The watchOS 10.2 update brings back a popular Apple Watch feature that should never have gone away

Apple Watch Series 9 Review
(Image credit: Future)

For many a year now Apple Watch owners have been able to quickly and easily switch watch faces by swiping across the screen, but Apple inexplicably chose to remove that feature when it released watchOS 10 back in September.

The switch meant that people who wanted to swap out their watch face had to tap and hold before making their decision and while it wasn't the end of the world for most, it was a change that broke muscle memory for millions of Apple Watch owners all around the world.

Thankfully, it appears that someone at Apple Park has come to their senses and that the swipe gesture is coming back. What's more, those who have the watchOS 10.2 beta 3 update installed can start doing it today.

Swipe on, swipe off

The good news was brought to us by developer and code-diver @aaronp613 on X, the social network more familiar to some as Twitter. According to Aaron the watchOS 10.2 beta 3 finally brings back the feature for swiping from one watch face to another.

It was never really clear why Apple took the decision to remove the gesture in the first place, but it's one that it appears to be ready to quickly backtrack on. The removal of the swipe gesture was not well-received, which might explain why it's coming back.

However, there will be some who preferred it gone — some people experienced accidental swipes which meant that they wouldn't always see the watch face they expected the next time they raised their wrist to check the time. That could be particularly problematic for those expecting to see a particular complication, for example. Thankfully, watchOS 10.2 looks set to have the option to enable and disable the gestures under the  Settings > Clock option as noted by MacRumors.

As for when we can expect watchOS 10.2 to roll out to everyone who wants it, we don't know yet — but the smart money is on Apple releasing the update before the holidays.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.