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How waterproof is your Apple Watch? Well, it depends

Is it safe to go for a swim while wearing your Apple Watch? What about while washing dishes? We look at what you can and can't do when it comes to getting your watch wet.

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- 03:52
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Track your swims in the Activity app on your Apple Watch. 

Angela Lang/CNET

If you're in the habit of taking your Apple Watch off before going for a dip, there's good news: You might not have to. Odds are, if you recently got your Apple Watch, it's waterproof. Heck, all of the newer models can withstand saltwater, and there's even a fancy water ejection feature built into each watch that should ease your mind.

But there are some limits you should know about. For instance, water skiing is a no-go. 

Deciphering water resistance and waterproof ratings can be headache-inducing, but we've taken on that burden and break down all of the do's and don'ts for getting your Apple Watch wet. Below you'll find what you can and can't do with your Apple Watch around water. 

Read more: Great cheap accessories for your new Apple Watch  

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If you have a newer Apple Watch, it's perfectly fine to go for a swim with it on. 

Angela Lang/CNET

These Apple Watch models are less water resistant

The first-generation Apple Watch -- sometimes referred to as Series 0 -- and the second-generation Apple Watch, the Series 1, aren't really made to handle more than the occasional splash. Apple does not recommend submerging either model at all, as the speaker and microphone can get damaged.

If you do go for a dip with these earlier Apple Watch models, you'll need to take the watch off and place it on its side with the speaker facing down. This will allow any water inside the cavity to drain out. Do not use a can of compressed air, or any other tool, to remove the water, as you can cause damage.

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Models designed for swimming

As the Apple Watch and Apple's approach to it as a health device has matured, so to have its capabilities. Newer Apple Watch models are not only waterproof, but they're specifically designed for swimming. Here's a complete list of the current Apple Watch models that you can use in the pool without a second thought:

These models have an ISO rating of 22810:2010, which means they're designed to withstand water at up to 50 meters (164 feet) of depth.

Even with that rating, Apple doesn't recommend wearing the watch when scuba diving or water skiing. You want to avoid a situation where water can be forced into ports of the watch at high speed or high depths.

Wearing the watch in fresh or ocean water is fine, just remember to rinse off your watch with fresh water (from a faucet) after swimming in the ocean to remove any salt. Be sure to rotate the digital crown as you do.

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Wearing it in the shower isn't the best idea, according to Apple. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Be mindful of your Apple Watch band 

Not all Apple Watch bands are meant to get wet. According to Apple, the classic buckle, leather loop, modern buckle, Milanese, and link bracelet bands aren't water resistant. Instead, you can spend a few dollars on a cheap band from Amazon, or get one of Apple's sport or sport loop bands.

Remember to turn on the water lock before going for a dip

Your Apple Watch may have a built-in water lock to help keep your screen from activating while wet.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

When swimming, get into the habit of activating Water Lock on the Apple Watch. The feature prevents water from activating the touchscreen of your watch.

Starting a Swim exercise activity automatically enables Water Lock. Otherwise, you can activate Water Lock in Control Center (swipe up on the watch face) and tap on the water drop icon.

To disable Water Lock you'll need to turn the Digital Crown on your watch until you begin to hear a series of beeps. The noise emitted from the speaker is used to eject any water inside the cavity.

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Don't forget to turn on water lock, and then give your watch a rinse once you're done swimming. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Better safe than sorry

Even though the Series 2 and newer are designed to withstand fresh water, it's a good idea not to wear yours in the shower. Not only can a shower put out high-velocity water, but Apple says the chemicals in shampoos and soaps can deteriorate the watch's water resistance.

Other chemicals to avoid include perfume, bug repellent, lotion, sunscreen, hair dye and oil. If you do get some on your watch, rinse it off with fresh water. Again, rotate the digital crown while you rinse your watch off, just to make sure any chemicals between the crown and the housing are removed.

Avoid wearing your watch in a sauna or steam room, as the heat can also impact the longevity of its water resistance.

There's a lot of new features coming to the Apple Watch line with the release of WatchOS 7 later this year. For example, there's a new handwashing feature that times how long you've been scrubbing and ensures you do it right. Apple is expected to announce the Series 6 later this year as well, and we have all the current rumors and speculation.