How to Use the Double Tap Gesture on Any Apple Watch

Double Tap is one of the best features of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Series 9. You can pinch your thumb and index finger to navigate in watchOS when your other hand is occupied. But did you know you can perform this gesture on older Apple Watch models?



That’s right; you don’t need to purchase the Apple Watch Series 9 or the Ultra 2 to try this feature out. While the methods below aren’t exactly the same as the Double Tap feature Apple advertises, it’s a great way to experience what the feature is like.

Using Double Tap With AssistiveTouch

While AssistiveTouch is a feature primarily designed for individuals with limb differences, it’s undeniably a convenient tool if your hands are full. Due to its target audience, it’s much more customizable than Double Tap, allowing you to control your watch using arm movements and gestures.

It leverages your Apple Watch’s gyroscope, optical heart rate sensor, and accelerometer. To use AssistiveTouch, your Apple Watch must be running watchOS 8 or later. Here’s how to use Double Tap by enabling AssistiveTouch on the Apple Watch:

  1. Begin by launching the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
  2. Scroll down and tap Accessibility.
  3. Now, scroll down to the Motor section and tap AssistiveTouch.
  4. Toggle on AssistiveTouch and make sure the Hand Gestures setting right below is enabled as well.

enabling assitive touch in apple watch

Once you’ve enabled Hand Gestures, you can customize what the following gestures do: Pinch, Double Pinch, Clench, and Couble Clench. Before you begin using one of these gestures, there’s an Activation Gesture you must do to activate it.

While it’s set to Double Clench by default, you can customize it by scrolling down to the Activation Gesture setting in the Hand Gestures menu. If you’d prefer to use these gestures without an Activation Gesture, you can disable it by tapping None.

Using Double Tap With Quick Actions

Another way to use Double Tap on an older Apple Watch is by enabling Quick Actions, a feature that allows you to perform certain tasks by pinching two fingers together.

Although this feature sounds similar to AssistiveTouch, it’s a comparatively simplified version of it as it allows you to control your Apple Watch with one gesture only. However, this simplicity makes it more similar to the Double Tap feature.

To enable Quick Actions on your Apple Watch, go to Settings > Accessibility > Quick Actions. Tap On to begin using the feature.

enabling quick actions in apple watch

Try Out Double Tap Right Away

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you can’t touch your Apple Watch’s screen, both the methods above help you interact with your wearable using simple hand gestures.

While AssistiveTouch and Quick Actions are great ways to control your Apple Watch with simple hand gestures, they aren’t as reliable as the Double Tap feature. We’ve noticed that the Double Tap feature is more robust due to the powerful S9 chip in the 2023 Apple Watch models.

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