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Function of the hidden port on the Apple Watch is revealed

The Apple Watch has a hidden port, covered by the band, as you may have seen by now – and there’s been all manner of speculation about what this socket could be used for.

And some third-party tech accessory producers have been quick to pounce on this development, claiming they know what the 6-pin port is for (and getting their names in the limelight, of course). As the Daily Mail reports, Reserve Strap contends that the port is used for charging the smartwatch, and has “confirmed the immense value of the Reserve Strap”, which the firm claims is the only wrist band that charges the Apple Watch while you wear it.

The company has its accessory on pre-order now, with shipping scheduled for the autumn.

However, 9 to 5 Mac’s Jeremy Horwitz has warned those who might be tempted to get excited about (and indeed pre-order) such accessories that the hidden port is there purely for diagnostic purposes – which makes sense.

That’s because the watch functions 100 per cent wirelessly, with no wired connectivity presented to the user, and as Horwitz notes: “While conspiracy theorists will come up with all sorts of explanations for a hidden port, the two key reasons for the Apple Watch to have it are for diagnostics and performing guaranteed reliable firmware updates.”

In other words, if your watch dies, it’s another way – a wired connection – for Apple techies to spark it back to life if wireless functionality and inductive charge capabilities are down the drain. That’s also the reason why the port is very difficult to get at, in terms of opening the flap – the consumer isn’t supposed to go anywhere near it.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that, if this is the case, the port isn’t supposed to be used on anything like a permanent basis as Reserve Strap is looking at doing with its band – and thus there are safety question marks on that score.

In other recent news, Apple also admitted that its smartwatch does have issues with dark ink wrist tattoos, which interfere with the correct functioning of the heart rate sensor, causing for example the workout app to keep pausing itself irritatingly.

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.