If you have a series 1 Apple Watch then these are only splash-proof, so it’s definitely not wise to swim with one of those unless you want a very expensive wristband. However, both series 2 and 3 of the Apple Watch are water resistant up to 50m. There is, though, a particular technique to using the watches underwater.
I went swimming just days after buying my Apple Watch, surmising that if it wasn’t watertight, I could take it straight back to Apple. I needn’t have worried. However, I did discover that if I lifted my arm in the water, the watch face turned on, as it should do, but that any lapping water was moving and selecting items on the screen. This can be avoided.
How to swim with an Apple Watch
Before submerging the watch, flick up from the bottom of the screen and you should find an icon that looks like a water droplet (bottom left in the screenshot below, for those of you who’ve spent your life in the Sahara).
Select this and a blue waterdrop icon will appear at the top of your watch face. This means your screen is now locked – try swiping across the screen and you’ll find nothing happens. The watch is now ready for the water.
When you’ve done your 50 lengths (or depths in my case), turn the Digital Crown and you’ll see a screen appear informing you that you should continue turning to unlock the phone and “eject water”.
After a few turns the screen will unlock and then you’ll hear a series of beeps – this is the phone ejecting water from the speaker. The first time I tried this, after my swim, I ended up with a small puddle of water on my wrist.
Apple also recommends that, after swimming, you should rinse the watch under warm tap water. I guess that a post-swim rinse under a shower would count, although they do recommend not using the watch for your average daily shower as soaps, shampoos etc, will not play nicely with the device. For much the same reason I’d advise not plunging it into the washing up bowl.
The water ejection process is useful whenever the watch is submerged, even if you’d forgotten to lock the screen first. If your speaker remains muffled, don’t poke it and don’t shake it – just let the water evaporate. Putting the watch on charge will heat the device, accelerating the evaporation.
Apple adds a further note of caution, too – “Water resistance isn’t a permanent condition and may diminish over time”. Maybe that swim will become more expensive than you were expecting one-day…
Now read this: How do I move the Digital Crown on Apple Watch?