Apple Watch not able to measure your heart rate? Relax, you're not dead

Apple Watch not able to measure your heart rate? Relax, you're not dead
If you recently took delivery of your Apple Watch and found that the heart rate monitor isn't picking up a reading, don't panic. Odds are that you're not dead. Seriously though, there are some Apple Watch owners who can't get a reading on their watch and there is an easy explanation. If you have a tattoo on your wrist, it blocks the sensors on the back of the timepiece from working. And since the Watch looks for a heart rate to determine if you are wearing it, a tattoo on your wrist could trick the Apple Watch into thinking that you've left your smartwatch behind. This would prevent you from receiving notifications, using Apple Pay, making calls and using some apps.

To obtain a user's heart rate, the Apple Watch sensors on the back of the watch flash green and UV lights at your skin. The lights are absorbed and are reflected back by your red blood. More blood can be found in your wrists when your heart beats. There is less blood there between beats. By computing the time between heart beats, your heart rate can be computed. But a tattoo, especially a red one, can also absorb the lights sent from the sensors and reflect back red light. Black tattoos can absorb green and red lights and also play havoc with the watch. One tattooed Reddit user was able to turn off wrist detection and could receive notifications, but could not make calls or use Apple Pay.

The Apple Watch works on dark-colored skin and with scars and abrasions. But those are translucent and allow light to go through them. The ink used for tattoos is opaque and light does not penetrate it. And that could be the reason why your Apple Watch shows that you have no heart rate. Unless you have tattoos on both wrists, the simple solution is to move your watch to the other arm.

source: CNN



1. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Just another reason parents can give their kids to not get a tattoo.

35. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

that kids can get full body tattos but not on their wirst...

37. sgodsell

Posts: 7419; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

What kills me is how Apple came out claiming to have the best HRM on any watch or band on the market. They also claimed to have tested the watch at gyms, and health clubs with tons of people. I guess that was a lie. Apple needs to eat some crow, or at least a little humble pie.

2. ameran

Posts: 344; Member since: Dec 04, 2013

I knew this would happen, because it is more accurate to measure the blood flow from the inside of your wrist than the outside. Have you ever experienced, that a nurse touches your outside wrist area to get your hearth rates? If yes, you live in a different planet than we do.

9. tedkord

Posts: 17391; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

They measure the inside because they're feeling for the pulse. This measures differently.

3. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

With such low quality uv ray that Apple offers, it makes me wonder how it detect obese murica heart rate.

5. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

lol ikr

34. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

thats why they only sell small and medium wirstband.. so any fatso cant wear AW :D

4. IT-Engineer

Posts: 564; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

Another article about this stupid watch...... #GetOverIt

12. Sauce5 unregistered

Clearly, you aren't over it.

6. SuperNova

Posts: 649; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

What a shame Apple! you cheat your fans and overcharge them, but offer them a beta toy? Apple never do thing right for their first time. A little piece of advice, don't buy their first generation products, just have to wait a least 3 or 4 years later until they learn from their mistake, and completely fix that thing.

14. PorkyBurger

Posts: 585; Member since: May 18, 2013

there it is, the most retarded comment on PA. ever. now I can die peacefully. o_o

24. gaming64 unregistered

Your profile pic says it all

36. PorkyBurger

Posts: 585; Member since: May 18, 2013

well, the comment is gone now. O_O NOT SURPRISED WHY IT GOT REMOVED.

16. Slaughter

Posts: 27; Member since: Apr 29, 2015

Ho, I see... You have a tattoo, right?

27. engineer-1701d unregistered

I have a sleeve and chest piece and leg tattoos I have no problem taking my heart rate on the wrist

23. dorianb

Posts: 617; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Calm down. It's not that serious. Then again I think you've seen that movie Se7en or Silence of the Lambs a few too many times.

25. engineer-1701d unregistered

How about you pick on someone for own size I'll be happy to beat you to a plup come to Maryland Germantown USA let's see what you got

26. engineer-1701d unregistered

How about you pick on someone for own size I'll be happy to beat you to a plup come to Maryland Germantown USA let's see what you got

30. g2a5b0e unregistered

You need to get a f*cking life. Seriously. Can't wait for you to get banned once again.

7. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

UV rays sound dangerous. Couldn't there some kind of long-term damage like skin cancer if you wear the watch for years to come?...

8. darkkjedii

Posts: 31263; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

My tats are black and gray shaded, I should be cool.

17. Slaughter

Posts: 27; Member since: Apr 29, 2015

Seems like Black and red ink cause problem.

10. TheBiz

Posts: 232; Member since: Apr 13, 2015

why uv they should use infrared instead it is not fatal im not sure if its reallly uv or just green light well if uv what freq PA please collect adequate info before u post an article

15. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

Lol so now apple can also control how people's wrists should be like. I just love when people need to change to fit their tech, and not the other way around. ....

18. cornel222

Posts: 21; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

expensive , useless piece of technology like all other smartwatches ....a simple smart band can keep track of ur basic activities like steps , runing , sleeping , calories ...for the rest i have my phone (apps , caling , texting , etc...)

20. SamDH1

Posts: 419; Member since: Apr 21, 2015

While I agree the Apple Watch is a waste of money for how much they cost, smartwatches are awesome if you are a busy person or use your hands a lot, or even do sports. I wear mine for riding, which is perfect because Strave works through Android Wear, so to start a new recording session before I hit the next trail, all I gotta say is "Okay Google, turn Strava On" And it starts recording. Little things like that, quick google searches on your wrist, playing music, controlling music, even a mini calculator, all of it is super handy, which you don't think would be until you get one. Still, the price Apple asks for these privileges is ridiculous, and If I paid that much for the sport edition, I wouldn't wanna take it on the trails or snowboarding anyway. But the simple Sony Smartwatch 3 is awesome for thrashing a little bit. Then I love my LG R for the more everyday, calmer situations.

28. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

So another can't do to add to my listen. So you can't get a rate if your wrist has art. I have never heard of such a thing. Lots of people have tattoos. I am sure Apple knows this. So why did they choose a technology that has such a huge stumbling block? How does a billion dollar company screw up so much? Shouldn't this ha e been a red flag. What are the 3 most common places people ha e tattos. The arm is the most likely location. What is your attached to your arm? Your hand. What is that attachment called? Your wrist. I don't have tattoos. I also so know what company makes the rate monitors for these devices. Bit sensing a light to your arm? Why could it just be like the one in Samsung products, or FitBit

29. 99nights

Posts: 1152; Member since: Mar 10, 2015

My g watch still works perfectly on my tattoos (at least i think it does, never had any problems yet)

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.