The Apple Watch's Double Tap gesture has launched – here's how to use it

Apple Watch 9 double tap
You can answer calls with Double Tap (Image credit: Apple)

Apple has just pushed out watchOS 10.1 to Apple Watch users around the world, which means the much-discussed Double Tap gesture for the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 is now ready to go.

The idea is that you can operate various functions and menus on the wearables by tapping your index finger to your thumb twice in quick succession – very handy when your other hand is holding on to a dog lead, carrying a bag of groceries, clinging on to a rock face, or whatever it is you happen to be doing.

"This new feature complements existing gestures like tap, swipe, raise to wake, and cover to mute that make Apple Watch simple and intuitive to use," Apple says in its press release, so you've got more ways than ever to interact with your smartwatch.

The feature works separately from the existing AssistiveTouch feature, which offers controls via a series of pinches and clenches to users who are physically unable to operate the watch with another hand. AssistiveTouch works on all watch models going back to the Apple Watch 4, the first Apple Watch SE, and the original Apple Watch Ultra.

How to use Double Tap

To use Double Tap you need an Apple Watch Series 9 or an Apple Watch Ultra 2 – the latest S9 chip is required to recognize the gesture. You also need to have upgraded your wearable to the latest watchOS 10.1 software, which is available in your Apple Watch's Settings > Software update.

You first need to raise your wrist to wake the screen (unless something like a call is already showing), then quickly tap your index finger and thumb together twice. Note that it won't work if Low Power Mode or Sleep Focus are enabled.

Some of the operations you can do with it include answering calls, replying to messages, scrolling through widget stacks, pausing a timer, snoozing an alarm, playing and pausing music, and performing the primary action on incoming notifications.

You can customize what Double Tap does, to a certain extent – you can pick between pausing music or skipping to the next track, for example. Head to Settings on your watch, then tap Gestures and Double Tap to configure it. You can also turn the feature off from here as well, if you don't want to use it.

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David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.