Double Tap will change how you use your Apple Watch: Here's how to use it

Double Tap on Apple Watch Ultra 2
(Image credit: Future / Apple)

One of the most significant additions to the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 is the Double Tap gesture that allows you to use your Apple Watch one-handed. If you purchased one of the new Apple Watches in September, however, you may have been disappointed to see that Double Tap isn’t enabled on the latest devices yet.

Apple has said that Double Tap is coming in an upcoming software update in October, and the feature has now arrived on the watchOS 10.1 beta.

Double Tap allows you to perform actions in the active app or notification by tapping your index finger and thumb together twice. It’s a great way to interact with your watch without using your second hand to tap the screen when you just can’t reach for your wrist.

While the feature hasn’t officially been released yet, here’s how to use Double Tap on your Apple Watch when watchOS 10.1 releases later this month.

How to use Double Tap on Apple Watch

Double Tap uses the accelerometer and heart rate sensor to detect blood flow in your fingers and trigger the command. This data processing requires the new S9 SiP chip found on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. For owners of an older Apple Watch, that requirement means you can’t use Double Tap. That said, there is an accessibility feature called AssistiveTouch that works similarly.

Double Tap is enabled by default on your Apple Watch once you update your device to watchOS 10.1. There are some options you can change depending on your preference.

Double Tap on Apple Watch Ultra 2 watchOS 10.1

(Image credit: Future / Apple)
  1. Open Settings 
  2. Tap Gestures
  3. Select Double Tap

From here, you can switch off Double Tap altogether or choose how Double Tap functions in specific circumstances. You can choose whether Double Tap skips a song or plays/pauses a song when using audio playback, and you can also decide whether Double Tap advances between the widgets in your Smart Stack or selects one to open the app.

Double Tap on Apple Watch Ultra 2 watchOS 10.1

(Image credit: Future / Apple)

One more thing... Double Tap away

Double Tap is incredibly responsive and allows you to finally use your Apple Watch when washing the dishes, carrying bags, or just unable to use your second hand to tap the screen. Since enabling the feature, I’ve gravitated towards using my Apple Watch more as it’s far easier to interact with the primary function of the notification that pops up.

Replying to messages is intuitive as you use Double Tap to activate Dictation and then Double Tap again to send the message. I’ve also enjoyed using Double Tap to close notifications as I regularly dismiss them, which leads to an overload of notifications to close in my Notification Center.

Double Tap will be available later this month, and for those who purchased the new Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2, this is likely to be the defining feature of this generation.

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself. Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings. John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.  John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.