The release of the watchOS 10.1 beta to developers on Wednesday brings the cool new “double tap” gesture that allows one-handed use of Apple Watch in certain cases (though it can’t be enabled yet).
In other words, it’s a way to operate the wearable without touching its screen. And once iOS 10.1 arrives in October, Apple Watch Series 9 and second-gen Apple Watch Ultra users can try it. However, even folks with older Apple Watches can try a version of it right now.
Cool new double-tap gesture comes to Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 with iOS 10.1 beta
Apple demonstrated double tap when it showcased Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 during its “Wonderlust” media event. Using the hand with the watch on the wrist, a user can tap their thumb and index finger together twice to trigger certain actions. The gesture can answer a call or cancel an alarm, for example.
“Double tap controls the primary button in an app so it can be used to stop a timer, play and pause music, or snooze an alarm,” said Apple in the Apple Watch Series 9 press release. “The gesture can be used to answer and end a phone call, and even to take a photo with the Camera Remote on Apple Watch. Double tap will also open the Smart Stack from the watch face, and another double tap will scroll through widgets in the stack.”
For the new functionality, Apple credited the new S9 chip’s improved capabilities with the ability to detect the “unique signature of tiny wrist movements and changes in blood flow when the index finger and thumb perform a double tap.”
Older version of double tap is available to all
Even if you don’t own a new Apple Watch, you can use a version of double tap on older models. It came out as an element of AssistiveTouch, released in 2021 as an accessibility feature for people with limited mobility.
It’s not exactly the same as double tap, but it’s similar. It allows you to perform actions on the watch by pinching your index finger to thumb, double-pinching in that way, or clenching your fist once or twice.
To try it, go to the Watch app on your iPhone, select Accessibility, turn on Assistive Touch and follow the prompts.