How to Get Double Tap on Older Apple Watch Models

Without an iota of doubt, “Double Tap” is the most talked about feature of Apple Watch 9 and Watch Ultra 2. What makes it so handy is the ability to navigate the Apple Watch by just double-tapping the index finger and thumb together. For times when your hands are full, this gesture comes into play, allowing you to open a notification, answer a call, play/pause music, and more with ease. But what if you are fascinated by this all-new feature and wish to get Double Tab on your Apple Watch 8/7 or even 6? Worry not, there is a pretty neat way to use Apple Watch 9’s double tap feature on older Apple Watches. Read on to…

Use Double Tap on Apple Watch 8/Apple Watch Ultra and Even Older Watch Models

To begin with, let’s briefly understand how this handy watchOS tip works!

So, how do you activate the Double Tap gesture on the Apple Watch 8/7 and Apple Watch Ultra? 

Part of the Accessibility suite, hand gestures have existed on Apple Watch for quite some time. For all being so useful, they haven’t got much spotlight.

To replicate the Apple Watch 9’s double tap gesture, you can customize the four hand gestures such as: 

  • Pinch/Tap
  • Double Pinch/Tap
  • Clench 
  • Double clench 

Depending on your needs, you can program each gesture to activate specific features. For instance, you can pinch to go forwards, double pinch to go backwards, clench to tap, and double clench to access the action menu.

Set Up and Use Double Tap on Older Watch Models

  • To get started, launch the Watch app on your iPhone. 
  • Now, make sure that the My Watch tab is selected.
  • Tap on Accessibility
Choose Accessibility
  • Tap on AssistiveTouch.
  • Turn on the toggle next to AssistiveTouch
Turn on AssistiveTouch
  • Next, choose Hand Gestures and ensure that it’s turned on. 
  • Next up, you have four options to choose from: Pinch/Tap, Double Pinch/Tap, Clench, and Double Clench. You can use each one of these hand gestures to perform specific actions. 
  • First off, choose “Pinch/Tap” to set it up for a particular action.
  • Up next, you will get the option to choose from a list of functions that the gesture can let you perform. Choose the preferred function. 
  • Now, select the desired functions for other hand gestures as well.
Set up and use double tap on Apple Watch
  • Note that before using these hand gestures, you will need to perform the activation gesture. Though it’s set to double clench by default, you have the option to change it. To do so, tap on Activation Gesture. After that, you can change it to double pinch or completely disable it by selecting “None”. 

And that’s about it! From now onwards, you can activate the selected features through the hand gestures (you’ve programmed). 

What are the Differences Between Double Tap and Double Pinch Gestures? 

Although both the “Double Tap” and “Double Pinch” gestures are super convenient as they allow you to control the Apple Watch without needing to touch the display, the former is more versatile and deeply integrated into the system, the latter is limited to the specific functions you have chosen. 

What puts “Double Tap” ahead of the curve is that it controls the primary button in an app. As a result, it can be used for a variety of functions such as stopping a timer, playing and pausing music, capture a photo with the Camera Remote on Apple Watch, answer/end a call, snoozing an alarm, and a lot more.

Double tap is driven by the robust Neural Engine available in the Apple Watch 9 and Ultra 2, which smartly processes data from key components such as the accelerometer, gyroscope, and optical heart sensor by leveraging the advanced machine learning algorithm. The advanced machine learning algorithm is equipped to detect the unique signs of wrist movements and changes in the blood flow when a user performs the double tap gesture using the index finger and thumb. That’s the reason why it works more intuitively. 

As for the double pinch gesture, it does exactly what you have assigned it to do. For instance, if you programmed this hand gesture to perform a forward function, it will do just that. 

Read more: How to Quickly Turn Voice Memo into iPhone Ringtone in iOS 17: 4 Steps! 

Posted by
Rajesh Mishra

Co-founder/Editor-in-Chief: Rajesh Mishra (Your beloved “R.K” 360 Reader Voice) is a Shakespearean poet at heart who turned a tech nerd while having a secret rendezvous with iPhone 4. When that rendezvous turned obsession, he let go of his hard-core political journalism in favour of the lifelong love-affair with technology. In a career spanning one and a half decades, Mr. Mishra has crafted over 8K articles and around 2K YouTube videos. He is probably the only journalist alive with this unique achievement. When he is not at his desk, you may find him either engrossed in a Deathmatch or chasing Wordsworth!

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