Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Apple Watch Underwater Study + My Solution

Craig Hockenberry of Iconfactory has released a very extensive report about his experiments on his Apple Watch Sport and its ability to function underwater. He divulges into the science of it, notes water's effect on the screen, talks about the results of his workouts underwater, talks about the potential and drawbacks, and finally, gives his own solutions.

While reading his report, I came up with my own solution. Not many people know that Apple Watch can be paired with a Bluetooth heart rate monitor. While it does cost more and it requires another person, it does work. If you feel reluctant to buying a monitor, remember, you were probably going to spend that money on Bluetooth headphones for your Apple Watch anyways. Here's my process:
  1. Wear your waterproof Bluetooth heart rate monitor as described in the monitor's instructions.
  2. On your Apple Watch, navigate to Settings > Bluetooth > Health Devices > and select (and pair) your heart rate monitor.
  3. Open the Workout app and select the "Other" workout.
  4. Configure the workout to your liking.
  5. Take off your Apple Watch prior to entering water and have another person wear it, be sure to unlock it and keep the Workout app open.
  6. Begin your swim!
So, why do we need two people? After EXTENSIVE testing, I've found that when the Apple Watch is taken off, security is enabled, requiring anyone else to input a passcode (if applicable) before using the device. I haven't tested this without a passcode because removing the passcode would delete all of my Apple Pay cards. Anyways, when the Apple Watch is unlocked without any heart rate detected through the Apple Watch (not through the Bluetooth heart rate monitor), the watch will fall asleep and pause the workout. When it detects a heart rate, it won't pause. Like I said, I did extensive testing, so just go with me. The Bluetooth heart rate monitor's data overrides that of the Apple Watch. That's why you need two people. So, though it might take a bit of preparation, it might be worth it for people looking to get those 30 minutes of exercise. I'm hoping that there will be some kind of accessory that will eliminate the need of that second person or that an update will make this easier...

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