19 Ways to Fix Double Tab Gesture Not Working on Apple Watch 9/Ultra 2

“Double Tap” is a super convenient feature designed to let you perform common actions like snoozing an alarm, playing/pausing music, answering a call, and more with ease. Times when your one hand is busy, this feature comes in handy, allowing you to get the job without any fuss. While many have stated that it works like a charm, a handful of users have complained that the double tap doesn’t work as expected. For this very reason, I have jotted down some viable tips to fix the double tap gesture not working on the Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. 

Fix Double Tab Gesture Not Working on Apple Watch 9/Ultra 2

What’s hurting the double tap gesture on your Apple Watch? Talking about the culprits that could be preventing this all-new gesture from functioning as expected, it could be due to multiple reasons including a minor software glitch and a lack of clear understanding about how it works. Besides, there might also be a wrong configuration and incompatibility thing in the play. Let’s look into each aspect and try the tips that can resolve the problem!

1. Ensure That Your Apple Watch is Running watchOS 10.1 or Later 

To use the double tap gesture, your Apple Watch must be running watchOS 10.1 or later. Therefore, go inside the Settings app on your Apple Watch -> General -> Software Update to check which watchOS version is installed. 

2. Make Sure Your Apple Watch is in the Right Wrist

Be sure that you have worn the Apple Watch on the wrist that you selected in the Settings. 

  • To check which wrist you have selected, navigate to the Settings app on your Apple Watch -> General -> Orientation. 
How to set up and use double tap on older Apple Watch models

3. Master the Double Tap Gesture

To begin with, it would be better to master the “Double-Tap” gesture. To nail this feature, you need to tap the index finger and thumb of your watch hand together twice. So, perform this nifty gesture a few times to figure out how it behaves. 

  • To get started, raise your wrist to wake the Apple Watch screen. Make sure that the display is on before you try to invoke the double-tap gesture. 
  • After that, gently tap your index finger and thumb twice on your watch hand. Double tap gesture tends to work more effectively when you tap at the same pace.
  • For enhanced accuracy, I would recommend you attempt the gesture when you are stilling or standing still. 
  • Before trying to trigger the double tap gesture, ensure that your Apple Watch is unlocked and fits snugly on the wrist. 

4. List of Common Actions That You Can Perform Using Double Tap 

  • Answer or end a phone call 
  • Stop a timer Reply to a message 
  • Open Smart Stack from the watch face
  • Scroll through widgets 
  • Play and pause music
  • Play/pause audiobooks, podcasts, and other media in Now Playing
  • Record a voice memo 
  • Switch flashlight modes
  • Snooze an alarm 
  • Capture a photo in the Camera Remote
  • Pause and resume a stopwatch 

5. Double Tap Doesn’t Work When These Features Are Active

Be warned that the double tap gesture doesn’t work when these features are enabled:

  • Low Power Mode (Yellow circle icon)
  • Sleep Focus (Bed icon)
  • Theather Mode (Theather masks icon)
  • Water Lock (Water drop icon) on. 
  • Take a look at your watch to ensure the above-mentioned features are disabled. 

If any of these features are active, press the Side button to bring up the Control Center. Then, turn off each one of these culprits. 

6. Is Your Apple Watch Paired As a Family Watch? 

If you have paired your Apple Watch Ultra 2 or Apple Watch 9 as a Family Setup watch, you can’t use the Double Tap gesture. While this inconvenience is weird and inexplicable, it’s worth keeping in mind. 

7. Have You Enabled These Accessibility Features?

If the following Accessibility features are active, you can’t trigger the double tap gesture: 

  • AssistiveTouch
  • Quick Actions
  • Zoom with Hand Gestures
  • VoiceOver with Hand Gestures

To disable these features, open the Settings app on your smartwatch -> Accessibility and then do the needful. 

Choose Accessibility

8. Is Wake on Wrist Raise Disabled? 

If the Wake on Wrist Raise is turned off, the double tap gesture won’t work. 

  • Head into the Settings app on your watchOS device -> Display & Brightness -> Ensure that the toggle next to Wake on Wrist Raise is enabled. 
Turn on Wake on Wrist Raise

9. Apple Watch Will Fail to Detect Double When You Are…

Bear in mind that the Apple Watch might fail to detect the double tap gesture when you are running, cycling, or moving up/down stairs. 

10. If You Have a Tattoo On Your Wrist, Double Tap Gesture Might Not Kick In 

Do you have a tattoo on your watch wrist? If the answer is yes, it might be coming in the way or preventing the double tap gesture from functioning properly. 

11. Not All Apps Support the Double Tap Gesture 

What makes the double tap feature so impressive is the ability to control the primary button of an app. Hence, performing common actions becomes a pretty easy affair. However, bear in mind that not all apps support this feature – especially the third-party ones. Thus, before scratching your head in dismay, ensure that the app where you are trying to use the double-tap feature is compatible.

12. Restart Your Apple 

At times, all you have to do to bring the “Double Tap” feature back on track is just restart the Apple Watch. 

  • Simply, press and hold the side button until the sliders show up.
  • Then, tap on the tiny “Power Off” icon at the upper-right corner of the screen.
  • Next, drag the power off slider to shut down the watch. 
  • After that, hold down the side button to restart your Apple Watch.

13. Disable/Enable Double Tap on Your Watch 

Sometimes, just soft resetting the double tap gesture can let you bring it back into action. 

  • On your Apple Watch, launch the Settings app -> Gestures -> Double Tap -> turn off/on the switch next to Double Tap. 

14. You Can’t Use Double Tap While Using Depth App or Taking an ECG

You must be fully aware of the fact that the “Double Tap” gesture doesn’t work while you are taking an ECG or the Depth is being used. 

15. Disable/Enable Wrist Detection

If you still can’t trigger the double-tap feature, I would recommend you disable/enable the “Wrist Detection” feature. 

  • To get it done, head over to the Watch app on your iPhone -> Passcode -> Scroll down to the bottom of the screen -> turn off the toggle next to Wrist Detection. 
  • Now, restart your Apple Watch and then turn on Wrist Detection. 
Enable wrist detection on Apple Watch

16. Hard Reset Your Apple Watch 

In terms of troubleshooting common watchOS issues, hard reset has got a pretty decent record. 

  • To force restart your Apple Watch 9 or Ultra 2, hold down the Digital Crown and Side Button at once until the Apple logo comes up on the screen. 

17. Update Your Apple Watch 

Despite all the talk of a more stable upgrade, watchOS 10 seems to be quite buggy. Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to blame a software bug for the malfunctioning of the double tap gesture. 

  • On your paired iPhone, launch the Watch app -> General -> Software Update -> Download and install the latest version of watchOS. 
Update Apple Watch

18. Erase Your Apple Watch and Re-Pair It With Your iPhone 

If the “Double Tap” gesture continues to misbehave, erase your Apple Watch and re-pair it with the iPhone. 

  • To do so, open the Watch app on your iPhone -> General -> Reset -> Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings and confirm. 
  • Now, open the Watch app and follow the usual on-screen instructions to re-pair the smartwatch with the iPhone. 
Erase your Apple Watch

19. Contact Apple Support

No luck as yet? There is no need to panic. It’s time to contact Apple Support and send the Apple Watch for repair. I’m afraid there might be some hardware failure that could be hindering the double-tap feature from functioning properly. 

Wrapping up…

More often than not, you can bring the “Double Tap” feature into action by just ticking off all the basics. If they don’t sort out the problem, force restart aka hard reset and a software update can let you fix it. Should the problem still persist, contact Apple Support without any more ado. 

Read more: 28 Ways to Fix iPhone Widgets Not Working on Mac in macOS Sonoma 

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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