Are Apple watches waterproof?

Apprehensive about exposing your Apple watch to water?

That’s completely understandable. After all, it’s an expensive piece of technology. The last thing you want to do is damage it by taking a shower or simply walking in the rain. Here we explore whether the Apple watch is (in fact) waterproof and what you should do if it happens to get wet.


Water-resistant but not waterproof

Apple watches are not waterproof. Truth be told, there isn’t a single electronic device currently on the market that is completely ‘waterproof’ and 100% impervious to water. But they are water-resistant – which means, in certain circumstances, it’s perfectly fine to get them wet.

The Apple Watch 1st Generation and Series 1 both have a water-resistance rating of IPX7. As such, they are safe to wear during exercise (i.e. when exposed to sweat), in the rain and whilst washing your hands. Newer models, including Series 2-5, are water-resistant up to 50 metres. Therefore, they can also be submerged underwater (up to a depth of 50 metres) without causing any damage.


Only shallow-water activities are advised

Deep water and high-velocity water activities (e.g. scuba diving, water skiing) should be avoided. But it’s quite safe to use Series 2-5 for shallow-water activities – such as swimming in a pool or ocean.

In fact, the watch has a function that allows you to track your swimming session. When a swim workout is started, the watch will automatically activate ‘water lock’. This is a feature that locks the device and will ensure you don’t activate the screen and get water inside during your swim.

You probably shouldn’t shower with it

Showering in your watch, per se, shouldn’t cause any damage. However, soaps, shampoos, lotions and perfumes can all be problematic. These can have a negative effect on the watch’s water seals and acoustic membranes, potentially leading to muffled speaker sounds. As the watch cannot be resealed or rechecked, the safest bet is to just take it off before you jump in the shower.


Water-resistance can (and will!) fade over time

Apple states that “water resistance isn’t a permanent condition and may diminish over time”.

They list a number of activities that are known to affect the water-resistant properties of the device. These include dropping the watch, exposing it to soap and other contaminants (e.g. perfume, detergent, insect repellent, sunscreen etc.), and wearing it in a sauna and steam room. To maintain the water-resistance of your device, you should, therefore, try to avoid these as much as possible.


Dry it off as soon as you can

If water happens to splash onto the watch, simply wipe it with a non-abrasive, lint-free cloth. This will successfully remove the moisture, without scratching or damaging the screen.

Workouts can make the watch particularly sweaty. Consequently, you should clean and dry it off as quickly as possible. Apply Watch Series 2-5 can be successfully cleaned by gently rinsing under warm water. After a swim workout, you can also turn the digital crown to unlock the ‘water lock’ function. This forces out excess water (e.g. from the speaker holes) and can speed up the drying process.


water-resistant Apple watch straps


Are Apple watch straps waterproof?

The water-resistance ratings outlined above are associated with the Apple watch itself. They do not necessarily apply to the strap. It is important to note that, certain styles – such as leather watch straps, Milanese watch straps, and stainless steel link bracelets – can be particularly susceptible to water damage.

As such, if you plan to wear the device for water-based activities, the best option is a sports band. These are typically made from silicone and are designed to be as breathable and water-friendly as possible. Here at Apple Watch Straps UK, we have a wide range to choose from, including various styles and colours. So, why not take a look today – and maximise the water-resistance of your Apple watch?


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