Apple Watch is water resistant, but not waterproof. This means it has some water resistance ability but it should not be used for diving, water skiing, or other activities involving high-velocity water.
The specific waterproof ability depends on the model so it is important you can identify your Apple Watch correctly by examining the serial number so you know what level of water protection it has.
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Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch (1st generation)
This advice applies to the following models:
- Apple Watch Series 1
- Apple Watch (1st Generation)
Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch (1st generation) has a water resistance rating of IPX7 under IEC standard 60529. This means it has been tested by being submerged up to 3 feet (1 meter) in water for 30 minutes.
This standard gives the impression that you can take this model watch in the shower, bath, or pool. You can’t – these models are only splash-proof. So it is resistant to accidental water splashes, i.e. rain, sweat, and hand-washing. They should not be submerged in water. So you can’t take them swimming, wear them in a bath, or in the shower.
Apple Watch (1st generation) and Series 1 were released in 2015 and 2016. Watches released after this have better water resistance.
Apple Watch Series 2 and newer
This advice applies to the following models:
- Apple Watch Series 7
- Apple Watch Series 6
- Apple Watch SE
- Apple Watch Series 5
- Apple Watch Series 4
- Apple Watch Series 3
- Apple Watch Series 2
Apple Watch Series 2 and newer have a water resistance rating of 165 feet (50 meters) under ISO standard 22810:2010.
So as well as being resistant to accidental water splashes such as rain, sweat, and hand-washing they are also fine in the bath, or shower.
This standard gives the impression that you can dive with these models down to depths of 50m. You can’t – these models are not suitable for scuba diving. In fact, no Apple Watch is suitable for high-impact water sports such as diving or water skiing. It is also best to avoid using it in a sauna or steam room because the high-temperature moisture can damage the seals.
These models are suitable for occasional shallow-water activities like swimming or surfing in the ocean or in a pool.
Apple Watch bands
Even if your Apple Watch is waterproof, your watch band may not be. This means you can damage the band if you get it wet.
Specifically, the following watch straps are not water resistant:
- Classic Buckle
- Leather Loop
- Modern Buckle
- Link Bracelet Bands
If you have one of these bracelets or bands on your Apple Watch you should not take it in the shower, bath, pool, or sea. Instead, use a water resistant silicon band.
Showering or bathing with Apple Watch
Although you can shower or bathe with Apple Watch Series 2 or newer you still need to be careful. The seals can be damaged by shampoos, gels, soaps, conditioners, and other chemical products. Over time this can cause the seals to fail and allow water inside the watch.
Saltwater and pool chemicals can also damage the seals and acoustic membranes. So if you swim with your watch you need to clean it properly afterward.
Even heavily sweating, saunas, and steam rooms can cause damage over time.
To ensure your watch seals are kept in the best condition possible you should rinse and clean Apple Watch with fresh water after showering, bathing, exercising, or swimming. This will remove the chemicals and reduce the likelihood of damage.
Always remember to dry it with a lint-free cloth after rinsing it. Do not dry it with a hairdryer or by placing it on a radiator or you will damage it.
Water resistance reduces over time
The waterproof standards mentioned in this guide are for a brand new, unused device. Over time water-resistance will degrade.
Conventional watches with rubber gaskets and seals can be resealed and the water resistance is restored. This is not possible with Apple Watch. Once the seals are damaged they can not be replaced or repaired and you will no longer be able to get your Apple Watch wet. Doing so will ruin it.
Other things that can damage water resistance include:
- dropping or banging Apple Watch
- soapy water
- perfume, cologne, and fragrances
- insect repellant
- sun creams and lotions
- hair color products
- oils and solvents
- acidic food and drink
Using Water Lock to keep your device safe
Apple created a feature called Water Lock for Apple Watch. This doesn’t provide any additional water resistance for your timepiece. It simply locks the watch face to prevent you from accidentally pressing the display while in water.
When the water lock is on Apple Watch will not respond to any touches on the display.
When you switch the water lock off all the water in the speakers is cleared.
The water lock will turn on automatically when it detects you are swimming or surfing. If you want to turn on water lock yourself:
- Touch and hold the watch face
- The Control Center should appear
- Swipe up
- Tap the Water Lock icon (which looks like a water drop)
- The water lock icon will appear at the top of the watch face indicating it is turned on
To turn off the Water Lock:
- Turn the digital crown in any direction until the watch screen says Unlocked
- A set of tones is played to eject the water from the speaker