Water Resistance on Apple Watch: Tips You’ll Need To Know Before You Go to the Pool

Photo via Macworld
It’s summertime and it’s an ideal time to go to the water park, beach or the pool. It’s also the time you wear your Apple Watch and expose it to water. But before you go to the pool this summer, you need to know about your Apple Watch’s water resistance rating and what to do if your watch experiences abnormalities after water exposure.

Water Resistance Ratings of Apple Watch

All Apple Watches have water resistance, which comes in two types of water resistance ratings. The most common water resistance rating for Apple Watch models is 50 meters, which complies with ISO rating 22810:2010. This is found in Series 2 and later Apple Watch models, which is equipped with an air vent and water expulsion system. Older Apple Watch models have IPX7 conforming to IEC standard 60529, which is the rating for the low-cost, aluminum Series 1 models and all 1st generation Apple Watch models regardless of case size, material, and color. These models do not have an air vent nor a water expulsion system and require the water to be drained manually.

If you wear a Series 1 or a first-generation Apple Watch, please do not go swimming or bathing in it. The IPX7 rating can only last for half an hour and up to a meter and a half in depth. Otherwise, you better upgrade your watch to a Series 3 or 4.

Series 2, 3, and 4 wearers, you can shower, swim or bathe with your Apple Watch. Although it can go up to over 50 meters in depth, the only thing you can’t do is scuba diving. Because the currents in the water and the excessive depth can potentially affect the water seals, letting the water get into the internals.

You can also see the water-resistance ratings engraved on the back of your Apple Watch Series 1 or later. Take off your Apple Watch and look closely at the engravings. Then you’ll know how much waterproofing you have in your Apple Watch.

What to Do Before You Expose Apple Watch to Water

Now you read the types of water resistance ratings of the Apple Watch in the previous section. But, you have to turn on certain settings or change your band before you expose it to water or liquids. There are many precautions before you wear your Apple Watch to the bathtub or the pool, so make sure to read these tips below!

First, never wear a leather band or any metal band when you’re doing water activities. Even if you use stainless steel, sterling silver, or zinc alloy band, the watch band will tarnish or discolor regardless of the material. For the leather bands, which have natural pores and oils from dyes and animal hides, the material will crack on its layers, lose its color or peel off. You’ll have to end up buying expensive products to restore the leather or metal band or get a replacement from the manufacturer.

Secondly, if you have a Series 2 or later, turn on Water Lock. This can be done by swiping up the Control Center and tapping on the water drop button. If you’re doing a swimming workout with your Apple Watch, then it’ll be automatically on. This feature prevents your screen from taps and expels the water once the feature is turned off.

Lastly, do not let any soaps, shampoos, and other strong liquids get in the watch. These can deteriorate the water-resistant seals and allow water to enter the components and acoustic membranes. Apple cannot recheck or reseal watches for waterproofing.

What to Do When Your Apple Watch Exhibits Water Damage Issues

After you’re done with exposing your Apple Watch to the water for a while, you might experience issues afterward. These consist of speaker muffling, inaccuracies in activity tracking and condensation in the heart rate sensor. Here are the solutions to these problems.

Speaker muffling is one of the most common problems related to water damage in the Apple Watch. This can be solved by draining the water out. To do this, you can expel the water out by turning the Digital Crown, which emits a loud noise to get the water out of the Apple Watch.

If you did not turn on Water Lock or have a Series 1 or earlier, then you have to drain it manually. Place your Apple Watch on a lens cloth, with the speaker side down. While holding your Apple Watch, lightly tap the Digital Crown side to drain out any water drops. If you still experience muffling, then wait a few hours for the water to evaporate. During that time, do not expose the Apple Watch to water until it’s evaporated.

Do not use hand dryers, blow dryers, paper towels, compressed air, or sprays to drain the water out. The heat from these dryers can soften the water-resistance seals and become thin enough for water to get in the components. On the other hand, you shouldn’t even insert anything, including Q-Tips, into the speakers as well. This can cause the casing to get scratched and dislodge the speaker component.

Inaccuracies in activity tracking mean that the barometric altimeter is wet. This can be caused when water enters the air vent and it only happens in Series 2 and later models. This can be solved by letting it evaporate after exposure to water.

Finally, if you see condensation in the heart rate sensor, then the water might’ve got into the logic board and the components. You better go to your local Apple Store and see a Genius, because this means that your watch is seriously water damaged.


Not all of the Apple Watch models have the same water resistance ratings, which means that you can’t swim with a Series 1 or scuba dive with a Series 3. The two water resistance ratings come in IPX7 for 1st-generation and aluminum Series 1 watches and 50 meters for the latest ones, making it suitable for the pool and the hot tub. Following these tips can prevent further water-related damage to your Apple Watch.

 We hope you have an enjoyable summer with your Apple Watch and your iPhone.

Update 7/21/19: One of our media partners, Nikias from Apple World, created a video with all of the waterproofing tips in this article. You can watch it below:

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