Hand gestures: Set up double-tap on older Apple Watch models

Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 “Double tap” with thumb and index finger was also introduced for one-handed control of the clocks. But did you know that previous generations of Apple smartwatches have long been able to be controlled with gestures? And that you don't have to do that at all Watch 10 needs? Here you will learn how to use the Apple Watch's operating aid called AssistiveTouch to use finger gestures and clenching your fist on the watch's arm to operate it.

Double tap without Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2: With the “AssistiveTouch” operating aid, you can also use gesture control on the Apple Watch Ultra (2022), the Apple Watch Series 8, Series 7, and so on.
Double tap without Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2: With the “AssistiveTouch” operating aid, you can also use gesture control on the Apple Watch Ultra (2022), the Apple Watch Series 8, Series 7, and so on.

AssistiveTouch: Set up Double Tap on older Apple Watch

To get started with finger and hand gestures, you first have to activate the corresponding functions on the Apple Watch. This can be done via the device settings and in the “Accessibility” submenu. Here's how to do it in detail:

  1. Opens the Settings on your Apple Watch
  2. Type in the Accessibility an
  3. Select the item from their list AssistiveTouch off (activate function)
  4. Use the “Try it out” option to get an introduction to the option
  5. (Alternatively, you can use Siri or iPhone to activate AssistiveTouch)

Standard gestures for one-handed control of Apple Watch

After activating gesture control on the Apple Watch, you can use a few standard gestures that are preset for operating menus and apps. These are listed below. If you don't like them, you can read how to individualize them under the next subheading.

  • Tap (pinch and quickly merge your thumb and index finger): Move to the next item in the list/menu
  • Double-tap (push thumb and index finger apart and together twice): Go to the previous item in the list/menu
  • Clench your fist (extend your fingers and then bring them to your palm): Use/tap the currently selected element
  • Clench your fist twice (extend your finger twice and then bring it to your palm): Display the AssistiveTouch accessibility contextual actions menu

Double-tap and more: Customize Apple Watch AssistiveTouch

Just like activating the operating assistance, individual gestures can also be adjusted for individually selected actions via the watchOS settings or via the Watch app on the iPhone. Here are the step-by-step instructions:

  1. Opens the Settings the Apple Watch
  2. Choose in it Accessibility from
  3. Then type again AssistiveTouch an
  4. Now open in this menu Hand gestures
  5. Tap the individual gestures and assign the desired actions to them (e.g. use double tap instead of clenching your fist to “tap” elements).

Further details from Apple Support

This article is intended to make it easier for you to get started with gesture control on the Apple Watch and to use the double-tap feature on older watch models. No claim is made to completeness, which is why I would like to refer to the Apple support document at this point HT212760 would like to refer. There you will find even more tips and instructions for using AssistiveTouch on the Apple Watch. In addition to the basics shown above, it also covers specific areas such as changing the Visual feedback color (or its deactivation), automatic scrolling (“Scanning”) menus and lists, use of Apple Pay, using the motion pointer, and more!

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.