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.
Many people ask me whether they can take an Apple Watch into a sauna. And, unfortunately, the answer is almost always “no”. While Apple Watches do have minimal protection against daytime water exposure, such as rain, the combination of humidity and hot temperatures make the sauna a potentially deadly combination to your Apple Watch.
In this blog post, I’ll break down my answer to the question “Can you take an Apple Watch into a sauna” step by step. I’ll tell you what temperatures most saunas get up to and whether an Apple Watch in a sauna makes sense. I’ll also give you some solutions later on in the blog post.
Before we begin, after reading this blog, you may want to check out some similar blogs that cover related topics.
First off, the Apple Watch waterproof guarantee - how far does that guarantee take you? Many definitions exist here that don’t even mean the same thing, such as “water resistant”, “waterproof”, and so forth.
Here’s an example:
Sure, you might be able to wear a Rolex watch in your shower. But what about if you’re deep sea diving - in that case, the risk of damage to your watch is extremely high.
What if I told you there are many different waterproof standards (1; 2; 3; 4)? Now technically, Apple Watches are water resistant or “waterproof”. But, as you now understand, I’ll have to deconstruct what that term means in the current context.
Then there’s the topic of Apple Watches. Not all Apple Watches are the same. Let’s explore that topic further:
Different Apple Watches And The Apple Watch History Of Water Resistance
The Apple Watch is produced, as the name says, by the US company Apple. The Apple Watch evolves technically constantly, and new versions hit the market regularly (4; 5). And now more than 100 million people wear an Apple Watch worldwide.
It all started with the first Apple Watch released in 2015. The very first Apple Watch wasn’t even water resistant though. So even the slightest amount of exposure to the rain or splashing water beside a pool could damage your Apple Watch if it hits the product in the wrong area.
That first iteration called the “Apple Watch Zero”, had to be taken off when you went showering or when it was raining outdoors. So it was a bit like most smartphones that you ideally don’t want to expose to water.
Right now, we’ve progressed all the way to the Apple Watch 8, Apple Watch SE and the Apple Watch Ultra. Almost every year, a new Apple Watch Iteration hits the market. We had the Apple Watch 1 in 2016, the Apple Watch 4 in 2018, and in 2023, there’s lots of speculation that the Apple Watch 9 is being built.
During that development process, many new features were added, such as sleep, workout, steps, heart rate tracking, the ability to install apps, GPS, and so forth. So technologically, the Apple Watch has become far more complex.
Now here’s the deal with different Apple Watches. Officially, the first two models, the Apple Watch Zero and Apple Watch 1, were splash resistant. But, you couldn’t take those watches with you into the shower, for instance, or swim with them.
The newer models, from the Apple Watch 3 to the Apple Watch 8, accord with the ISO 22810:2010 water resistance standard. The ISO is simply an international organisation that manages standards. This water resistance standard entails that you can swim with the Apple Watch 3 to 8 in shallow depth.
So, if you plunge into a pool while on vacation to the tropics, your Apple Watch 8 survives. But if you go deep sea diving to a depth of 100 metres, you’ll have to buy a new unit. So context matters here.
The only exception here is the newer Apple Watch 8 Ultra, the most premium model sold to date. As a result, you can dive up to a depth of 40 metres with the Apple Watch 8.
So, all good and well, right? Because of the heat and moisture, you should be fine with an Apple Watch inside a sauna. Well, not so fast. Saunas, such as a Finnish Sauna or steam room, aren’t just humid, they’re also frequently extremely hot. And those high temperatures create another problem for Apple Watches.
Apple Watches And Temperature
Did you ever take your smartphone with you to the beach on a hot summer day? You might have learned that if you kept the phone in the sand, in direct sunlight, it would eventually shut off. You then had to put the phone inside the fridge to let it cool off to start working again.
Here’s the deal:
Most modern technology doesn’t like high temperatures. Your laptop, smartphone, or Apple Watch are made to perform well at 0 degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit), 10 degrees Celsius (50F), and even 25 degrees Celsius (77F). But once you go over 30 degrees Celsius, problems start to emerge (86F). And over 35 degrees Celsius (95F), many devices simply start to shut down because they don’t work anymore.
Here’s what Apple states about this principle (6):
“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).”
These temperature maximums can be stretched a little for the more premium Apple Watch Ultra. When you’re wearing the Apple Watch Ultra, temperatures can even be slightly higher. And when you’re charging that Ultra model, temperatures need to be closer to an average room temperature.
So not anything goes. Heat will make your Apple Watch perform worse and can even damage it permanently. Let’s explore what happens to your Apple Watch when you overheat it:
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Can You Wear An Apple Watch Into A Sauna?
Finally, I can answer the question “Can you wear an Apple Watch in a sauna?” I’ll talk about three different cases here - the traditional sauna, an infrared sauna, and a steam room. If you’re curious about this topic, I’ve written several blogs on them, such as on infrared sauna temperature and how hot is a sauna.
First up, traditional saunas and their relationship to the Apple Watch:
Wearing An Apple Watch In A Traditional Sauna
Traditional saunas can reach temperatures of up to 100 degrees Celsius (212F). Sauna competitions use temperatures of 110 to 115 degrees Celsius (230 - 239F) (7; 8).
The regular Apple Watch is made to work in ambient temperatures of just 35 degrees Celsius. And the maximum recommended temperature is just 45 degrees Celsius. Also, if you’ve got an Apple Watch Ultra, the maximum temperature while wearing it is 55 degrees Celsius.
Even assuming you’ve got a relatively normal traditional sauna temperature, the numbers just don’t add up. A regular dry sauna or Finnish sauna temperature might be 70 or 80 degrees Celsius (158 - 176F). Those saunas are thus 15 degrees Celsius too hot at the very least, assuming you’ve got an Ultra model.
Also, some traditional saunas, like Finnish saunas, will create lots of humidity. As water is thrown on either hot stones or stones heated by electricity, that water is released into the air. As a result, you’ll also end up with tons of humidity.
And, as you might know, heat is transferred much quicker if humidity levels are high in an environment. The human body can withstand very high or very low temperatures much better if the humidity is low. But with high humidity, very high or very low temperatures become a different beast altogether.
That’s because humidity measures the water content that’s subsumed into the air. Water conducts heat about 30 times as quickly as air (a gas). So the higher the humidity levels, the faster heat is transferred.
Humidity also has enormous implications for your Apple Watch. In areas with higher humidity, exceeding the recommended lowest and highest temperatures start to make a difference very quickly.
And, the phone also indirectly gets more exposure to water because of high humidity. At 15 degrees Celsius, that humidity might not really matter but at very high temperatures, the equation totally changes.
Let’s now explore what happens to your Apple Watch when you use it in a Finnish Sauna at 80 degrees Celsius:
What Happens To An Apple Watch In Extreme Heat? And What Happens To An Apple Watch When It’s Overheated?
There are two main phases of overheating for your Apple Watch. That overheating will happen when you keep it in warmer temperatures than 35 or 45 degrees Celsius for the regular Apple Watches and more than 55 degrees Celsius when wearing an Apple Watch Ultra.
In the first stage of overheating, your Apple Watch will simply work less well (6):
The Apple Watch slows down, and apps won’t work as well as normal. Apps might even close down
The screen might lose brightness
You may no longer receive or carry out phone calls
The WiFi connection may no longer work properly
Other signs of non-functioning will appear
If you’re in this stage, it’s a warning sign. You’ll want to remove the Apple Watch from the heat as quickly as possible. The reason is that permanent damage may occur if you continue using the Apple Watch in high heat.
Finally, if you continue to use the Apple Watch in high heat (or frigid temperatures, such as during ice baths), it will eventually completely shut down. If that ever happens, you can do the following things:
Remove the Apple Watch from your hand or the charger
Put the Apple Watch in a place that has a regular room temperature
After you’ve cooled down the Apple Watch, you can continue to charge it again if necessary
Of course, sometimes, the overheating occurs unwittingly. You may have left your Apple Watch in a hot car and went for shopping. Or you may have kept the Apple Watch on during your sauna visit, unaware that doing so can damage the product permanently.
Doing so may affect the warranty, which differs per Apple Watch type (11). Hence, I strongly recommend against using an Apple Phone in a Finnish sauna. You could damage your phone in minutes as the air temperatures are much higher than recommended.
Wearing An Apple Watch In An Infrared Sauna
Next up, let’s consider infrared saunas. Infrared saunas regularly have temperatures of 45 to 60 degrees Celsius (9; 10). Humidity levels are generally low, though, which is a big plus.
Nevertheless, I would still strongly recommend against using an Apple Watch in the sauna. Several reasons exist for this statement.
First off, the maximum temperatures of the infrared sauna already exceed the maximum recommended temperature of the Apple Watch that is made to withstand most heat: the Ultra.
Secondly, while the air temperature or humidity of the infrared sauna might not be super high, there’s another factor playing a massive role: infrared heat. Infrared saunas emit infrared light/heat (those terms are almost interchangeable from a physics perspective). That heat then enters many objects and heats them from the inside out. That principle resembles a microwave - microwaves don’t rely on hot air for heating objects either.
Different objects are affected differently by infrared light. Nonetheless, assuming that the Apple Watch doesn’t reflect all infrared light, it at least gets heated much quicker than in a typical 45-60 degree Celsius environment (113 - 140F).
Simply put, your Apple Watch may be waterproof. But waterproof tells you nothing about how the Apple Watch functions in a dry infrared sauna. The phone is still likely to damage, so I recommend keeping it out.
Next up, another question many people ask me:
Wearing An Apple Watch In A Steam Room
Steam rooms have maximum temperatures of 40 - 45 degrees Celsius (104 - 113F). So you may think: “Neat, then I can just use a steam room and enjoy my Apple Watch in there.”
Not so fast.
Even though the temperature is not extremely high in a steam room, the humidity is. And as I stated before, the conductivity of water is 30+ times that of air. That’s why you cool down much more quickly in cold water than in cold air of the same temperature.
And if there’s more water in that air, the heat conductivity will be much quicker. And for your Apple Watch, that means that it can overheat exceptionally quickly, even though the steam room temperature isn’t that high.
So here, too, I recommend simply not taking the risk. It’s not worth your watch shutting down and potentially being permanently damaged, and you lose out on the limited Apple Watch warranty.
Also, the additional humidity adds another level of complexity to the equation. Apple’s Guidelines for the Apple Watch state that you cannot expose it to water temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (6). And, even though steam rooms don’t expose your watch to liquid water, it does expose it to water above 40 degrees Celsius as a gas. So there’s an additional risk here that Apple itself describes.
Which brings me to my next point:
Can I Wear An Apple Watch In A Hot Tub?
Hot tubs have maximum temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius (12). So at first thought, you may think: “Great, then I can use my Apple watch in a hot tub as it can withstand temperatures of up to 45 degrees”
Once again, not so fast…
The maximum temperatures Apple talks about are ambient. And in the case of the Apple Watch Ultra, it’s a maximum water temperature of 40 degrees Celsius (104F). And then, you’re already at the maximum temperature recommended, and most people don’t even have an Apple Watch Ultra.
So if a hot tub is 40 degrees Celsius, almost all Apple Watch models have already exceeded the maximum recommended temperature and will shut down. Also, let’s assume that the water temperature is only 37 degrees Celsius. Are you willing to risk using that Apple Watch in a hot tub?
In almost all cases, unless you’ve validated that the water temperature is 25 degrees Celsius or milder, it’s not worth using an Apple watch in hot water. So using that device in a hot tub isn’t recommended.
Remember that water conducts heat quicker than air. So if you’re overheating your Apple Watch, the damage will be done quickly. Hence, don’t do it.
Finally, let’s consider some frequently asked questions on this topic:
Frequently Asked Questions: Other Cases Of Using An Apple Watch In A Sauna And Related Questions
Lastly, let’s consider a few common questions many people have concerning whether you can take an Apple Watch into a sauna. Here’s one very frequently asked question:
Can I Take My iPhone In The Sauna?
The answer will be the same as for the Apple Watch here. Apple has a clear policy about using an iPhone in hot environments (13; 14). With iPhone use, the ambient temperature can be as high as 35 degrees Celsius (95F). And if you’re not using the iPhone, the maximum temperature is 45 degrees Celsius (113F).
Those numbers are very close to the maximum temperature an Apple Watch should be exposed to. So, whether it’s a steam room, an infrared sauna, or a Finnish sauna, all of these will cause problems for your phone in minutes. Of course, the hot tub is even worse, as your phone might break down entirely if you expose it to water.
Conclusion? Keep your iPhone out of any sauna or steam room. If not, your phone will soon shut down and be permanently damaged.
Can I Wear My Apple Watch While Sweating?
Sure, you can wear an Apple Watch during athletic activities. It’s even recommended to use an Apple Watch during that time. Over time, more and more features have been added to the Apple Watch that make it a fantastic tool for monitoring how you’re doing during a workout.
For instance, the Apple Watch automatically notices when you start working out. You can also manually track your workouts, see your oxygen saturation, follow your heart rate throughout your workout, and more.
A little bit of sweat isn’t going to give issues to the water resistance and even waterproof nature of the Apple Watch. Why? Simple: If you can swim with an Apple Watch in the sea or ocean, a little sweating isn’t damaging it.
So, sweat during a workout is harmless for the Apple Watch. Sweating during sauna sessions isn’t recommended because of the room temperature, not the
What Temperature Can Apple Watch Withstand?
The most recent Apples Watches 3 to Apple Watches 7 are water resistant and work well with temperatures of up to 35 degrees Celsius. You can store these watches in temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius max.
For the Apple Watch 8 Ultra, that number goes up to 10 degrees Celsius. Anything that approximates these temperatures, especially with high humidity, can slow down your Apple Watch or temporarily stop it from working.
So, a hot car during the summer day or leaving your Apple Watch in the sand on the beach can already be excessive for it. Hence, be careful in hot environments like saunas as they might permanently damage your watch.
Is It Okay To Wear A Watch In A Sauna?
Sure, you can wear a watch inside a sauna. Just make sure it’s not an Apple Watch - the rest of this article has explicitly argued that Apple Watches cannot withstand the heat of every sauna type.
A sauna that works on purely mechanical principles, such as a Rolex, can easily be used inside a sauna. The Rolex watches are made for extreme wear and tear and don’t contain any electronics.
A bigger problem will be whether you can withstand the Rolex on your wrist, as the metal conducts heat exceptionally well. The Rolex may thus become hot and become unbearable around your wrist.
Overall, watches that don’t contain any electronics will generally do well inside a sauna. Watches that do contain electronics aren’t recommended. Unless you’ve got electronics made explicitly for extreme temperatures, you must check in the instruction manual.
Is 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 I don’t recommend taking an iPhone into an infrared sauna.
Can You Use Electronics In An Infrared Sauna?
I don’t recommend taking electronics inside an infrared sauna. Unless electronic equipment is specifically made to withstand extreme temperatures, you’d better not use it inside an infrared sauna.
This holds true for televisions, radios, smartphones, speaker sets, and anything you can imagine. Often, the combination of humidity and hot temperatures damages any electronic equipment.
And, the good news is that all of our infrared sauna models come with built-in speakers and Bluetooth. For you, that means that you can always listen to your favourite music during your sauna sessions.
It’s better not to install such products into your sauna yourself. For instance, speakers often cannot withstand humidity or extreme temperatures. It’s therefore extremely likely that speakers get damaged when exposed to such conditions.
What about television? You could install a television inside a sauna. But, you’d need to shield that television from the high temperatures and/or find a model that can withstand the heat that televisions usually aren’t exposed to.
Can You Take An Apple Watch Into The Sauna, Even If You Don’t Wear It?
When you don’t use your Apple Watch, technically, it can withstand higher temperatures. So your Apple Watch can withstand higher temperatures when it’s just lying around compared to when it’s charging or when you’re heavily using it.
Nevertheless, even if you don’t use your Apple Watch, the maximum temperature the device is recommended to be exposed to is still 45 degrees Celsius. That temperature is far too low for most infrared and traditional saunas. Even steam rooms that reach that 45-degree Celsius threshold likely damage your Apple Watch.
And an even more critical question is this: If you’re not using your Apple Watch, why do you want it lying around in a sauna anyway? In that case, you could better leave it out, as there’s no benefit to having an Apple Watch there if you’re not using it anyway.
But My Apple Watch Stainless Steel Construction Should Protect It From Damage, Not?
Sure, stainless steel construction is excellent for a sauna. Unfortunately, it’s just the case that’s made from stainless steel (15). The electronics inside the Apple Watch aren’t made from stainless steel. And therefore, the electronics are at risk when exposed to extreme heat and/or humidity.
Again, the only way to protect a watch is if all or most of its parts are made from stainless steel or other metals, and there are no electronics inside. With electronics - lots of electronics, even with the Apple Watch - you will damage it when exposed to these extreme conditions.
Of course, the same is true for any device containing electronics.
How Does The Apple Watch Water Resistance Relate To Overheating?
Water resistance or waterproofing is an entirely different thing than the ability to withstand temperature. Devices can be waterproof and yet not deal with temperature, or vice versa. In the case of the Apple Watch, you can expose it to water in most cases, but not to temperatures that are too far out of the ordinary.
So, 50 degrees Celsius or 80 degrees Celsius will damage your Apple Watch. However, swimming with an Apple Watch 3 or higher won’t damage the product.
Conclusion: Under No Circumstance Is Apple Watch Safe In Saunas
Sometimes the truth is simple. In this case, no matter what circumstance - whether it’s a steam bath, hot tub, or Finnish sauna - will your Apple Watch be safe. So keep the Apple Watch outside the sauna until you’re done with your session, and then return to wearing it.
I wish my message were different, but it isn’t…
However, the Apple Watch after the third generation will be waterproof with everyday use. Unless you’re deep diving, the Apple Watch should withstand water exposure. Sweating or working out hard with your Apple Watch (outside a sauna or hot tub) should be fine too.