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Are Apple Watches waterproof?

Can you swim or shower wearing your Apple smart watch? Let's find out...

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Let’s dive straight in. Apple Watches are “water-resistant, but not waterproof” — according to Apple themselves. And yep, we know. That pretty photo above probably makes this statement sound a bit confusing. But the truth is, most Apple Watches can survive a splash or being dropped in water up to a certain depth. They’re just not fully nailed down like a diving suit!

Quite a few versions of the Apple Watch have been released over the last decade. And these smart watches have different levels of water resistance depending on their generation and type. So, before you do a cannonball into the deep end — let’s find out which models are safe for the swimming pool.

Is every Apple Watch waterproof?

The short answer is no. Apple Watches aren’t waterproof — they’re water-resistant. But depending on which one you own or buy, there are some water-based activities you can get away with.

Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch (1st generation)

The earliest Apple Watches have a water-resistance rating of IPX7. This means that you’ll want to avoid jumping in the pool with one of these strapped to your wrist. Exercising, washing up and walking in the rain shouldn’t be a problem as they’re splash-resistant. But submerging these types of Apple Watch in water is a no-go.

Apple Watch Series 2 and later

Every Apple Watch since the second gen — including the new Apple Watch Series 9 — has a water-resistance rating of 50 meters. That’s a big improvement over the first-gen models! So, Apple Watch Series 2 and later are fine for shallow-water activities like swimming in a pool or the sea. Anything deeper than that might land you in deep trouble.

Apple Watch SE (1st and 2nd generation)

Is the Apple Watch SE waterproof? No, but both generations of the budget-friendly Apple Watch SE serve up a water-resistance rating of 50 meters. Not bad.

Apple Watch Ultra and Ultra 2

If you take the plunge on Apple’s top-of-the-line timepiece, you’ll be pleased to know that it has a whopping water-resistance rating of 100 meters. So, if you love going diving— the Apple Watch Ultra and Ultra 2 can be worn while scuba diving up to 130 feet (40 meters). It’s perfectly safe for other activities like swimming, showering, and water skiing too.

Can you swim with an Apple Watch?

You can only go swimming with an Apple Watch from Series 2 and up. Got an Apple Watch Series 3, Series 8, or anything in between? Yep, no problem. They’re designed to go swimming, along with the Apple Watch SE and Ultra models. So, unless you have something from the 1 generation — you can perfect your backstroke or butterfly with pretty much any Apple Watch.

But there is a catch. Apple say that “water resistance isn't a permanent condition and can diminish over time”. So, in other words, your Apple Watch won’t be water-resistant forever. That’s because of general wear and tear over time, where day-to-day knocks can add up. Some soapy water, perfumes, aftershaves, and lotions also contain chemicals that can break down the water seals.

You’ll want to be extra careful if you go for a dip wearing an older Apple Watch. They can’t be resealed to repair the water resistance. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. If your Apple Watch comes into contact with any of the above, it should be “cleaned with fresh warm water and dried with a lint-free cloth” according to Apple.

Which Apple Watch is best for swimming?

Apple Watch Ultra and Ultra 2 can handle the depths better than any other Apple Watch. That’s because they’ve got a water-resistance rating of 100 meters, while most other Apple Watches offer just half of that. The Ultras let you do a lot more than just swim too. You can dive up to 40 metres with them and they’ll hold their breath without conking out!

But as we explained, a newer Apple Watch will have better water-resistance than an older one. That’s because a new watch won’t have been put through the wringer like one that’s a few years old. So aside from the Ultra models, an Apple Watch Series 7, Series 8, or Series 9 would be fine to wear while swimming.

Can you shower with an Apple Watch?

You can shower with your Apple Watch on if you want to. But like Apple say, it’s best to keep it away from soapy water if you can. That’s because chemicals in some soaps can eat away at the water seals that protect the watch. Super warm water can also do that to an Apple Watch (above 55° C). So, if you like it hot — not a good idea.

We think it’s better to be safe than sorry. Just make it a routine to take your Apple Watch off before you get in the shower. After all, it only takes a few seconds and could save you from ruining an expensive gadget!

Do I need to ‘Water Lock’ my Apple Watch?

What’s the water drop icon on my Apple Watch? That’d be the ‘Water Lock’. This is a feature that stops water or accidental taps from activating the display. When switched on, your Apple Watch simply won’t respond. So, if you’re swimming — you’ll want to pop on the Water Lock. It’ll stop you from sending a gibberish text to your crush or pressing play on a random podcast!

To turn the Water Lock on, just open up the ‘Control Center’, swipe up, and tap the Water Lock (droplet) button. To turn off the Water Lock, press and hold the ‘Digital Crown’ on the side of the watch until the display unlocks. You’ll then hear a series of tones which will clear any water that might be in the built-in speaker. After that, you’re good to go.

FAQs

Can you wash your hands with an Apple Watch?

Yes, it’s perfectly fine to wash your hands whilst wearing an Apple Watch Series 2 (or later), SE, or Ultra/Ultra 2 as they’re water-resistant. In fact, your Apple Watch can detect when you start washing and encourages you to keep going for 20 seconds — the time recommended by global health organizations! Just make sure to rinse any leftover soap off your Apple Watch with warm, fresh water. This’ll stop any chemicals from damaging their water seals.

Apple Watch Series 1 and first-gen models are splash-resistant. But due to their design and age, we’d recommend taking these watches off before washing your hands. If they’re accidentally submerged in water for too long, it could be game over.

What to do if my Apple Watch gets wet?

Apple suggest drying off your Apple Watch with a soft, lint-free cloth. Don't use anything like a hairdryer or compressed air. That’s really not a good idea.

Can I do water aerobics with my Apple Watch?

Yes, you can, but be careful if you’re using an older Apple Watch that may have worn water seals. A newer Apple Watch like the Series 7, 8 or 9 should be fine for water aerobics. And if you have an Apple Watch Ultra or Ultra 2, it’ll handle an intense water workout with ease. This is thanks to its water-resistance rating of 100 meters.

How to get water out of my Apple Watch?

You’ll need to use the ‘Water Lock’ feature to eject water from your Apple Watch. You can turn this on from the ‘Control Center’ to lock the device, and then press/hold the side-mounted ‘Digital Crown’ to unlock the display. While unlocking, the Apple Watch’s built-in speaker will play some quirky vibrating sounds to clear any water that remains inside. After this, you can use your display as usual.

That’s a pretty water-tight explanation if we may say so. If you want to learn more about Apple Watches, then read our everything you need to know guide. And if you’ve just bought an Apple Watch but don’t know how to pair it with your iPhone, click here. Oh, you’ll want to check out some of the cool smart watch accessories you can get too!

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