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How to swim with (and dry out) your Apple Watch

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A little water won’t hurt

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verg

These days, more and more electronic devices are water resistant, including the Apple Watch. Unless you’ve got a first-generation Watch, you can wear it in the shower, while swimming in a pool or lake, and while running until you sweat. In fact, the Watch doesn’t only keep water out; it can actually expel any excess water that may have gotten into the works.

Using a feature called Water Lock, your Watch (Series 2 or later) will automatically lock its screen if its activity monitor senses that you’re swimming or if you tell it you’re starting a swimming workout. This is to prevent accidental taps.

If you want to make sure Water Lock engages, there’s a quick way to protect your Watch against water damage before you take a shower or jump in the pool.

  • Swipe up from the bottom of any screen to open the Command Center
  • Scroll up or down by either rotating the Digital Crown or flicking the screen with your finger until you see the water drop icon. Tap it.

At that point, the screen stops responding to taps or swipes.

When you get out of the water, rotate the Watch’s crown. The Watch will beep a few times, expel any water that may have gotten into the speakers and mics, and reactivate the screen.

Be aware that the Watch is only water resistant, not waterproof, meaning it can’t handle lower depths (as in scuba diving) or higher force (like water skiing). In addition, Apple warns that substances like soapy water, lotions, and sunscreen or environments such as steam baths and saunas can eventually wear out the Watch’s water-resistant seals. Finally, check your Watch band; not all are water resistant.

So enjoy your swim, but don’t get careless.

Update January 2nd, 2020, 9:37AM ET: This article has been updated to correct that the Apple Watch’s Water Lock feature does not seal the Watch against water; it just avoids automatic taps.

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