Is Your Apple Watch Waterproof: All Questions Answered (2023)

What to Know

  • Apple Watches are water-resistant, not waterproof, which makes them suitable for swimming.
  • You can use Water Lock mode to prevent water from entering your watch and for ejecting water.
  • The Apple Watch Ultra is more suitable for diving and high-velocity water activities.

Water, to most electronics, is like kryptonite to Superman. Liquid spills can cause permanent damage; oxidation is notorious for destroying devices. Between different Apple Watch models and unclear terms like "water resistance" and "water ejection," many people ask, "is my Apple Watch waterproof?"


Are All Apple Watches Waterproof? 

Are Apple Watches waterproof? The simple answer is no. However, according to Apple, all models of the Apple Watch are water-resistant. But what is the difference between a waterproof watch and a water-resistant watch? Waterproof is defined as impervious to water. On the other hand, water resistance is the ability to resist the penetration of water to some extent.

Not only are no Apple Watches waterproof, but there are varying levels of water resistance depending on the model. The Apple Watch Series 1 and the first-generation Apple Watch are splash resistant; however, submerging them is not recommended. The Apple Watch Series 2 and newer are significantly more water-resistant. If you're unsure of which model you have, don't take the risk. Learn how to tell what Apple Watch you have, and if you are thinking of upgrading, check out our review of the Apple Watch Series 8, as well as our review of the Apple Watch Ultra.

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So is the Apple Watch Series 3 waterproof? The answer is no, but Apple Watch Series 2-8, as well as the Apple Watch SE, have a water resistance rating of up to 50 meters (164 feet) of depth under ISO standard 22810:2010, making them perfect for shallow-water activities, including swimming. If you plan on doing some diving or waterskiing, you may want to invest in the Apple Watch Ultra, which has a water resistance rating of up to 100 meters (328 feet). To learn more about using the Apple Watch, sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter.

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Related: Are AirPods Waterproof? The Ultimate Apple Device Poolside Guide

Can You Swim with an Apple Watch?

Okay, great, the watch is water-resistant! But you are probably still wondering, "Can I swim with my Apple Watch?" If you have the Apple Watch Series 1 or the first-generation Apple Watch, you should not take it to the pool. Although they are splashproof, they should not be submerged.  

You can go swimming with an Apple Watch Series 2 or newer. These newer models offer swimming as a workout. I have personally used models 3, 5, and 6 in the swimming pool, ocean, and lake without any issues.

When using your Apple Watch to track swimming, there are a few things you should know. When you start a swimming workout, your Apple Watch will automatically activate the Water Lock. When it’s locked, you will see a water drop icon on your display.

After you go swimming, make sure to clean your Apple Watch. You can hold it under clean running water to get the chlorine or saltwater off. Remember that even though your watch is water-resistant, your Apple Watch band may not be. If you are looking for waterproof Apple Watch bands, check these out!

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Which Apple Watch Is Best for Swimmers?

Although no Apple Watch is waterproof, any watch newer than Series 2 is designed with swimming in mind. Apple Watch Series 2-8 and Apple Watch SE are all excellent choices for swimmers. They all track swimming as a workout; however, newer models may have more fitness features that might appeal to active people and more serious athletes. If you're having trouble getting your Apple Watch to track your swim workout, be sure to read this troubleshooting article.

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What Is the Water Drop on Apple Watch?

The Apple Watch water drop or water icon means that your watch has the Water Lock activated. What is Water Lock on Apple Watch? When it is activated, it protects your watch from water damage. It also locks the screen, making it impossible to click, swipe, or tap any buttons. This helps prevent accidental presses when the screen is wet (although, if your Apple Watch keeps pausing during a workout, it's likely not an accidental press).

The Apple Watch water drop or water icon means that your phone has the Water Lock activated.

You can press and hold the digital crown to turn off the Apple Watch's Water Lock and eject water. This will create a vibration and sounds that will expel the water from the speaker. It should only take a few seconds, and you will be able to use your watch again. There are some other great uses for the Water Lock that have nothing to do with swimming. It can also be a good idea to use if you are running in the rain.

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How to Get Water Out of an Apple Watch

You do not have to activate the Water Lock before you get your Apple Watch wet. You can manually clear water by turning on the Water Lock. Here's how to get water out of Apple Watch with Water Lock:

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the watch face to open Control Center.

    Swipe up on your watch face to open the Control Center
  2. Tap the Water Lock icon. It's shaped like a water droplet.

    Tap the water droplet (Water Lock.)
  3. Press and hold the Digital Crown to unlock the screen and clear water from the speaker.

    Turn the digital crown to unlock your display and eject water from the speaker

Turning off the Water Lock using the digital crown on your Apple Watch creates a vibration and sounds that results in water ejection.

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Do You Have to Use Water Lock on Apple Watch?

According to Apple, the Apple Watch Series 2 or newer will remain equally water-resistant regardless of whether or not Water Lock is turned on. So can an Apple Watch get wet unexpectedly without causing any damage? Yes, definitely! To expel any water from the speaker, just turn the Water Lock on and off.

Press and hold the digital crown to unlock your display and eject water from the speaker

Pro Tip: There are other great things you can do with the Digital Crown. Read this to learn more ways to use the Digital Crown on your Apple Watch.

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Can You Shower with an Apple Watch? 

As we have already established, Apple Watch Series 1 and the first-generation Apple Watch are only splash resistant, so you shouldn’t shower with them. However, Apple Watch Series 2 and newer are safe to join you and your rubber ducky.

Even though you won’t damage your watch with water during your shower, you should keep soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and perfumes away from your Apple Watch. These can negatively affect the water seals and acoustic membranes, which will degrade the water resistance of your Apple Watch.

So can you shower with an Apple Watch? Yes, but be careful not to get soap, shampoo, or conditioner on your device.

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Can You Wash Your Hands with an Apple Watch? (Or Handwash Laundry?)

Even the Apple Watch Series 1 and the first-generation Apple Wash are splash resistant, so you shouldn't have any issue washing your hands while wearing your watch. Apple Watch Series 4 and newer even have a Handwashing feature that requires you to wear your watch to record automatically. However, you can also manually enter your hand-washing time.

Since you should avoid soaps and other ingredients that aren't freshwater, it is a good idea to avoid wearing your Apple Watch while handwashing laundry. If you like to apply a lot of lotion to your hands after washing them, you may want to remove the watch and wait until your skin dries before you put it back on.

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Can I Wear My Apple Watch for Water Aerobics & Other Water Sports?

Your Apple Watch Series 2 and newer can be used for shallow-water activities such as swimming. However, do not use your watch for water skiing or other activities involving high-velocity water, as the water could be forced into the ports. Deep submersions should also be avoided. 

Remember that the Apple Watch can only be submerged up to 50 meters. How deep is 50 meters? It is 164 feet or 54 yards. So you can safely go snorkeling but not scuba diving. When it comes to water aerobics, you should be okay wearing your Apple Watch. You can even select Water Fitness, Water Polo, and Water Sports workouts on your Apple Watch.

If you would like an Apple Watch that is more suited to scuba diving or hardcore water sports, you may be interested in the Apple Watch Ultra. It is water-resistant up to 100 meters (328 feet), which means you can dive much deeper than previous Apple Watch models. However, despite the higher water resistance, Apple does not recommend diving below 40 meters with the Apple Watch Ultra.

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Will My Apple Watch Always Be Water-Resistant? 

It is important to keep in mind that water resistance isn't permanent. Your Apple Watch may get less water-resistant over time. Unfortunately, you can't check your watch for water resistance, and you cannot have it resealed.  

A dropped watch, especially one with a cracked display, might no longer be water-resistant. Wearing your watch in a steamy room, such as a sauna, could also cause issues. Exposing your Apple Watch to high-velocity water, such as going water skiing, is a bad idea. Of course, you should also avoid submerging it below 50 meters (164 feet) of water, unless you have the Apple Watch Ultra.

According to Apple, exposing your watch to anything other than freshwater can result in water resistance diminishing over time. This includes soap, soapy water, perfume, solvents, detergent, acids, acidic foods, insect repellent, lotions, sunscreen, oil, and hair dye. If these get on your watch, you should gently wash them away with fresh water and a nonabrasive, lint-free cloth.

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Is Apple Watch waterproof? No, but now you understand Apple Watch's water mode and what water resistance means in practical terms. If you have an Apple Watch Series 2 or newer, you can shower and swim with your watch without giving it a second thought. When it comes to more extreme water sports or saunas, you should not wear your watch, or you can invest in the Apple Watch Ultra. In case of accidental water exposure, turn the Water Lock on and off to expel water from the speaker. If you are shopping around for a watch that you can swim in, read this Fitbit vs. Apple Watch article to decide which is best for you.

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Author Details

Olena Kagui's picture

Author Details

Olena Kagui

Olena Kagui is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life. In the last 10 years, she has been published in dozens of publications internationally and won an excellence award. Since joining iPhone Life in 2020, she has written how-to articles as well as complex guides about Apple products, software, and apps. Olena grew up using Macs and exploring all the latest tech. Her Maui home is the epitome of an Apple ecosystem, full of compatible smart gear to boot. Olena’s favorite device is the Apple Watch Ultra because it can survive all her adventures and travels, and even her furbabies.