Knowing how to control your Apple Watch with hand gestures will allow you to use some of your smartwatch’s features without touching the display or pressing any buttons. In fact, you won’t even need to use your opposite hand. You’ll be able to control your Apple Watch by pinching your fingers or clenching your fist.
Hand gestures are part of the Apple Watch’s Assistive Touch features, which exist primarily to make the Apple Watch experience more inclusive. One of the reasons why the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch every year is that it can be used in so many ways. For example, if you know how to use an Apple Watch, you may know that you can ask Siri to start a workout or give you the weather report hands-free.
But when you don’t want (or probably can’t) use your voice, and you want (or need to) navigate without the opposite hand, gestures can help. Hand gestures are one of the most underrated features of the Apple Watch in my opinion, and while I don’t need them on a daily basis, there are times when they come in handy.
To get started with Apple Watch hand gestures, you first need to enable the correct settings in the Accessibility menu in the Watch app of your iPhone. Here’s how to turn on Apple Watch hand gestures and control your Apple Watch with hand gestures.
How to turn on Apple Watch Hand Gestures
Before we get started, note that hand gestures only work on the Apple Watch 4 and newer, which includes the Apple Watch 7 and Apple Watch SE. Now, here’s how to turn on Apple Watch hand gestures.
(image credits: future)
1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and click on Accessibility from the menu on the My Watch tab.
2. Click on AssistiveTouch from the Motor menu.
3. Toggle on AssistiveTouch.
4. Click on Hand Gestures from the Inputs menu.
5. Toggle on hand gestures.
How to control your Apple Watch with hand gestures
In the same menu you used to toggle on hand gestures, you can review Navigation tasks associated with each gesture. There are four gestures: pinch, double pinch, clench and double clench. Here are the preset tasks:
- Pinch: Ahead
- double pinch: backward
- Press: tap
- double clench: action menu
You can customize the gestures if you want, with the option to reset them to defaults at any time. You can set a certain gesture to open the Apple Watch Control Center, activate Siri, or show the best Apple Watch apps in the menu. You can also assign a gesture to mimic the scrolling motion.
You can also change the gesture assignments directly in the AssistiveTouch menu on your Apple Watch.
Looking for more on how to get the most out of your Apple Watch? Check out our guide to the Apple Watch settings you should enable and disable now. We also recently shared the steps to change the Digital Crown orientation on your Apple Watch.
And if you’re in the market for a new smartwatch, we can help you pick the best Apple Watch model for you — and shout out the best Apple Watch deals available right now, because who doesn’t love saving money?
Today’s best Apple Watch 7 deals