Here’s how to use ‘Double Tap’ on your old Apple Watch

Assistive touch is like Double Tap, allowing you to single pinch, double pinch, clench and double clench to perform different actions

With the new Apple Watch Ultra 2 and the Apple Watch Series 9, Apple unveiled a new ‘Double Tap’ feature.

The feature essentially allows you to tap your index finger and thumb to launch specific actions like answering a phone call, moving through the Smart Stack, viewing messages, snoozing an alarm and more. Here’s a complete list of everything Double-Tap can do.

If you have difficulty touching the screen or pressing the buttons of your Apple Watch and want to use a feature like Double Tab but don’t own the latest Apple wearables, you might want to try AssistiveTouch, a WatchOS accessibility feature that lets you control your watch with hand gestures like Double Tap.

AssistiveTouch is compatible with Apple Watch Series 4 and later, Apple Watch SE (1st generation) and later, and Apple Watch Ultra and later. The feature essentially lets you single pinch, double pinch, clench and double clench to perform different actions.

I use the feature with my 1st-Gen Apple Watch Ultra, and it has made simple operations, like dismissing notifications, snapping photos with the camera remote app and answering calls, effortless.

There are two ways to turn on AssistiveTouch on your Apple Watch: from the watch itself or from the iPhone paired with it.

To turn on AssistiveTouch from your Apple Watch, follow these steps:

  • Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
  • Tap Accessibility, then tap AssistiveTouch.
  • Tap AssistiveTouch to toggle it on. You can also tap Try It Out to see a visual introduction.

To turn on AssistiveTouch from your iPhone, follow these steps:

Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
Tap My Watch, then tap Accessibility.
Tap AssistiveTouch, then turn on the switch for AssistiveTouch.

When you turn on AssistiveTouch, a blue ring will appear around your Apple Watch screen to indicate that the feature is active. You can change the colour of the ring as well.

By default, the pinch gestures are set as the following:

  • Single pinch: Forward
  • Double pinch: Back
  • Clench: Confirm
  • Double clench: Show the Action Menu

Learn more about the feature and other accessibility shortcuts here.

The iPhone offers a similar accessibility feature that lets you double-tap or triple-tap the Apple logo on the rear of your iPhone 8 or later released device to perform a pre-set function, such as taking a screenshot, navigating back to the home screen, pulling up  spotlight, turning on/off the flashlight and a wide range of other features.

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