Published on November 16, 2023, 4:53 pm
The Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 have introduced a new feature called Double Tap, designed to make operating the watch easier when your hands are occupied. This gesture allows you to tap your forefinger and thumb together twice, using the same hand that your watch is on, to perform tasks without physically touching the screen or pressing the Digital Crown.
With Double Tap, you can answer calls and browse through screens with just one hand, making it a convenient feature for those times when you’re holding groceries, books, or even a dog leash. To use Double Tap, you’ll need to have either the latest Apple Watch 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2, as these models come equipped with the AI smarts of the S9 chipset required to recognize the gesture. In addition, make sure that your Apple Watch is running watchOS 10.1.
For older Apple Watch models, there is a similar feature called AssistiveTouch. This comprehensive accessibility feature allows you to control all functions of your Apple Watch with just one hand. AssistiveTouch has been available since the Apple Watch 4, including the Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2.
Once you’ve upgraded to watchOS 10.1, Double Tap will be enabled by default and ready to use. In case you ever need to turn it off, you can do so by opening the Settings app on your watch, selecting Gestures and Double Tap, and toggling off the Double Tap switch.
To activate Double Tap, lift up your Apple Watch as if checking the time. Then bring your index finger and thumb together twice quickly in succession using the hand where your watch is worn. The action triggered by this gesture depends on what’s currently on your screen—for example, answering a call or pausing a timer.
Some customizable options are available for certain functions using Double Tap: during music playback, you can choose whether a double tap pauses playback or skips to the next track; when Smart Stack widgets are displayed on screen, you can choose between advancing through the widgets or opening the first available one. To change these settings, navigate to Settings > Gestures > Double Tap on your watch.
Another option for one-handed use of the Apple Watch is AssistiveTouch, which is supported on all models since the Apple Watch 4. It’s particularly useful for individuals who may have difficulty using their other hand to operate their watch. While AssistiveTouch offers a wider range of gestures, it does require more deliberate activation and doesn’t offer the same fluidness as Double Tap.
To enable AssistiveTouch, go to Settings > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch on your Apple Watch or via the Watch app on your iPhone under Accessibility > AssistiveTouch on the My Watch tab. When activated, AssistiveTouch will display a blue ring around the screen when you raise your wrist. To activate gestures in AssistiveTouch mode, quickly clench your fist twice. This will allow you to interact with items on the screen using different gestures such as pinching and tapping.
Whether you prefer using Double Tap or AssistiveTouch, both features provide valuable options for operating your Apple Watch with just one hand. Explore these accessibility features and find which one works best for you.
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