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Apple Watch is more water resistant than Cupertino lets on

It seems that the Apple Watch deals far better with water than the company suggests in its official specs for the device.

On the Apple site, the company notes that the watch is IPX7 rated, and is “splash and water resistant but not waterproof”. Cupertino reckons the Apple Watch is only really suitable for light splashing such as from washing your hands, or running in the rain, and that full submersion of the smartwatch in water is “not recommended”.

However, Apple Insider spotted that a triathlete blogger, Ray Maker, has been doing some serious swimming with his smartwatch, and the device has been fine. In fact, Maker has worn it through dives off a 32-foot board, a 1,200 metre swim, and subjected it to a waterproofing test chamber which simulated a couple of dives to a depth of 40 metres. It survived all of this just fine.

The gadget certainly isn’t designed for swimming in terms of functionality though (unsurprisingly), and there’s no exercise tracking for swimming, and wrist detection doesn’t work underwater (or with dark tattoos half the time, cough, cough…).

The simple truth is it’s likely Apple is erring well on the side of caution when it comes to the gadget’s waterproof rating, and we wouldn’t recommend you start regular water-based activities with yours (for starters, the Apple Watch warranty has no coverage in respect of taking the thing swimming, or any intentional immersion in water).

It could well be the case that some watches are stronger in this respect than others, too – given variances in the manufacturing process – so if you’ve been unlucky with your model, then the results from a quick dip could be very different.

In short, it’s not worth the risk, and you won’t be covered if anything does go wrong. Apple also notes that its leather bands aren’t water-friendly, incidentally.

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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.