The written article is based on a summary of existing literature on the topic of infrared saunas. The article is for educational purposes and the information provided below cannot be taken as a promise to help with acute health problems or diseases. 15 references back the claims in the article. All references are numbered. You can access the text of the reference by clicking on the number.
A common question among health and wellness enthusiasts who enjoy their infrared sauna sessions is whether they can take their Apple Watch into the sauna. Regrettably, the answer tends to lean towards a "no". Despite Apple Watches having a certain level of protection against everyday water exposure, such as rain, the mix of humidity and high temperatures in a sauna could potentially be harmful to your Apple Watch.
In this blog post, we'll delve into the question "Can you take an Apple Watch into a sauna?" step by step. We'll discuss the typical temperatures most saunas reach and evaluate if wearing an Apple Watch during a sauna session is advisable. Additionally, some practical solutions will be provided later in the blog post.
Before we start, it might be beneficial, after reading this blog, to explore other similar blogs that delve into related topics.
As experts in this field, we aim to provide clear and educational information to help you make informed decisions about your health and wellness routines. Now, let’s get started:
Water-Resistant Apple Watches and How They Vary
Firstly, let's address the Apple Watch's water resistance guarantee - how extensive is it really? There are numerous terms such as "water resistant" and "waterproof" that often cause confusion as they don't necessarily mean the same thing.
Here's an analogy:
You might comfortably wear a Rolex watch while taking a shower. However, if you decide to go deep-sea diving, the risk of damaging your watch increases significantly.
Did you know there are various standards when we talk about water resistance? Technically speaking, Apple Watches are labelled as "water-resistant" or "waterproof". However, as we will soon discuss, the meaning of these terms can vary greatly depending on the context.
And then we come to the topic of Apple Watches themselves. It's important to note that not all Apple Watches are created equal.
Let's delve deeper into this subject:
The Evolution of Water Resistance in Apple Watches
As the name suggests, the Apple Watch is a product of the American corporation, Apple. The Apple Watch has consistently evolved technically, with new models regularly hitting the market. At present, over 100 million people worldwide sport an Apple Watch.
The journey started with the first Apple Watch, launched in 2015. Surprisingly, this pioneering model wasn't water-resistant, meaning even a light drizzle or an accidental splash near a pool could potentially damage it.
This initial version, known as the "Apple Watch Zero", wasn't suited for showers or outdoor activities during rain, similar to most smartphones that you'd ideally want to keep away from water.
Fast forward to today, we have the Apple Watch 8, Apple Watch SE and the Apple Watch Ultra. Almost every year, a new iteration of the Apple Watch graces the market. We've seen the Apple Watch 1 in 2016, the Apple Watch 4 in 2018, and there's a buzz about the Apple Watch 9 launching in 2023.
Throughout this evolution, many features have been added, like sleep, workout, steps, heart rate tracking, app installation capabilities, GPS, and much more. As a result, the Apple Watch has become quite a sophisticated piece of technology.
Now, let's discuss the water resistance in different Apple Watch models. Officially, the first two models, the Apple Watch Zero and Apple Watch 1, were only splash resistant. They weren't designed for showers or swimming.
However, the newer models, from the Apple Watch 3 to the Apple Watch 8, comply with the ISO 22810:2010 water resistance standard. This standard, set by an international organisation responsible for managing standards, allows you to swim with your Apple Watch 3 to 8 at shallow depths.
So, if you decide to dive into a pool while holidaying in the tropics, your Apple Watch 8 should be safe. But, if you're planning on deep-sea diving to a depth of 100 metres, you might need to invest in a new watch. Therefore, context is key.
Interestingly, the newest model, the premium Apple Watch 8 Ultra, allows you to dive up to a depth of 40 metres.
So far, so good, right? You might think that with this level of water resistance, your Apple Watch should be safe in a sauna. However, saunas like the Finnish Sauna or steam room aren't just humid, they're also extremely hot. And these high temperatures pose a new challenge for Apple Watches.
Apple Watches and Heat: A Tricky Relationship
Have you ever left your smartphone in direct sunlight for so long that it eventually turned itself off? If you have, then you probably have seen a "too hot" message trying to turn it on and had to cool it down, maybe by putting it in the refrigerator to get it working again.
Here's the thing:
Most modern technology isn't fond of high temperatures. Your laptop, smartphone or Apple Watch are all designed to function optimally at temperatures ranging from 0 degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) to 25 degrees Celsius (77F).
But once the temperature tips over 30 degrees Celsius (86F), these devices start experiencing issues. And beyond 35 degrees Celsius (95F), many devices simply begin to shut down, unable to operate any longer.
"Apple Watch is designed to work best in ambient temperatures between 32° to 95° F (0° and 35° C).
You can store your Apple Watch in ambient temperatures between -4° and 113° F (-20° and 45° C).”
For the more premium Apple Watch Ultra, these maximum temperature limits can be slightly extended. When wearing the Apple Watch Ultra, it can withstand slightly higher temperatures. However, when charging this high-end model, it's best to stick to average room temperatures.
So, it's clear that not all conditions are suitable for your Apple Watch. High heat can negatively impact your watch's performance and may even cause permanent damage.
Let's delve into what happens to your Apple Watch when it gets too hot:
Can You Wear Apple Watch In Sauna?
Finally, we can tackle the question that's been on your mind: "Can you wear an Apple Watch in a sauna?" We'll consider three different scenarios here:
For now, let's explore the relationship between traditional saunas and the Apple Watch:
Sporting an Apple Watch in a Traditional Sauna
Traditional saunas can reach searing temperatures of up to 100 degrees Celsius (212F). Even more intense, sauna competitions utilise temperatures of 110 to 115 degrees Celsius (230 - 239F).
The standard Apple Watch is designed to function in ambient temperatures of just 35 degrees Celsius. The maximum recommended temperature is a mere 45 degrees Celsius. If you own an Apple Watch Ultra, the maximum temperature for wearing it is 55 degrees Celsius.
Even if you're enjoying a relatively moderate traditional sauna temperature, the numbers simply don't align. A typical dry sauna or Finnish sauna temperature might be around 70 or 80 degrees Celsius (158 - 176F). Those saunas are thus at least 15 degrees Celsius too hot, even if you have an Ultra model.
Furthermore, some traditional saunas, like Finnish saunas, generate a significant amount of humidity. As water is poured onto hot stones or stones heated by electricity, that water evaporates into the air, resulting in high humidity levels.
As you may know, heat transfers much quicker in environments with high humidity. The human body can withstand extreme temperatures better when the humidity is low. However, in high humidity, extreme temperatures become a whole different challenge.
This is because humidity measures the amount of water vapour in the air. Water conducts heat about 30 times faster than air (a gas). Therefore, the higher the humidity levels, the faster heat is transferred.
High humidity can significantly affect your Apple Watch. In areas with high humidity, exceeding the minimum and maximum recommended temperatures can quickly become problematic.
Additionally, the watch indirectly experiences more exposure to water due to high humidity. At 15 degrees Celsius, this humidity might not matter much, but at extremely high temperatures, the situation changes drastically.
Now, let's investigate what happens to your Apple Watch when you take it into a Finnish Sauna at 80 degrees Celsius:
What Occurs When an Apple Watch Overheats, and How Does an Overheated Apple Watch Behave?
When it comes to your Apple Watch overheating, there are primarily two stages. Overheating can occur when you expose the watch to temperatures higher than 35 or 45 degrees Celsius for regular Apple Watches and above 55 degrees Celsius for the Apple Watch Ultra.
The Apple Watch starts to slow down, and apps don’t function as efficiently as usual; some might even shut down
The screen might dim
Your ability to receive or make phone calls may be affected
The WiFi connection may become unstable
Other signs of malfunction may begin to appear
If your Apple Watch is exhibiting these signs, consider it a warning. It's crucial to remove the Apple Watch from the heat source as quickly as possible. If you continue using the Apple Watch in high temperatures, permanent damage could ensue.
If the watch continues to be subjected to high heat (or extremely cold temperatures, such as during ice baths), it will eventually shut down completely. In such a situation, you should:
Remove the Apple Watch from your wrist or the charger
Place the Apple Watch in a location with a normal room temperature
Once the Apple Watch has cooled down, you may resume charging it if necessary
Of course, overheating can sometimes occur inadvertently. You might have left your Apple Watch in a hot car while shopping, or you may have kept it on during your sauna session, unaware that this could cause irreversible damage.
Such actions could potentially affect the warranty, which varies depending on the Apple Watch model. Therefore, it's strongly advised against wearing an Apple Watch in a Finnish sauna. The air temperatures inside a sauna are significantly higher than what the watch is designed to withstand, and you could end up damaging your device within minutes.
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Wearing an Apple Watch in an Infrared Sauna
Let's now turn our attention to infrared saunas. These saunas typically maintain temperatures between 45 to 60 degrees Celsius. The humidity levels are generally low, which is certainly a positive factor.
However, we would still strongly advise against wearing an Apple Watch in an infrared sauna for several reasons:
Firstly, the maximum temperatures in an infrared sauna already surpass the highest recommended temperature tolerance of the most heat-resistant Apple Watch model: the Ultra.
Secondly, while the air temperature and humidity in an infrared sauna might not be exceptionally high, there's another significant element at play: infrared heat. Infrared saunas emit infrared light or heat (those terms are largely interchangeable from a physics standpoint). This heat penetrates various objects, warming them from the inside out, much like how a microwave works.
Different objects respond differently to infrared light. However, assuming that the Apple Watch doesn't reflect all infrared light, it's likely to heat up much faster than it would in a typical environment with temperatures of 45-60 degrees Celsius.
In essence, while your Apple Watch may be water-resistant, this doesn't necessarily mean it will fare well in a dry infrared sauna. There's a high probability of damage, so it's best to leave it outside.
Wearing An Apple Watch In A Steam Room
Steam rooms typically reach a maximum temperature of 40 - 45 degrees Celsius. You might think, "Great, I can just use my Apple Watch in there." But hold on.
Despite the temperature in a steam room not being incredibly high, the humidity certainly is. As mentioned earlier, water conducts heat over 30 times more efficiently than air. This is why you cool down much quicker in cold water than in cold air of the same temperature.
When there's more water in the air, heat conductivity increases significantly. For your Apple Watch, this means that it can overheat exceptionally quickly, even if the steam room temperature isn't excessively high.
Therefore, we recommend avoiding the risk altogether. It's not worth having your watch shut down, potentially suffering permanent damage, and voiding your limited Apple Watch warranty.
Furthermore, the additional humidity adds another layer of complexity. Apple's guidelines for the Apple Watch state that you should not expose it to water temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius. While steam rooms don't expose your watch to liquid water, they do expose it to water above 40 degrees Celsius in the form of steam. This presents another risk that Apple itself has highlighted.
Which brings us to the next point:
Can I Wear An Apple Watch In A Hot Tub?
Hot tubs typically reach a maximum temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. Your initial thought might be, "Excellent! I can use my Apple Watch in the hot tub since it can endure temperatures up to 45 degrees."
But let's take a step back...
The maximum temperatures mentioned by Apple pertain to ambient conditions. For the Apple Watch Ultra, it's designed to withstand water temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius. Hence, if your hot tub is at this temperature, you're already hitting the recommended limit, and bear in mind, not everyone owns the heat-resilient Ultra model.
So, if your hot tub is heated to 40 degrees Celsius, nearly all Apple Watch models would surpass their highest recommended temperature and are likely to shut down. Now, let's hypothesise that the water temperature is slightly cooler, say around 37 degrees Celsius. Would you be prepared to risk using your Apple Watch in the hot tub under these conditions?
Hopefully, your answer would be no...
In most instances, unless you have verified that the water temperature is 25 degrees Celsius or cooler, it's simply not worth exposing your Apple Watch to hot water. As such, we would advise against using your device in a hot tub.
It's crucial to remember that water conducts heat more rapidly than air, so if your Apple Watch starts to overheat, damage could happen swiftly. Thus, it's best to play it safe and avoid doing so.
Now, let's address some common queries on this topic:
Frequently Asked Questions: Other Scenarios of Using an Apple Watch in a Sauna and Related Questions
Finally, let's address some frequent queries that many have regarding the use of an Apple Watch in a sauna. Here's one question that is often asked:
Can I Take My iPhone into a Sauna?
The response to this query is identical to that for the Apple Watch. Apple has outlined clear guidelines about using an iPhone in hot environments. According to these guidelines, if you're actively using your iPhone, the ambient temperature can be as high as 35 degrees Celsius. If you're not using it, the maximum temperature is 45 degrees Celsius.
These temperatures are strikingly similar to the maximum ones that an Apple Watch should be subjected to. Therefore, whether it's a steam room, an infrared sauna, or a Finnish sauna, all could potentially cause issues for your phone within minutes. As for hot tubs, they pose an even greater risk, as your phone could completely break down if exposed to water.
The conclusion? Keep your iPhone out of any sauna or steam room. Otherwise, your phone could quickly shut down and suffer irreversible damage.
Next on the list:
Can I Wear My Apple Watch While Sweating?
Absolutely, you can wear an Apple Watch during physical activities. In fact, it's recommended to use an Apple Watch during such times. Over the years, numerous features have been added to the Apple Watch, making it an excellent tool for monitoring your performance during workouts.
For example, the Apple Watch automatically detects when you start exercising. You can also manually track your workouts, check your oxygen saturation, monitor your heart rate throughout your workout, and more.
A bit of sweat won't affect the water resistance or even the waterproof nature of the Apple Watch. Why? The logic is simple: If you can swim with an Apple Watch in the sea or ocean, a little sweat isn't going to damage it.
So, perspiration during a workout is harmless for the Apple Watch. However, sweating during sauna sessions isn't recommended due to the room temperature, not the perspiration itself.
What Temperature Can an Apple Watch Withstand?
The most recent Apple Watches, from Series 3 to Series 7, are water-resistant and function well at temperatures up to 35 degrees Celsius. You can store these watches in temperatures maxing out at 45 degrees Celsius.
For the Apple Watch Series 8 Ultra, that limit increases by 10 degrees Celsius. Any temperature close to these limits, especially coupled with high humidity, can slow down your Apple Watch or temporarily stop it from working.
So, leaving your Apple Watch in a hot car on a summer day or in the sand at the beach could already be too much for it. Hence, you should exercise caution in hot environments like saunas as they might permanently damage your watch.
Is it Okay to Wear a Watch in a Sauna?
Certainly, you can wear a watch inside a sauna. Just ensure it's not an Apple Watch - as we've extensively discussed throughout this article, Apple Watches are not designed to withstand the heat of various sauna types.
A mechanically-operated watch, such as a Rolex, can easily be used inside a sauna. Rolex watches are built for extreme wear and tear and don't contain any electronics.
The larger issue might be whether you can tolerate the Rolex on your wrist, as the metal conducts heat exceptionally well. The Rolex may become too hot to handle.
Overall, watches that don't contain any electronics will generally fare well inside a sauna. Watches that do contain electronics are not recommended. Unless the electronics are specifically designed for extreme temperatures, you must refer to the instruction manual.
Is an iPhone Safe in an Infrared Sauna?
No, even in an infrared sauna, the iPhone's maximum tolerable temperature is far too low. According to Apple, at lower settings, such as 45 degrees Celsius, the infrared sauna will be at the maximum allowed temperature for the iPhone.
And, if you go just slightly over that 45-degree threshold, you've exceeded the maximum recommended temperature. Then, your iPhone shutting down or being damaged becomes much more likely, so we don’t recommend taking an iPhone into an infrared sauna.
Can You Use Electronics in an Infrared Sauna?
We advise against bringing electronics inside an infrared sauna. Unless electronic equipment is specifically made to withstand extreme temperatures, it's best not to use it inside an infrared sauna.
This holds true for televisions, radios, smartphones, speaker sets, and anything else you can think of. Often, the combination of humidity and high temperatures damages any electronic equipment.
Fortunately, all of Clearlight® Saunas come with built-in speakers and Bluetooth capability. This means you can always listen to your favourite tunes during your sauna sessions.
As for televisions, you could install one inside a sauna. However, you'd need to shield the television from the high temperatures and/or find a TV that can withstand the heat that televisions usually aren’t exposed to.
Is it Safe to Take an Apple Watch into a Sauna, Even if I'm Not Wearing It?
Technically, your Apple Watch can endure higher temperatures when it's not in use. This means that it can withstand more heat when it's simply lying around compared to when it's charging or being heavily used.
However, even when not in use, the maximum temperature your Apple Watch should be exposed to is still 45 degrees Celsius. This temperature is significantly lower than what most infrared and traditional saunas operate at. Even steam rooms reaching the 45-degree Celsius mark are likely to damage your Apple Watch.
An important point to consider is:
If you're not using your Apple Watch, why would you want it lying around in a sauna anyway? If you're not using it, it's better to leave it outside the sauna as there's no benefit to having it inside.
Will the Stainless Steel Construction of My Apple Watch Protect It from Damage?
Yes, stainless steel construction is indeed great for a sauna. However, only the casing of the Apple Watch is made from stainless steel. The internal electronics aren't made of stainless steel. Therefore, these components are at risk when exposed to extreme heat and/or humidity.
The only way to fully protect a watch in such conditions is if all or most of its parts are made from stainless steel or other metals, and there are no internal electronics. With electronics - which the Apple Watch has plenty of - exposure to these extreme conditions will cause damage.
This holds true for any device containing electronics.
How Does the Water Resistance of the Apple Watch Relate to Overheating?
Water resistance and the ability to withstand high temperatures are two different things. Devices can be waterproof yet unable to handle high temperatures, or vice versa. In the case of the Apple Watch, it can generally withstand water exposure, but not extreme temperatures.
So, exposing your Apple Watch to 50 or 80 degrees Celsius will cause damage. However, swimming with an Apple Watch Series 3 or higher won't harm the device.
An Apple Watch is Never Safe in Saunas
Sometimes, the truth is straightforward. In this case, under no circumstances - whether it's a steam bath, hot tub, or Finnish sauna - is your Apple Watch safe. So, it's best to keep the Apple Watch outside the sauna until you've finished your session, and then resume wearing it.
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What's Next: It's worth noting that from the third generation onwards, the Apple Watch is waterproof for everyday use. Unless you're deep diving, the Apple Watch should be able to withstand exposure to water. Sweating or working out vigorously with your Apple Watch (outside a sauna or hot tub) should also be perfectly fine.