Apple Watch Water-Resistant Rating Explained: Here’s What It Really Means

Apple Watch Water-Resistant Rating Explained: Here’s What It Really Means

Being a wearable, the Apple Watch is water-resistant just like the iPhone 7, iPhone 8, and the iPhone X. However, starting from the iPhone 7, all iPhones launched by Apple have featured an IP67 certification making them dust and water-resistant, but the Apple Watch is a bit different in terms of its water-resistance capabilities.

If you are wondering how good (or bad) the water-resistance capabilities of Apple Watch is, simply continue reading this article to have all your doubts cleared.

Is the Apple Watch Waterproof? How Good is Its Water-Resistance Capability?

No, the Apple Watch is not waterproof. Just like the iPhone X (or iPhone 7/8), the wearable is water-resistant but not waterproof. There’s a big difference between the two which you should be aware of.

While the iPhone 7 and higher are IP67 dust and water-resistance certified, the Apple Watch Series 1 and 1st generation feature an IPX7 certification. This means they are both water-resistant in a depth of up to 1.5m for up to 30 minutes. The ‘X’ denotes that the wearable lacks any kind of dust-resistance rating.

apple-watch-series-2-swim

This essentially means that while you can continue wearing your Apple Watch Series 1/1st generation while taking a shower, you should definitely not wear it while you are swimming. This is because the water pressure might be strong enough to breach the water-resistance sealing and damage the interiors of the wearable.

Starting with the Apple Watch Series 2, Apple certifies the watch to be good enough for swimming in a depth of up to 50m. Series 2 and higher Apple Watch have a water resistance rating of 50 meters under ISO standard 22810:2010 so you can safely wear them while swimming. In fact, Apple heavily advertises the swimming capabilities of the Apple Watch Series 2 and higher so its a perfect companion for you in such cases.

But there’s a catch…

Just because your Apple Watch Series 2/3 is good enough for swimming, it does not mean that you can put it through its paces irrespective of the condition. The smartwatch is only certified for swimming in pool water.

It is strongly recommended that you do not wear the smartwatch when you go to the beach. This is because salt water is completely different from the chlorine water that you find in your local swimming pool. The former can heavily damage your smartwatch, eat away into the display’s oleophobic coating, and cause a lot of other issues.

Sure, a few splashes are not going to do any harm but that’s about it. Anything more, and while your Apple Watch might emerge unscathed initially, it may end up developing issues down the line.

If you end up exposing your Apple Watch to salt water, immediately wash it with fresh water and then wipe it clean with a lint-free cloth. Similarly, it is recommended that you do not expose your Apple Watch to any other kind of liquids. It will mostly emerge unscathed from a beer or coffee spill but they can have unintended effects on its water-resistance capabilities.

Water-resistance capability degrades over time

Since water-resistance in consumer devices like the Apple Watch is all about a tight seal, the water-resistance capabilities of the wearable will degrade over time. This depends on a number of factors including the amount of time you expose the watch to the liquid, any physical damage etc.

If you frequently wear your Apple Watch while swimming, the water-resistance seal is going to degrade faster. If you use your watch normally though, you ideally won’t have to worry about its water-resistance capabilities degrading over its lifespan.

If you have dropped your Apple Watch or its chassis has incurred a damage in any way, chances are its water-resistance seal has already been compromised.

Regarding The Speaker

When you expose your Apple Watch Series 2/3 to water or wear it while you are swimming, water is bound to go inside the speaker. This is by design and there’s nothing to worry about.

Since the Apple Watch Series 2 and 3 can be used while swimming, they feature a Water Lock which is automatically activated when you start a swimming workout. This is done so as to ensure that the display does not register false touches while under water.

Apple Watch Closeup

To exit this mode and unlock the screen, you have to turn the Digital Crown. This will lead to the speaker ejecting water out from its chamber as well. In fact, Apple has used a unique way of ejecting the water from the speaker. Whenever the Apple Watch clears water from its chamber, you might hear some sounds and feel some water on your wrist.

Remember that until the water is completely ejected from the speaker, readings from the barometric altimeter might be affected.

If you own an Apple Watch Series 1 or 1st Generation, things are slightly different. Since the watch is not swim-proof, it does not come with any kind of Water Lock mode as well. So, once the water goes inside the speaker, you will have to place the wearable on its side to allow the water to seep out. After that, it is recommended that you clean the watch using a lint-free cloth.

Not all Apple Watch bands Are Waterproof

While all Apple Watch variants released by Apple so far have at least featured an IPX7 certification thereby making them water-resistant, the same is not true for the watch bands. Certain Apple Watch bands are not water-resistant and their lifespan will reduce considerably and/or they will incur heavy damage if you frequently expose them to water.

Apple says the following watch bands are not water resistant:

  • Classic Buckle
  • Leather Loop
  • Modern Buckle
  • Milanese
  • Link Bracelet Bands

Thus, if you frequently wear your Apple Watch while swimming, it is recommended that you use any other band than the one mentioned above.

Does Apple Cover Liquid Damage to Apple Watch under Standard Warranty?

For its iPhone lineup, Apple explicitly makes it clear that it does not cover the device against any kind of liquid damage. However, for the Apple Watch, Apple’s support documents do not make any direct reference to any kind of liquid damage.

In most cases, the company will honor any kind of liquid damage to your Apple Watch provided it is not caused due to an external damage to the chassis. In only some rare cases, I’d expect an Apple Store to not repair or replace your Apple Watch damaged due to liquid. Do note that this is primarily true for customers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the United Kingdom. If you live in any other part of the world, your mileage may vary significantly.


In the end, the Apple Watch is definitely water-resistant and if you own a Series 2 or Series 3 version, you can definitely wear it while you are out swimming. But that does not give you the license to be reckless with it.

Have you ever ended up doing any kind of liquid damage to your Apple Watch? If yes, how was your experience with the Apple Store?

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