Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 users are now able to take advantage of an array of new functionalities with the incorporation of Double Tap in the watchOS 10.1 update. Although the feature was highlighted during the launch of these new models, it has taken some time for Apple to implement it successfully. Double Tap allows users to engage with their Apple Watch using just one hand, creating a user-friendly experience that streamlines interactions with the device.
To utilize Double Tap, users must tap their thumb and index finger together twice. This action prompts a small icon to appear on the Apple Watch, indicating that the gesture has been recognized. The Apple Watch’s sensors are instrumental in detecting the subtle movements and blood flow changes associated with this specific finger positioning.
Double Tap’s versatility is evident through its compatibility with a variety of common one-handed actions:
- Open the Smart Stack from the watch face, and then double-tap again to scroll through widgets
- Answer or hang up Phone or FaceTime calls
- When you get an iMessage, Double Tap to view it, and then Double Tap again if you need to scroll
- Reply to a Message using dictation and then send it with Double Tap
- Act on notifications – Apple says a Double Tap on an incoming notification will activate the primary action, such as snoozing a reminder or replying to a message
- Pause, resume, and end a timer
- Stop and resume the stopwatch
- Snooze an alarm
- Play and pause music, podcasts, or audiobooks (or skip a track, depending on settings)
- Change to the Elevation view in the Compass app
- Start or stop automatic Workout reminders when a workout is detected
- Take a photo with the Camera Remote
- Record a voice memo in the Voice Memos app
- Change Flashlight modes
For users who wish to customize their Double Tap experience, the Apple Watch app offers various settings adjustments under the Gestures section. However, it is important to note that while third-party apps can utilize Double Tap through incoming notifications, a dedicated Double Tap API for these applications is not available at this time.
The Double Tap feature is exclusive to the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. According to Apple executives in a recent Tom’s Guide interview, this exclusivity is due to the necessity of the powerful S9 chip in these models for the gesture system to function correctly.
To activate Double Tap, users must ensure their devices are updated to watchOS 10.1, which requires an iPhone running iOS 17 or later. However, it is crucial to be aware of the limitations of Double Tap. The feature is unavailable when certain modes such as Low Power Mode, Sleep Focus, Theater Mode, or Water Lock are active.
The Apple Watch must be awake, achieved by raising the wrist, before the Double Tap gesture is performed. Watches paired as a Family Setup are also incompatible with Double Tap.