Apple Watch’s best new feature is now live

2 min read
Apple Watch's best new feature is now live

With today’s watchOS 10.1 drop, Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 owners now have access to the smartwatches’ most exciting feature. Double Tap, which adds gesture-based interactions through tapping one’s index finger and thumb together twice. It’s a clever new way to interact with the wearable when your other hand if full. It was easily the highlight of an otherwise modest update to the line.

I had a few days with a beta version of the feature during my Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 test period, and can confirm it largely works as advertised (I tend to wear my watch quite high up on my wrist, but after a small adjustment, it worked just fine). The feature was initially made available to beta testers earlier this month, and is now there for anyone with the compatible hardware.

Notably, the feature is based on AssistiveTouch, an accessibility offering that’s been available to Apple Watch users for some time. And certainly the new version has its own accessibility applications. In its current form, Double Tap was made possible by updates to the S9 chip’s Neural Engine. The feature is designed for a range of different tasks, including scrolling through your notification Smart Stack, stopping and resuming timers/stopwatches, snoozing alarms, playing and pausing music and turning the flashlight on and off.

Here’s the full list, from Apple:

  • Opening the Smart Stack from any watch face and scrolling through widgets in the stack.
  • Answering and ending phone calls.
  • Viewing a message from a notification, scrolling through longer notifications with an additional double tap, replying using dictation, and sending a message.
  • Pausing, resuming, and ending a timer.
  • Stopping and resuming a stopwatch.
  • Snoozing an alarm.
  • Playing and pausing music, podcasts, and audiobooks.
  • Switching to the new Elevation view in the Compass app.
  • Taking an iPhone photo with the Camera Remote in the Camera app.
  • Starting or stopping automatic Workout reminders.
  • Performing the primary action from notifications, such as replying to an incoming message from a messaging app and snoozing reminders — including from third parties.

The app prioritizes what the Watch deems the most relevant action to how you’re currently interacting with the device. If a call comes in, for instance, it will prioritize that over everything else. There’s currently no API for the feature, however, so functionality is limited when it comes to third-party apps.

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