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Apple has recently launched a new double-tap gesture for its Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. Although primarily designed for more recent models, users of older Apple Watch models can also enjoy this feature. Here’s how to unlock and use it.
Understanding the Double-Tap Gesture
With the new double-tap gesture, you can easily control the primary button of any application. The response it triggers depends on the function the app developer has linked to the main button.
Compatibility of the Double-Tap Gesture
While Apple claims this feature is exclusively for watches with the S9 processor running watchOS 10, the good news is it’s also compatible with Apple Watch Series 4 and later due to the AssistiveTouch gestures in watchOS 8 and 9.
Applications of the Double-Tap Gesture
The double-tap gesture provides diverse functionality:
- Start and halt timers
- Answer and terminate FaceTime calls
- Manage notifications
- Begin and finish workouts
- Capture photos
- Turn off alarms
- Control music
- Switch between maps and navigation
The gesture also has functionalities on the watch face, like opening a widget selection or scrolling through widgets without touching the watch screen.
Setting Up the Double-Tap Gesture
- Access Settings on Your Apple Watch: Open the Settings app on your watch.
- Navigate to Accessibility: Scroll through the list and choose “Accessibility”.
- Select AssistiveTouch: Within this, tap the AssistiveTouch option to enable it. A confirmation will be required.
- Customize Gestures: Head to “Hand Gestures” and tweak the settings per your preference. You can also view tutorials for available gestures.
- Voice Command: For convenience, you can also activate or deactivate AssistiveTouch using Siri.
Here is a complete video tutorial:
Using Gestures to Navigate Your Watch
Once you’ve enabled AssistiveTouch:
- Touch: Tap your thumb with your index finger to navigate to the next item.
- Double-tap: Use your index finger to double-tap your thumb for going to the previous item.
- Squeeze: Make a fist for selection.
- Double Squeeze: Squeeze your hand twice rapidly to access a menu of options, such as swiping or using the Digital Crown.
Demystifying Apple’s Promotion Strategy
Apple’s aggressive marketing of the double-tap feature might appear to present an old feature as new. Some speculate this approach could be to familiarize users with hand gestures for future products like the Vision Pro.
It’s essential to remember that hand gestures on the Apple Watch were first introduced with watchOS 8 and further enhanced in watchOS 9. These gestures utilize machine learning to decode the movement of your muscles and tendons, resulting in functionalities like the double-tap gesture.
Why Apple Emphasizes the S9 Processor
The Apple S9 processor’s Neural Engine processes machine learning tasks at double the speed of its predecessor in the Apple Watch Series 8. Apple’s new double-tap feature capitalizes on this efficiency using a revamped algorithm that detects subtle wrist motions and blood flow changes. Apple’s focus on this might be attributed to this processor’s enhanced speed and power efficiency.
With this knowledge, you can now effectively use the double-tap gesture on your older Apple Watch models and get the best out of your device.