You don’t have to use your Apple Watch water lock whenever you take a dip, but there are plenty of good reasons to do so. One of which is the ability to eject any water still stuck in the Watch, preventing damage to the speaker and microphone.
Enable Water Lock to Eject Water
To clear out water from your Apple Watch speaker and microphone you must first enable water lock. You can do this before getting your Watch wet to prevent unwanted taps and clicks, or you can do it afterward provided the screen is dry enough to use properly.
On your Watch face, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap on the water lock icon that looks like a droplet of water. The Watch will immediately lock. If you don’t see the option, tap “Edit” to add it to your Apple Watch Control Center.
From here, roll the digital crown in either direction until the on-screen meter fills up. Once you’ve done it correctly, you’ll hear a few short buzzing sounds and feel your watch expel any water from the slots on the left-hand side.
You can do this as many times as you like to remove any water that’s stuck inside. Not doing so may result in muffled or tinny audio, and will prevent you from being heard properly while taking calls or making recordings with the Voice Memos app.
How Does This Work?
The ability to eject water from your Apple Watch is limited to the Apple Watch Series 2 and newer, and isn’t available on the original Apple Watch or Apple Watch Series 1.
Water lock works using sound waves which vibrate at the right frequency to propel liquid out of the speaker hole on the left side of your Apple Watch. You can see this in action when the Watch gets wet, but it’s far more impressive to watch in slow motion.
Most models of Apple Watch have at least an IPX7 water resistance rating, which means they can withstand being submerged in 1 meter of water (just over 3 feet 3 inches) for up to 30 minutes. The Apple Watch Series 2 and newer can withstand a depth of 50 meters.
Rinse Soap and Salt Water Thoroughly
If you’ve been wearing your Apple Watch while bathing or swimming in salt water, take care to rinse out the speaker hole thoroughly to prevent residue from building up. Soap and salt can get left behind when the water evaporates, and it’s a lot easier to prevent this build-up than it is to get rid of it at a later date.
You can repeat the water lock process as many times as you need to to keep your speaker hole clean and dry. A good rule of thumb to follow with soap is that if you’re still seeing bubbles when using water lock, you should probably keep rinsing it until only water comes out. Consider taking your Apple Watch off when bathing in the future.