How to Use the New Double-Tap Gesture on Your Apple Watch

by Barbara Wilson

Apple Watch has consistently pushed the boundaries of wearable technology, and the introduction of the double-tap gesture is another remarkable step in this journey. This feature enables users to interact with their Apple Watch in a more intuitive and hands-free manner, enhancing convenience and accessibility. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how to enable the new double-tap gesture on older Apple Watch models, understand which Apple Watches support this feature, and delve into mastering the art of navigating your watch using hand gestures. We’ll also take a closer look at perfecting your hand gestures, using quick actions, employing Auto Scanning with AssistiveTouch, and troubleshooting common issues to ensure a seamless experience.


1. How to Enable the New Double-Tap Gesture on Your Old Apple Watch

Turn on AssistiveTouch: The journey to unlocking the new double-tap gesture on your older Apple Watch begins by activating the AssistiveTouch feature. This can be accomplished in the Accessibility settings. To start, open the Watch app on your paired iPhone, tap on “Accessibility,” and then toggle the AssistiveTouch switch to the “On” position.


Activate the Motion Pointer: Once AssistiveTouch is enabled, you can access the new double-tap gesture. To do this, perform the default gesture of a double clench. This action activates the motion pointer, a small dot that appears on your watch screen. The motion pointer is your gateway to seamless hand gestures and navigation.


Swipe with Hot Edges: To navigate through the watch’s interface, all you need to do is swipe on the screen using the motion pointer. The watch recognizes swipe gestures from the hot edges of the screen, allowing you to scroll through menus, dismiss notifications, and interact with apps effortlessly. It’s a natural and intuitive way to engage with your watch.


2. Which Apple Watches Support the New Double-Tap Gesture

The new double-tap gesture is available on Apple Watch Series 4 and all subsequent models. If you own an Apple Watch Series 3 or earlier, you may not have access to this feature. Therefore, it’s crucial to check your watch’s compatibility before attempting to enable and use the double-tap gesture. Knowing your device’s capabilities ensures that you can make the most of the available features.

3. How to Navigate Your Old Apple Watch Using Hand Gestures

Enable Hand Gestures: While the new double-tap gesture is undeniably useful, you can further enhance your watch interaction by enabling Hand Gestures in the Accessibility settings. This feature empowers you to navigate your old Apple Watch using a variety of hand gestures, making it more versatile and accessible.

Default Gestures: Once Hand Gestures are activated, you gain access to a range of default gestures. These include pinching, double-pinching, and clenching. Each gesture serves a specific purpose in your interaction with the watch. For example, pinching gestures enable zooming in and out, while clenching can act as a confirmation or selection action.

4. How to Perfect Your Hand Gestures on Your Old Apple Watch

Interactive Animation: Mastering hand gestures requires practice, and Apple has you covered with an interactive animation. To refine your proficiency, tap “Learn more” below the Hand Gestures switch in the Accessibility settings. This action launches an interactive animation that guides you through the precise execution of each gesture. By following these visual cues and practicing regularly, you can perfect your hand gestures and enjoy a more seamless watch experience.

5. How to Use Quick Actions on Your Old Apple Watch

Responding to Alerts: Quick actions offer a swift and efficient way to respond to alerts and notifications on your old Apple Watch. These actions encompass a range of functions, such as answering incoming calls, snoozing alarms, starting workouts, or dismissing notifications. They eliminate the need to navigate through intricate menus, saving you valuable time and effort.

Settings Configuration: To make the most of quick actions, you can customize them in the Apple Watch app on your paired iPhone. This allows you to tailor the quick actions to your preferences and needs. You can choose which actions appear and determine their order, ensuring that the most frequently used actions are readily accessible.

6. How to Use Auto Scanning with AssistiveTouch on Your Old Apple Watch

Auto Scanning Functionality: Auto Scanning with AssistiveTouch is a feature designed to streamline your interaction with your old Apple Watch. It introduces an action menu that you can navigate using hand gestures, including clench and double clench gestures.

Reverse Direction: To reverse the scanning direction and cycle through available actions, perform a double clench gesture. This intuitive action simplifies the process of accessing different functionalities within the action menu. It provides a sense of control and efficiency in your watch interaction.

Perform Actions: Once you’ve selected an action using Auto Scanning, confirming it is as straightforward as performing a clench gesture. This seamless process ensures that your interactions with the watch are efficient and user-friendly. Whether you’re initiating a workout, sending a message, or accessing a specific app, Auto Scanning simplifies the experience.

7. How to Troubleshoot Issues with the New Double-Tap Gesture on Your Old Apple Watch

Check AssistiveTouch: If you encounter any issues with the new double-tap gesture, the first step in troubleshooting is to verify that the AssistiveTouch feature is turned on in the Accessibility settings of your Apple Watch. Without AssistiveTouch, the gesture will not function as intended, so it’s essential to ensure it is enabled.

Calibrate Hand Gestures: Accurate hand gesture recognition is crucial for a seamless experience. If your watch doesn’t seem to respond correctly to your gestures, revisit the calibration process in the Accessibility settings. Ensuring that your hand gestures are properly calibrated can resolve many common issues with gesture-based interactions.


The new double-tap gesture, along with hand gestures, quick actions, and Auto Scanning, revolutionizes how you interact with your Apple Watch. These features enhance accessibility and convenience, making your watch an even more integral part of your daily life. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can enable and master these capabilities on your older Apple Watch models. Whether you’re zooming in on a map, responding to notifications, or navigating the watch’s interface, these gestures and actions empower you to maximize your Apple Watch’s potential. Troubleshooting common issues ensures that your experience remains smooth and efficient, cementing your Apple Watch’s status as a valuable companion in your day-to-day activities.


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