It’s a heartwrenching decision: either get that expensive tattoo removal, or live a life without an Apple Watch. Or, as Apple suggests, put on a heart rate monitor instead. The company has quietly confirmed that tattoos screw with the watch’s heart rate tracking.
The comment was spotted by Trusted Reviews, which noticed a support page on Apple’s website that goes into greater detail about how the watch tracks your biometrics. Some users have complained that the watch was unable to detect their heart rates (spooky!) when they place it on tattooed skin. It sounded as though the ink was absorbing some of the light that the watch uses to measure the rate of your pulse—hence the problem.
Here’s what Apple’s support page says about the issue:
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.
Apple says the easiest fix is to use a peripheral—a Bluetooth heart rate monitor the likes of which you probably already own if you’re tracking HR during your workouts. That’s less than ideal—but as Chris Mills pointed out earlier this week, it sounds like a software solution might be on the way.
Contact the author at kelsey@Gizmodo.com.