Apple Watch Radiation: Health Concerns and Protection Tips

Apple Watch Radiation

Recently, concerns have been made over the popular Apple Watch series. Specifically, some have raised the idea that the radiation emitted from Apple Watches can prove detrimental to users.

If you currently own an Apple Watch, don’t panic. Below, I’ll outline some of the information you need to know about Apple Watches and radiation—and I’ll even tell you how you can start to protect yourself from these negative effects.

Ready to get all the up-to-date information you need to protect yourself while wearing an Apple Watch? Let’s dive in!

As an affiliate, I may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

Do Apple Watches Emit Radiation?

Unsurprisingly, the release of the Apple Watch renewed both public and expert concerns over the possibility of harmful radiation. Because the watch can act in many of the same ways as a cellphone, experts cautioned that they might also give off damaging radiation.

With these experts now raising the alarm bells, it’s time to ask the tough questions. How damaging can this radiation be, and should the public be concerned?

The fact is that Apple watches continuously emit EMF radiation as they use the internet for most of their functions. The cellular versions emit the most radiation as they additionally connect to mobile towers like a regular cellphone.

What Is Mobile Device Radiation?

The radiation emitted by Apple Watches, generally speaking, is the same as that found in cell phones. Also known as radio frequency electromagnetic waves (RF EMW/EMF), this radiation has been shown to have a number of detrimental side effects.

In a peer-reviewed study published by NISCAIR-CSIR, India, researchers concluded the following:

“Health endpoints reported to be associated with RF include childhood leukemia, brain tumors, genotoxic effects, neurological effects and neurodegenerative diseases, immune system deregulation, allergic and inflammatory responses, infertility and some cardiovascular effects.”

If that’s not scary enough, the researchers continued to conclude that “the regular and long term use of microwave devices [of which the Apple Watch is now included] at the domestic level can have a negative impact upon biological systems—especially on the brain.

The findings in this study show why experts now question the safety of mobile devices—including the Apple Watch.

They also demonstrate why these devices should concern you, too.

Though it can be difficult to imagine our lives without our techno-powered watches and phones, it’s even more difficult to think about the potentially-dangerous side effects from constant use.

Personally, I realize the difficulty in acting on such concerns when they seem so remote. Because this radiation takes time to cause any real damage for most people, it can be all-too-easy to brush these concerns under the rug.

However, by taking a more proactive approach when wearing and using these devices, we can protect ourselves from major side effects later in life.

With this in mind, how does this information relate to the Apple Watch in particular? What should you know to protect yourself from this dangerous radiation?

Apple Watch Radiation Concerns

For many, concerns over Apple Watch radiation is greater than that for cell phones.


Because science has proven that the closer you are to the radiation exposure, the more of it you will absorb. And because these watches press straight into your skin, it’s no surprise that many believe the absorption rate will be particularly high.

To better understand these concerns, let’s take a closer look at how this radiation can enter and affect the body.

For starters, keep in mind that there are two main concerns you should have when judging radiation levels: the amount of radiation emitted and the amount of radiation absorbed.

It’s the latter option that should raise the most flags. Let’s see why.

When comparing your Apple Watch to your cellphone, it’s quite likely that your watch actually emits less radiation. That’s a good thing, right?

Yes and no.

Though our cell phones emit more radiation, they’re usually not glued to our sides. Even when we carry them around, for example, they may be in cases, and they remain trapped in our pockets. They may even be set aside on desks or left in another location for hours on end.

What does this mean?

In short, though the amount of radiation emitted may be higher, you may not have much direct exposure to it. And, yes, I know that some people are glued to their phones—which is a problem in and of itself.

Generally speaking, however, phones allow us to have more distance and protection than Apple Watches typically provide.

Consider it this way: when do you take your watch off? Probably only to shower and to sleep. For those concerned with Apple Watch radiation, this poses big problems.

Though the amount of radiation emitted may be lower than that in other devices, there remains one key difference. These watches are pressed directly into your skin for several hours a day—meaning that you’re much more likely to absorb the radiation.

And if you’re looking to avoid the negative consequences of radiofrequency electromagnetic wave radiation, you want to reduce the amount of it that you’re absorbing.

With this in mind, it’s easy to see why this problem proves so concerning.

If you frequently wear an Apple Watch, you may have a few questions regarding this issue. Let’s take a minute to more fully address some of the concerns you may be having.

Can the Apple Watch Cause Cancer?

apple watch radiation concerns

We’ve seen the number of different conditions that can be brought on by radiofrequency electromagnetic wave exposure.

But which of these apply to the Apple Watch—and should you fear to get the “C” word from it?

To put it bluntly, we don’t quite know yet. Because the Apple Watch remains a relatively new product, it’s difficult to get verifiable information regarding any links it may have to cancer.

With that in mind, however, it must be noted that EMF exposure has been known to cause cancer and other conditions from other devices. And currently, we have no reason to believe that being exposed to this radiation from an Apple Watch is any less severe.

That’s why I tend to side with the experts on this one. For me, the convenience of using these devices simply doesn’t outweigh the potential risks.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not suggesting that it’s so easy to stop using Apple Watches altogether. However, if you do plan on using one, make sure to take the proper precautions to cut down on your radiation exposure.

Below, I’ll tell you a few ways that you can start protecting yourself from EMF radiation.

First, however, I want to address a question that you’re all probably asking.

If This Radiation is So Dangerous, Why Hasn’t Anyone Done Anything About It?

The short answer is, they have.

Though it may seem like the government has done little in protecting consumers, countries worldwide have established regulations in regard to EMF radiation.

These regulations limit the amount of radiation that a single device can emit. The goal of these regulations is to ensure that users aren’t exposed to more radiation than is safe for them.

It’s worth noting that many experts agree that this radiation exposure doesn’t pose any danger in moderation. However, defining where this line is has proven to be a bit controversial.

So what type of government measures are in place to make sure that consumers like us are protected?

Specific Absorption Rates (SAR)

The most important regulations in place to protect consumers against RF radiation require companies to report Specific Absorption Rates. These rates refer to the amount of RF waves that a person will absorb by using a particular device.

Read my article on SAR of smartphones in 2019 

Currently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates SAR exposure. Devices are not allowed to exceed 1.6W/kg; this measure is done to help protect consumers from being exposed to more RF than is safe.

The good news is that all Apple Watches from every series fall into acceptable ranges of RF radiation according to FCC standards. Below, I’ll list the SAR for different Apple Watches—this information can also be obtained through Apple, as the company is required to report this data.

That being said, however, I want to first note that SAR remains controversial as a method of protecting consumers. As others have noted, it’s possible that up to 75% of cell phones may exceed these FCC standards—and nothing is being done about it.

This means that the SAR from your Apple Watch may also be higher. How can that be?

Studies have shown that the methods used to test for RF emissions in mobile devices allow up to a 30% margin of error. This means that some devices that are reported to fall into acceptable ranges actually may not. This, however, remains pure speculation—as all current data contradicts this notion.

So should you trust SAR reports? Generally speaking, many experts agree that they are probably accurate for the general population.

However, studies have also shown that there are others who may be more susceptible to RF radiation. For this reason, you may want to be more cautious of SAR levels if you or your loved ones fall into the following categories:

1. You’re Pregnant

Though many experts agree that EMF radiation poses no significant risk to women who are pregnant, you may want to take extra caution anyway. I’ve talked about this in detail in this article.

This proves especially true if you distrust SAR ratings. As we will see, children prove unable to tolerate as high levels of radiation as adults—this means that radiation levels in some devices may be too high for women who are pregnant.

Couple this with the fact that even some devices that are reported safe may not really be, and you can see why some recommend pregnant women take extra caution.

2. You’re a Child or Have Children

Think twice before buying your young child a new Apple Watch.

Though an ever-increasing number of children are now using cell phones and other mobile devices, the risks of EMF radiation on children are much greater.

This means that while an Apple Watch may make for a cool present on Christmas, it might not be the safest investment for your child.


Research has shown the softer brains of children make them much more susceptible to radiation. This means that they will absorb more radiation than adults. For this reason, Apple Watches and other mobile devices can prove particularly dangerous for children.

I want to take a moment to pause here to highlight again one of the most important considerations you should keep in mind. Remember when I said it’s not as much about the radiation generated as it is the amount absorbed?

That’s still true.

That’s why it can be difficult providing accurate SAR information for the general population. Several factors can influence just how much radiation is being absorbed. Those with metal fillings in their bodies, for instance, may absorb more radiation than the average Joe.

Because of this, make sure that you have an understanding of your situation. If you are at a particular risk of absorbing more radiation than others, you’ll want to take more precautions—and you’ll want to act quickly.

Finally, note that other factors can influence the specific absorption rate of a device. The more wireless connections you have going, the higher the absorption rate will be. If you’ve got Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on, for instance, its SAR will go up.

For this reason, it can be difficult to calculate just how much at risk you are while using your device. But don’t let that discourage you.

If you’re looking to protect yourself against some of the harmful effects of EMF radiation, I’ve got you covered. Check out the guide below to ensure that you’re decreasing as much radiation absorption from your Apple Watch as possible.

How Can I Protect Myself from Apple Watch Radiation?

Apple Watch Radiation protection

Want to cut down on your radiation exposure? Implement the following strategies in your daily routine!

1. Put Your Device on Airplane Mode

One of the most effective strategies to cut back on EMF radiation exposure is to put your device on airplane mode. 

By doing so, you can drastically reduce the amount of radiation your device emits. I often use this with my own devices so that I can make sure that I’m reducing my absorption rate as much as possible.

Just keep in mind that when in airplane mode, you won’t be able to use a number of your watch’s features. For this reason, make sure that you only put it there when you aren’t expecting anything important.

Also read: Do Smartphones On Airplane Mode Emit Radiation?

2. Take It Off Before Sleeping

Though this may seem like a no-brainer, I felt it’s worth mentioning because a lot of people don’t take their watches off before bed.

I’ve noticed that many people like to use certain apps to track their fitness and sleeping patterns. And while I think their concern for their health is great, increasing their EMF radiation exposure is pretty counterintuitive.

That’s why I agree with experts that you should take your watch off before bed. Remember that your watch’s direct contact with your skin makes it all-the-more insidious in terms of its SAR, so remove as much contact as possible.

3. Invest in an Apple Watch Radiation Blocker

Finally, if you’re really worried about radiation, invest in an Apple Watch radiation blocker. These devices are portable and can be used to shield your skin from harmful EMF radiation.

Radiation blockers have become popular for many iPhone and cell phone users. Unfortunately, the Apple Watch radiation blocker market isn’t quite as expansive, but there are some solid options out there for those serious enough to find them.

Apple Watch SAR Values

So what are the given SAR values for current Apple Watch models? A quick survey of Apple’s website provides detailed radiation information.

Let’s go over this information for each Apple Watch model so you can better understand these popular devices and any potential effects they may have on your health.

According to Apple’s official website, all models were tested via simulation while performing at the highest transmission levels.

For head use, testers kept the watch at an even 10mm distance from the head; for wrist use, the watches were placed directly on wrists. This means that, in order for these numbers to hold up, users should use their Apple Watches at the same distances.

Generally, Apple’s calculated SAR values go by watts/kilogram over x number of grams of tissue. The tech giant’s official website states that acceptable SAR values meet or fall below 1.6-2 watts per kilogram measured across one gram of tissue (or ten grams, if two watts) for head use and 4 watts per kilogram measured across ten grams of tissue for wrist use.

Knowing this, let’s take a look at how these watches performed and examine specific SAR information for each model.

Radiation From Apple Watch Series 1

Apple Watch Series 1 boasts two models: Model A1802 and Model A1803. Specifically, Model A1802 refers to the smaller, 38mm option, and Model A1803 refers to the larger 42mm option.

For Model A1802, Apple lists the following SAR limits:

  • 1.6W/kg (over 1g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.210
  • 2.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.041
  • 4.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Wrist value of 0.018

For Model A1803, Apple gives the following SAR limits:

  • 1.6W/kg (over 1g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.169
  • 2.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.057
  • 4.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Wrist value of 0.018

Both models then, follow under acceptable SAR limits—at least according to Apple.

Radiation From Apple Watch Series 2

Apple Watch Series 2 offers consumers the following four models: A1757 and A1816 (38mm) and A1758 and A1817 (42mm). Below are the SAR limits for each of these four models.

For Models A1757 and A1816, the following SAR limits are given by Apple:

  • 1.6W/kg (over 1g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.175
  • 2.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.056
  • 4.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Wrist value of 0.049

For Models A1758 and A1817, Apple provides the following SAR limits:

  • 1.6W/kg (over 1g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.182
  • 2.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.058
  • 4.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Wrist value of 0.054

According to the data, all four models fall within acceptable SAR limits.

Radiation From Apple Watch Series 3

Apple Watch Series 3 saw the introduction of several new cellular and GPS models. A full list of the products can be found here. For the interests of this post, let’s examine the SAR limits for the following three cellular models: A1860, A1889, and A1890.

For Model A1860, Apple gives the following SAR limits:

  • 1.6W/kg (over 1g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.53
  • 2.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.04
  • 4.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Wrist value of 0.18

For Model A1889, the following SAR limits are given by Apple:

  • 1.6W/kg (over 1g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.29
  • 2.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.14
  • 4.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Wrist value of 0.15

For Model A1890, Apple provides the following SAR limits:

  • 1.6W/kg (over 1g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.16
  • 2.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.14
  • 4.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Wrist value of 0.14

From the given data, all Series 3 Apple Watches possess acceptable SAR values.

Radiation From Apple Watch Series 4

Apple Watch Series 4 introduced six new models. Let’s cover the most popular cellular models here: Models A1976, A2008, A1975, and A2007.

For Model A1976, Apple lists the following SAR limits:

  • 1.6W/kg (over 1g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.25
  • 2.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.22
  • 4.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Wrist value of 0.36

For Model A2008, the following SAR limits are given by Apple:

  • 1.6W/kg (over 1g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.36
  • 2.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.22
  • 4.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Wrist value of 0.36

For Model A1975, Apple provides the following SAR limits:

  • 1.6W/kg (over 1g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.25
  • 2.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.27
  • 4.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Wrist value of 0.34

For Model A2007, the following SAR limits are provided by Apple:

  • 1.6W/kg (over 1g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.37
  • 2.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Head value of 0.27
  • 4.0W/kg (over 10g) SAR Limit for a Wrist value of 0.26

Per the data, all Series 4 Apple Watch models possess acceptable SAR values.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, while I am guilty of enjoying the ease and convenience of technology myself, I recognize the potentially dangerous side effects its radiation can cause.

Because the Apple Watch emits much of the same harmful radiation as mobile phones, it’s important that you take the right steps to protect your health. This proves especially true when considering the fact that Apple Watches directly expose your skin to constant radiation emission.

Keep the information from this guide in mind as you look to cut down on your radiation exposure. By using the information and taking the measures outlined above, you can better protect you and your loved ones from unfortunate health risks.

Thanks for reading. Before you go, check out my recommended products for EMF radiation protection.