While the Apple Watch is still a touch gadget to get your hands on at this time, some users who have it have been complaining about issues with the integrated sensors reading their tattooed wrists. This ultimately spawned a media frenzy dubbed #tattoogate which is a spin-off of the various “gates” for Apple products with the most notorious being the #bendgate controversy surrounding the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
After several reports surfaced on Twitter and many numerous social media outlets about #tattoogate, Apple has edited their official support documentation on their website to inform potential buyers of issues that may arise from an inked wrist:
What else affects your reading?
Many factors can affect the performance of the Apple Watch heart rate sensor. Skin perfusion is one. A fancy way of describing how much blood flows through your skin, skin perfusion varies significantly from person to person and can also be impacted by the environment. If you’re exercising in the cold, for example, the skin perfusion in your wrist may be too low for the heart rate sensor to get a reading.
Motion is another factor that can affect the heart rate sensor. Rhythmic movements, such as running or cycling, give better results compared to irregular movements, like tennis or boxing.
Permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart rate sensor performance. The ink, pattern, and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings.
If you’re not able to get a consistent reading because of any of these factors, you can connect your Apple Watch wirelessly to external heart rate monitors such as Bluetooth chest straps.
For those who are affected by this dilemma, Apple is encouraging the use of an external heart rate monitor as a way to get around the problem.