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Today I’m going to answer the question…

“Does the Apple watch emit radiation?”

Spoiler alert: It does.

So the next question is…is it a big deal?

I’ll present what I know and let you be the judge 🙂

Why Buy an iWatch?

It’s no secret Apple is a dominant contender in the world of technology. 

From iPhones to Macbook Airs, Apple has everyone at the edge of their seat, waiting for their next product and upgrade.

One of its newest gadgets garnering attention is the Apple Watch.

Though it’s not simply a fancier way to tell the time. It also acts as a handy assistant (pun intended).

And if you could see me right now, I’m rolling my eyes…it’s a pet peeve of mine how they market technology… “look at how much better this will make your life! Don’t worry about the health you’re trading for it…”

During its first release, the watch was hammered with negative reviews. But when Apple released later upgraded versions, it became to consumers a “must buy.”

With it, you can track your fitness and health, receive and send messages, shop and make purchases, launch several applications, and store music, photos, and documents. 

Apart from the ease of navigating the digital world through your wrist, iWatch (as they were originally going to call it) also offers advanced technology. 

For example, sending texts is accomplished faster thanks to the watch’s ability to analyze messages and suggest appropriate, pre-set responses. 

While connected to your phone, you can also access WiFi, GPS, and Siri to help you with tasks.

Apple Watch Radiation Concerns: The Problem Is How It Works

It’s clear the Apple Watch has a lot of advantages, but with these perks also comes consequences. 

For the Apple watch to work, it has to be connected to cellular data, WiFi, or Bluetooth. 

And since any device that functions wirelessly emits radiofrequency radiation, it becomes a dangerous device to have right against your skin for long periods of time. 

The farther our distance is to the radiation source, the less waves we absorb. 

But since people typically wear watches during all ‘awake’ hours, that’s potentially a whole lot of EMF radiation being absorbed.

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: What Apple Says About Their Watch Radiation 

For most of us, our first response upon learning about EMF is:

“If it’s such a big risk to our health, why isn’t the company intervening? 

Simple: They comply with the FCC’s “safety standards” and that’s good enough for them. 

The only problem is the FCC’s standards are very outdated. They were set (in stone it seems) before the onslaught of research proving radiofrequency’s risks.

And well, they represent what’s most profitable for the telecommunications industry – not what’s most healthy for you and me, the consumer. 

Apple is completely aware of the radiation exposure of their product.

By law, they’ve conducted tests to determine its Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) to meet applicable limits of radiofrequency exposure. 

To clarify, SAR is the rate at which the body absorbs RF energy. 

The maximum SAR for cellular devices is based on the amount of EMF radiation that the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) considers legal and safe for humans. 

As of now, the FCC states that devices meant to be held at the head can’t go beyond 1.6 W/kg (watts per kilo).

Which Apple Watch Models Have the Highest and Lowest Radiation Emissions?

Below is the list of Apple Watch Models along with their corresponding SAR Radiation levels as provided by Apple. 

Note that for all levels, the SAR limit for the wrist area is 4.0 W/kg (averaged over 10g of tissue).

And because people don’t walk around with their wrists up to their ear, I’m only going to provide the wrist SAR value. 

Head values would be different, but those are more applicable to cell phones.

Apple Watch 1st Generation

The Apple Watch 1st Generation was launched in September 2014. It is compatible with iPhone 5 and later models with a battery life of up to 8 hours. 

It features touch control and voice command as well as activity trackers for distance, steps, and heart rate.

Model A1553

  • Wrist value: 0.024

Model A1554

  • Wrist value: 0.061

Apple Watch Series 1

The Apple Watch Series 1 was released in December 2016. This time, the battery lasts up to 18 hours.

It is compatible with iPhone 5+ and comes with Apple Siri as a personal assistant. 

Its additional features are bluetooth music, a built-in payment service, and access to the app store.

Model A1802

  • Wrist value: 0.018

Model A1803

  • Wrist value: 0.018

Apple Watch Series 2

Series 2 offers a display that is two times brighter, plus a dual-core processor and 50 meters water resistance. 

It can run without being connected to your iPhone because of its built-in GPS.

This series improved Apple Pay, access to third party apps easy, and notifications .

Model A1757, A1816

  • Wrist value: 0.049

Model A1758, A1817

  • Wrist value: 0.054

Apple Watch Series 3 

Series 3 is available in 38mm and 42 mm cases. It features a retina display, heart rate notifications, and emergency SOS. 

There are other health, core fitness, and connectivity features available in this version.

GPS + Cellular Model A1860

  • Wrist value: 0.18

GPS + Cellular Model A1889

  • Wrist value: 0.15

GPS + Cellular Model A1890 

  • Wrist value: 0.14

GPS + Cellular Model A1861

  • Wrist value: 0.34

GPS + Cellular Model A1891

  • Wrist value: 0.18

GPS + Cellular Model A1892

  • Wrist value: 0.18

GPS Model A1858

  • Wrist value: 0.034

GPS Model A1859

  • Wrist value: 0.023

Apple Watch Series 4

Series 4 was released in September 2018. It is built with a 64-bit dual-core processor that is twice as fast as S3. 

It has improved its gyroscope and accelerometer. It includes the optical heart sensor and electrical heart sensor.

GPS + Cellular Model A1976

  • Wrist value: 0.36

GPS + Cellular Model A2008

  • Wrist value: 0.36

GPS + Cellular Model A1975

  • Wrist value: 0.34

GPS + Cellular Model A2007

  • Wrist value: 0.26

GPS Model A1977

  • Wrist value: 0.07

GPS Model A1978

  • Wrist value: 0.10

Apple Watch Series 5

As the most advanced Apple watch, this device features an always-on retina display whose viewing area is 30 percent larger than the Series 3. 

It has the ability to detect the rise and fall of your heart rate. And if it detects you’ve fallen hard, emergency services will be called automatically.

GPS + Cellular Model A2095

  • Wrist value: 0.34

GPS + Cellular Model A2157

  • Wrist value: 0.34

GPS + Cellular Model A2094

  • Wrist value: 0.39

GPS + Cellular Model A2156

  • Wrist value: 0.39

GPS Model A2093

  • Wrist value: 0.08

GPS Model A2092

  • Wrist value: 0.07

Why You Can’t Trust SAR Levels (This Is a Biggie!)

Despite the SAR levels that are taken into account when releasing these products, the threat of radiation remains. 

That’s because the guidelines posted by the FCC regarding SAR levels did not consider the effects of EMF on humans. 

*crickets*

What?! How could they not measure the effects of HUMANS – the ones wearing and using the devices – before deeming them safe?

It’s sad, but true by their own admission. 

Even worse, the guidelines don’t consider the radiation exposure level of gadgets in varying distances. 

The SAR levels tested by the FCC are only based on cell phone use (in DUMMIES) against the head for 30 minutes.

With all that considered, can we still trust that using an Apple watch is safe? 

I personally don’t think so, and my TriField TF2 meter proves it. 

But even if you don’t have a meter (and don’t want to take my word for it), we can’t trust the Apple watch is safe because we can’t trust SAR levels in the first place. 

This is due to the fact that the research conducted about it was very limited.

First and foremost, SAR testing used dummies to replicate humans. 

This method fails to consider people who wear metal accessories or have metal fillings in their body. 

Second, the test was only conducted on an adult brain. 

In reality, children are getting exposed to high amounts of radiation too. 

Not to mention pregnant women whose radiation-emitting devices may affect their unborn child. 

And lastly, the information SAR levels seem to indicate only reflects the radiation emitted when a device is being used.

It doesn’t disclose how much radiation you’re exposed to when the watch is sitting on your night stand.

And as long as it’s on and not in airplane mode, it’s emitting EMF because it’s always searching for a device to connect to.

Potential Side Effects of Smart Watches

Excess radiation is certainly the biggest side effect in my book, which I talk about in point #1, but it’s not the only one. Check out points #2 and #3.

1. Too Much EMF Radiation Exposure

I already mentioned the Apple watch can’t work without using Bluetooth, WiFi, or cellular data – all of which emit EMF radiation. 

But how does that translate to real life?

Well, most of you probably won’t “feel” anything. 

But whether you feel it or not, electromagnetic fields interact with you at the cellular level – ie they affect your cells and not in a good way. 

Over time, that can lead to chronic conditions. 

However, some people – like me – are hyper-sensitive to EMF. 

I personally get a tingly, deep tissue burn type feeling when I hold a cell phone for more than a few minutes.

And if I don’t stop, I’ll get super irritable. Not fun. 

Others report:

  • Excessive fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Weird pains
  • Ringing in the ear
  • A buzzing/vibration feeling 

2. Apple Watch Burns Wrist & Other User Complaints

Several users have taken to social media to complain about skin problems they’re experiencing. 

In 2015, many customers asked for refunds after getting skin irritations, burns, and rashes. 

These skin problems are not simply a result of the watch band or sweat reaction like Apple would have you believe.

Apple claims that the negative effects are “more than likely” due to individual allergies, irritants, or environmental factors that are not connected to the gadget. 

The company rejects the accusations that their device may have potential risks to the user.

3. Security and Privacy Risks 

There have also been warnings regarding the safety of smart wearable tech because the user’s health and identity data can be hacked. 

More than that, the GPS built inside the watch can show your location and travel history. 

This satellite information can then be used to track you without your knowledge or consent.

How to Reduce Apple Watch EMF

The best solution is to get rid of the watch itself. 

I know…that’s rough…

So if you still want to continue using it, here are some ways you can at least reduce the amount of radiation you’re exposed to.

1. Don’t wear it while you sleep

One of the intriguing features of the Apple watch is its ability to track sleeping patterns, collect information about your nighttime movements, and wake you up gently. 

However, this also means that you’re exposed to EMF all.night.long. 

I find it ironic that they’re marketing this feature as wellness-promoting when, in reality, it’s far from it. 

Sleep is the most important time of day for your body. It’s the time it resets, detoxes, and prepares for the next day. 

You need to protect the health of your sleep environment at all costs. It’s THAT important. 

So that means no WiFi in your bedroom period…and definitely don’t wear your Apple watch while you sleep.

2. Replace the iWatch with a Pedometer

If your reason for purchasing is to track your steps, try using a pedometer. 

Apart from being a cheap option, a pedometer can help you to be fit without the risk of radiation exposure.

Many fitness trackers now use Bluetooth, but a few models can still be used with it turned off. I have an article that reviews those here:

>> Fitness Trackers Without Bluetooth

3. Choose Airplane mode

Putting your device on airplane mode reduces EMFs by disconnecting all wireless modes. 

That means no Bluetooth, no WiFi, and no cellular networks. 

So what can an apple watch do in airplane mode?

A lot of its “best” features may be disabled, but you can still look at your photos, track your workouts, and check your heart rate.

Do Apple Watch EMF Blockers Really Work?

Some people suggest using a special EMF radiation blocker – a device placed on your Apple watch – to act as a barrier between your body and EMF. 

There are many products that claim to” neutralize” or “harmonize” EMF.

There’s even a watch band specifically for Apple watch users. 

However, please know that these things cannot provide adequate protection. 

>>> And maybe read this about EMF scams.

One thing I learned during my EMF Consultation training was how electromagnetic waves behave.

They can be reflected, absorbed, defracted, etc….but they CANNOT be “neutralized.”

Such products only give you a false sense of protection that’ll ultimately lead you to ignore how long/how often you use the device. 

It’s unfortunate, but some devices simply can’t be used safely. The 3 “laws” of EMF protection are:

  • Distance
  • Duration 
  • Elimination 

Sometimes elimination means shielding, but the only way to eliminate Apple Watch EMF is to turn it on airplane mode…in which case it’s just a glorified – and way overpriced – pedometer.

Final Verdict: Are Apple Watches Safe?

You’re not going to drop dead from them. 

But despite its convenient, high-tech features, the device is a source of EMF radiation that can damage your health over time. 

On top of that, there’s even a risk of compromising your identity because the information stored within is easy to hack. 

Considering all the negative effects and potential risks, the Apple Watch just isn’t worth it.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me if a FitBit is a better alternative. 

By comparison, FitBit vs Apple watch radiation is about the same. Both need to connect wirelessly to a device. 

>>> If you’d like more details, check out my FitBit Radiation article here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to wear an Apple watch all the time?

No. Continuous use mean even more exposure to radiofrequency radiation.

Are smartwatches the same as an Apple watch?

Yes. Smartwatches and Apple watches both operate through the use of a wireless connection. Therefore, they both emit radiation.

Is it safe to wear an Apple while sleeping?

No. Wearing the watch to bed means you’re absorbing its EMFs all night long. This can eventually disrupt your natural sleep pattern and cause issues. 

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