Is the Apple Watch waterproof?

Is Apple's smartwatch waterproof, and can you take the Apple Watch swimming? Let's find out, shall we?

Is the Apple Watch waterproof?
(Image credit: Apple)

Whether you've just bought yourself a shiny new Apple Watch or you're considering a purchase, you're probably wondering a few things about it. Crucially, is the Apple Watch waterproof? After all, recent versions of it offer swim tracking, so it must be waterproof, right? Well, no. 

Waterproof is an intimidating term for pretty much all makers of electronics, and for a good reason -- it assumes that the electrical item is entirely impervious to water, and that's just not going to happen. 

That doesn't mean that the Apple Watch isn't water-resistant though or swim-proof as some marketing loves to call it. Where things get a little tricky is just how water-resistant each Apple Watch is. 

Read on as we explain all so you know precisely which Apple Watch model is best if you plan on taking regular dips. 

Which Apple Watches are water-resistant?

By now, there are a lot of different Apple Watches out there. Impressively, they all offer some level of water resistance with even the original Apple Watch Series 1 offering some level of protection. It's not much as, effectively, it can fall into some water (up to a metre) and be ok for up to an hour. However, any kind of movement is risky. This is a bit of a moot point because you can't actually buy the original Apple Watch new anymore. Still, it's nice to know that Apple began as they meant to go on.

Instead, let's look at the Apple Watch Series 3, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Series 6 -- all currently available via Apple directly as well as your favorite third-party retailers.

The good news is that all three models have the same level of water resistance. They can cope with up to 50 metres under ISO standard 22810:2010, which is a complicated way of showing that they're officially water-resistant. There are caveats though. 

Is the Apple Watch waterproof?

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple states that all three watches should only be used for shallow-water activities such as swimming in a pool or the ocean. Crucially, none of them should be used for scuba diving, waterskiing, or any other high-velocity water-based excursion. 

Apple also suggests that using them in extreme temperatures such as in a sauna or steam room is a bad idea. Finally, lathering them with soap, shampoo, conditioner, or perfumes or oils is a terrible idea too. Simply put, a quick swim session is good, and everything else isn't advisable. 

Wondering how the Apple Watch is water-resistant? It automatically locks as soon as you start a swimming workout. Once you've finished, turn the digital crown and it expels any water inside it through the device's speakers. 

Which Apple Watch is best for regularly swimming?

Honestly, any of the latest Apple Watches available will do the job well. As mentioned, the Apple Watch Series 3, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Series 6 are all water-resistant up to 50 metres and considered swim proof. They all offer swim tracking functionality too.

The only factors in knowing which one to buy are your budget and what other features you want. Both the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE offer a larger display than the Apple Watch Series 3 with the Apple Watch Series 6 also providing a rather fetching always-on retina display. Still, your budget may affect how much you care about this.

Is the Apple Watch waterproof?

(Image credit: Apple)

For exercising needs, the Apple Watch Series 6 has the edge slightly thanks to its ability to track your blood oxygen levels and by offering a dedicated ECG app, but neither of these can be used at the same time as swimming. 

Are all Apple Watch wrist bands waterproof?

While all the current Apple Watch options are water-resistant, not all Apple Watch wrist bands are the same. Simply looking at the material the band is made from should help you know what can cope with a drop of water and what can't. 

Bands such as the Sport Band and Sport Loop are the best for swimming while the very stylish looking Leather designs or Milanese will be predictable disasters in the pool. The recently unveiled Solo Loop is a great option thanks to its liquid silicone rubber design that's comfy as well as waterproof. Make sure you buy spare straps if you're worried about water being an issue so you can enjoy stylish options as well as practical bands. 

Is the Apple Watch waterproof?

(Image credit: Apple)

What should you do to keep your Apple Watch more water-resistant?

Water-resistance generally deteriorates over time. The seals that keep water out break down over time, and if you drop or damage your Apple Watch over the months and years, that certainly doesn't help either. Exposing your Apple Watch to hot water or solvents can also pose an issue as they can damage the seals without breaking them entirely.

So, what do you do? One of the most straightforward solutions is to wash your Apple Watch after every swim. Use clean water (and only water) and give your Apple Watch a sponge bath to keep it in better condition. 

It helps the watch resist corrosion from seawater, chlorine, or soap that you didn't mean to get on the device. Clean the strap while you're at it too. After all, you don't want to have to pay for a new wristband any time soon either, do you?

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Jennifer Allen

Jennifer Allen has been writing about tech for nearly a decade. Her specialisms include fitness wearables, Bluetooth speakers, and all things Apple.