The Apple Watch water damage guide
Do you know what to do if your older Apple Watch falls into water? Most recent models should be OK, but here’s the complete guide to Apple Watch, water and what to do:
Apple Watch water damage – model matters
All Apple’s watches have been somewhat water resistant, though some models are more waterproof than others:
Original Apple Watch:
The first Apple Watch is splash and water-resistant, but don’t drop it into water, wear it in the bath, or go swimming. It has an IPX7 rating, which means it should be able to handle being 1-meter underwater for up to 30-minutes. But Apple says you shouldn’t submerge it.
Apple Watch Series 1:
The second Apple Watch release is also splash and water-resistant, but don’t put it underwater, in the shower or in the pool. It also has an IPX7 rating, which means it should be able to handle being 1-meter underwater for up to 30-minutes – but Apple recommends not submerging it fully.
Apple Watch Series 2:
This model is water-resistant to 50-metres.
Apple says you can wear this in the pool or shallow sea, but advises against wearing it to water-ski, scuba dive, or lather it in soap. Apple also warns you to avoid “high-velocity water” – so no kayaking for your watch.
Water-resistance may degenerate over time as when you drop your watch you may damage the internal membranes that protect it against liquid.
Apple Watch Series 3:
This model is also water-resistant to 50-metres. It is otherwise as water-resistant as the Series 2 – so no kayaking or soapiness, but a swim by the seaside should be OK.
Apple Watch Series 4:
This model is also water-resistant to 50-metres. And once again, Apple advises against extreme water sports and soap in showers, but reckons swimming and diving in still water (but not too deep) will be OK.
What about the watch band?
Yes – you need to think about the band you are using with your Apple Watch if you choose to dive underwater.
Not only are all straps not created equal, but some may loosen when wet, which means you might lose your watch.
The best strap for swimming is the Sports Band – if you plan to go swimming you should get one.
What about the other straps? Apple itself warns that the popular Milanese, Link Bracelet, Leather Loop and Classic and Modern Buckles are not water-resistant.
How to use Water Lock on Apple Watch
Starting with Apple Watch Series 2, Apple introduced a cool Water Lock feature to protect your watch from moisture.
Water Lock is a series of membranes inside the watch that protect against liquid by securing the spaces around any external moving parts. The system also locks your watch display to prevent it from reacting to water – you don’t want a sudden wave to change your music playlist or call your mum while you’re out surfing!
You should activate it before you enter water.
How to use and activate Water Lock:
- Swipe up on your Watch display to reach Control Center
- Look for the water droplet icon
- Tap the icon to enable it
- If you forget to activate the feature before entering water you can still use Water Lock to expel any liquid that sneaks into your device – the protection should have kicked in automatically, but there is a risk it doesn’t.
- After you leave the water you just need to rotate the Digital Crown and the watch will emit a series of beeps and cough out any water it contains.
- Apple also advises that you should also clean and gently dry your watch. (That’s particularly important if you dropped it into a chlorine-filled pool, orange juice or some other impure liquid, particularly acidic or sugary drinks.)
- Those beeps are actually quite clever: Apple says they were developed specifically because they make just the right sound to cause the protective membranes to create enough movement to expel any water that might have slipped into your watch.
What should I do if I drop an early model Apple Watch in water?
If you drop an original or Series 1 Apple Watch in liquids you shouldn’t panic, just follow these steps – most reports suggest you’ll be OK:
- Turn off the watch. (Press and hold the side button until you see the Power Off slider and drag it to off).
- Remove the watch straps – this isn’t a particularly effective step, but does mean you can more easily dry that small gap between the strap mechanism and the body of the watch.
- Gently dry the watch with a soft lint-free cloth.
- Now shake the watch to try to force any liquids that may be in the watch out of the device, dry it gently as you do.
- Leave it to dry for 24-hours or more – if it got really wet, leave it for longer. DO NOT CHARGE IT.
- After you’ve given it that drying out time, press and hold the side button to restart the device. If it doesn’t start, pop it on charge and try again.
Your Apple Watch Series 0 or 1 should start up fine at this point. If it doesn’t, then you’ll have to take it to your nearest Apple authorized repair center.
Finally, the best place for more information on Apple Watch water resistance will be Apple’s own support site.