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What is Apple Watch Double Tap? Magic new gesture explained

What is Apple Watch Double? The Apple Watch Series 9 introduces a new gesture that’ll perform multiple tasks without touching the display.

Exclusive to the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, out next month, Double Tap responds to the user tapping their thumb and forefinger together on the same side the watch is being worn. Users do not have to touch the screen, which is ideal for when the non-wearing hand is tied up.

Here’s what the feature is capable of.

What does Apple Watch Double Tap do?

In a video shown during the Wonderlust keynote event on September 12, Apple showed multiple instances where the Apple Watch Double Tap can come in handy.

It can be used to:

  • Snooze or turn off an alarm in the morning
  • Take a photo on the iPhone when the camera remote is enabled
  • Start a timer
  • Pause or unpause a show on Apple TV
  • Pick up or hang up a phone call

It’s clear there’ll be other use cases for this we’ll hear about in due course, but here’s what Apple is showcasing for now.

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How does Apple Watch Double Tap work?

Apple didn’t go into detail on the technology of the matter, but it’s clear this works by the Apple Watch picking up the subtle movement movement of your wrist and arm bones to detect the gesture.

It’s a crafty gesture that’ll give you the opportunity to control functionality on your watch when you have your hands full, have wet hands, or in other circumstances when you cannot tap the screen with the other hand.

Apple showed situations where people were rock climbing, cleaning their teeth, nursing children or holding hands with a partner, for instance.

Update: In a press release that dropped during the keynote Apple explained how it works: “This new double tap gesture is enabled by the faster Neural Engine in Apple Watch Series 9, which processes data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and optical heart sensor with a new machine learning algorithm. The algorithm detects the unique signature of tiny wrist movements and changes in blood flow when the index finger and thumb perform a double tap. The double tap gesture will be available in a software update next month.”

Will Double Tap come to older Apple Watch models?

Apple confirmed the feature is exclusive to the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 rather than watchOS 10, which suggests it’s a hardware feature enabled by the S9 SiP processor.

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