Double-tap gesture in Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Apple Watch Series 9 offers a new way to control the smartwatches

Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 at the “Wonderlust” event on September 12. The 2023 smartwatches offer a new double-tap gesture that allows users to quickly access their favorite features with their watch hand.

Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 have a new double-tap gesture for easy access to favorite features


New double-tap gesture is also useful for people who have difficulty using the touchscreen or Digital Crown

According to Apple, the double-tap gesture is a new and easiest way to interact with the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Series 9. They only have to double-tap their index and thumb fingers together on their watch hand to carry out a variety of actions.

For example, users can use it to answer a call, start a timer, or activate a shortcut that they use often like the Workout app without using their other hand, touching the screen, and turning the Digital Crown.

It is a useful feature for anyone who has both hands occupied with work like baking, cycling, running, swimming, typing, and other activities. It is also very helpful for users with visual impairment who cant use the touch screen properly or have difficulty using the Digital Crown. 

How to customize the double-tap gesture on Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Apple Watch Series 9

The default actions for the double-tap gesture are to answer a call or end a call, but users can customize it to do other things, such as:

  • Open the Timer app
  • Start a workout
  • Play or pause music
  • Open the Camera app
  • Launch a specific app

Furthermore, users can customize the double-tap gesture to perform any of these actions via the Settings > Accessibility > Double Tap

They can also change the double-tap speed by tapping the double-click Speed button. The default speed is Normal, but users can also choose Slow or Fast.

Details on the functionality of the double-tap gesture

  • It uses three sensors — gyroscope, accelerometer, and optical heart rate sensor — plus machine learning to understand when the wearer is actively tapping two fingers together.
  • The gyroscope and accelerometer have been trained to understand the subtle movements of the arm when performing a double tap action, and the optical heart rate sensor picks up the minuscule changes in our arm’s blood flow when tapping.
  • It requires the Neural Engine S9 SIP, so older models will not be able to use it.
  • The double-tap gesture is not available on all Apple Watches. It is only available on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2.
  • The double-tap gesture is not available in all countries or regions. It will be available in select countries or regions when the software update is released later this year.

The double-tap gesture is a great way to quickly access favorite features without having to fumble with the watch’s screen. It’s especially useful when wearing gloves or when hands are wet.

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