined by News Medical as “a simple optical technique used to detect volumetric changes in blood in peripheral circulation.”

The Verge went on to say that despite PPG being a non-invasive and clever way to read a person’s biometric data, like tracking their heart rate, that it’s unfortunately “inherently flawed” due to the optical imaging aspect of PPG sensing.

@hwclinicbrugge Did you know that an apple watch and a tattoo are not a good combination ⌚️😳⚡️ #apple #applewatch #tattooremoval #tattoos #asmr #fyp #picoplus #satisfying #picolaser #brugge #hwclinicbrugge ♬ som original – maclarao

“These optical sensors work by shining light into your skin and determining various biometric data based on how much light is reflected back. It’s a neat, noninvasive way to keep track of your health metrics, but it’s inherently flawed,” the tech outlet reported. “If you think back to elementary school science class, lighter colors reflect more light, while darker colors are better at absorbing it.”

It’s not just folks with tattoos that have issues with the Apple Watch and fitness trackers that implement this type of technology. The Verge reported that individuals “with darker skin tones” will sometimes have problems getting reliable readings from their wearable tech.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Apple via email and @hwclinicbrugge via Instagram direct message for further information.

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