Use AssistiveTouch on your Apple Watch

With AssistiveTouch, you can use hand gestures to navigate and use your Apple Watch.

What you need

AssistiveTouch is compatible with Apple Watch Series 4 and later, Apple Watch SE (1st generation) and later, and Apple Watch Ultra and later. Make sure you have the latest version of watchOS.

How to turn on AssistiveTouch on your Apple Watch

  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.

  2. Tap Accessibility, then tap AssistiveTouch.

  3. Tap AssistiveTouch to turn it on, then tap OK to confirm. Or you can tap Try It Out to see a visual introduction.

You can also use Siri on your Apple Watch to turn on AssistiveTouch. Or use the Apple Watch app on your iPhone to turn on and customise all of the AssistiveTouch features.

The universal double-tap gesture is not available when you turn on AssistiveTouch.

Navigate your Apple Watch with hand gestures

When you raise your wrist, a blue ring around your Apple Watch screen will indicate that AssistiveTouch is turned on. To activate AssistiveTouch, clench your fist twice quickly. You can change the colour of this visual signal in Accessibility > AssistiveTouch > Colour. Or you can turn the visual signal off by going to Accessibility > AssistiveTouch > Hand Gestures > Activation Gesture.

After you've activated AssistiveTouch, a focus ring will appear around the first item on your screen. The focus ring indicates that you can tap the item via AssistiveTouch.

With the default actions, you can navigate your Apple Watch with these hand gestures:

  • Move to the next item: tap (tap your pointer finger to your thumb)

  • Move back one item: double-tap (tap your pointer finger to your thumb twice quickly)

  • Tap an item: clench (close your hand into a fist)

  • Bring up the action menu The action menu lets you perform a number of actions via AssistiveTouch, such as scrolling, pressing the Digital Crown and more.

How to customise AssistiveTouch hand gestures

  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch or the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.

  2. Tap Accessibility > AssistiveTouch > Hand Gestures.

  3. Tap a gesture, then select the action that you want to perform when you make that gesture.

You can also customise the hand gesture that activates AssistiveTouch. Go to Accessibility > AssistiveTouch > Hand Gestures > Activation Gesture.

Use Manual Scanning or Auto Scanning

If you have Manual Scanning turned on in Settings > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch > Scanning Style, use hand gestures to control when AssistiveTouch moves to the next item on the screen, and when an item is tapped.

If you have Auto Scanning turned on, your Apple Watch will move automatically from item to item.

You can use these default gestures with Auto Scanning:

  • Bring up the action menu: tap

  • Reverse direction: double-tap

  • A clench or double-clench while using Auto Scanning will perform the action you've assigned to those gestures.

Use the Confirm with AssistiveTouch feature

You can use AssistiveTouch to perform a double-click on your Apple Watch side button, such as when you confirm a payment using Apple Pay or unlock your Mac.

  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.

  2. Tap Accessibility > AssistiveTouch.

  3. Tap Confirm with AssistiveTouch, then tap Continue.

  4. Double-click the side button, then type your passcode.

  5. Double-click the side button again to confirm.

After you've turned on this feature, you can confirm an Apple Pay payment using the action menu or unlock your Mac with a double-clench.

Navigate your Apple Watch with the motion pointer

Another way to use AssistiveTouch is with the motion pointer. The motion pointer will appear as a circle icon on your Apple Watch screen and you can control its movement by tilting your Apple Watch. You can activate the motion pointer by shaking your wrist or by using the action menu.

How to activate the motion pointer by shaking your wrist

  1. Tap Settings > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch > Motion Pointer > Dwell Control.

  2. Tap Shake to Start to turn the feature on.

  3. Raise your Apple Watch, then shake your wrist to make the motion pointer appear.

How to activate the motion pointer using the action menu

  1. Bring up the action menu using your hand gesture. The default gesture is a double-clench.

  2. Move forwards in the action menu using the default tap gesture until Interaction is selected, then tap it by clenching your fist.

  3. Tap Motion Pointer.

When you move the motion pointer and the pointer hovers over an item, you can tap the item using a hand gesture. Or you can allow the motion pointer to select the item automatically after a specified interval. You can also set the motion pointer to bring up the action menu when it has selected an item on your screen.

The motion pointer can help you swipe on your Apple Watch screen with hot edges. When you hover the motion pointer near an edge of your screen, a swipe is performed in that direction. You can customise these hot edges in Accessibility > AssistiveTouch > Motion Pointer.

Use the AssistiveTouch action menu

The action menu is a list of items that you can tap to perform actions in all areas of your Apple Watch. The action menu is context aware, so it changes to show relevant actions based on how you're using your Apple Watch.

To use the action menu, perform the hand gesture associated with it (the default is a double-clench). Then use gestures to go forwards or backwards in the list of items, and to tap an item.

To customise the AssistiveTouch action menu, tap Settings > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch > Customise Menu. Then you can:

  • Tap Add Action under Favourites, then tap an action that you want to appear in the action menu alongside the default items

  • Choose where you want the action menu to appear

  • Turn on a larger-sized menu

Use Autoscroll in the action menu

Autoscroll lets you use hand gestures to perform actions such as turning the Digital Crown or swiping up or down on your watch screen.

  1. Bring up the action menu using your hand gesture. The default gesture is a double-clench.

  2. Move forwards in the action menu using the default tap gesture until Autoscroll is selected, then tap it by clenching your fist.

  3. Use the tap gesture to move through the Autoscroll options, then clench your fist to select one.

Autoscroll actions are context aware and will adapt to what's on your screen. For example, if you're using an audio app, selecting Digital Crown will turn up the volume. As you use the Autoscroll feature, instructions will appear on the screen to help you use it.

Use quick actions when you receive alerts

Quick actions help you respond when your Apple Watch displays an alert. For example, when you have an incoming call, a prompt will let you know that you can double-clench to answer it. You can also use quick actions to snooze an alarm or stop a timer. To dismiss the quick action, perform a double-tap gesture.

To turn on or turn off quick actions, go to Settings > Accessibility > Quick Actions.

Learn more

Find out how to turn on AssistiveTouch on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

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