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Double Tap lets you operate the Apple Watch 9 without touching the screen

During its recent Wonderlust event, Apple unveiled the upcoming Apple Watch Series 9, and with it an ingenious new way to control the wearable called Double Tap.

With this feature, users can perform the “most common actions on [their] Apple Watch Series 9” just by quickly tapping their index finger and thumb twice on one hand. You don’t even have to touch the display. As seen in the official announcement trailer, the gesture can be used to turn off alarms, set timers, answer calls (or end them if you’re being too loud), and even take photographs via the Camera Remote function. Apple goes on to state in its post that using Double Tap on the watch face opens the Smart Stack and tapping again lets you scroll through individual widgets. 

This just scratches the surface of what Double Tap can do. No one knows the full potential of the tech at the moment. What we do know is it’s pretty fun to use. TechRadar’s US Editor-in-Chief Lance Ulanoff managed to try out Double Tap at the event, and you can see his initial reaction below.


♬ original sound – TechRadar

Apple explains Double Tap “is enabled by the [wearable’s] faster Neural Engine.” It sports an upgraded “machine learning algorithm” which can detect “tiny wrist movements [plus] changes in blood flow” caused by a person’s index finger and thumb performing the tapping action. From there, the engine collects that information and processes it with additional data obtained from the internal “accelerometer, gyroscope, and optical heart sensor”.

Unknown mechanics

Apart from the mechanics, it’s unknown exactly how the Apple Watch 9’s Double Tap feature will operate. Obviously, you touch your digits together, but there’s more to it than that. Double tapping the watch face launches Smart Stack but can that input be changed to something else, like opening a certain app? Do the gestures only work for certain functions or can they affect everything on the device? 

Fortunately, we won’t have to wait very long to get our questions answered. The Apple Watch Series 9 is currently on sale with prices starting at $399. However, Double Tap isn’t available right now. It’ll come out “in a software update next month.”

The other major star of Wonderlust 2023 was the iPhone 15. We got our first-hand look at the titanium-clad iPhone 15 Pro as well as the powerful 5x periscope zoom camera on the Pro Max model. Be sure to catch up on our coverage of the event. 


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