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,* and Apple Watch SE. Make sure that you have the latest version of watchOS.

* Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5 need watchOS 8.3 for Assistive Touch.

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 turn on and customize all the AssistiveTouch features in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.

Navigate your Apple Watch with hand gestures

When you raise your wrist, a blue ring around your Apple Watch screen indicates that AssistiveTouch is turned on and ready for you to activate it with the default double-clench gesture. You can change the color of this visual signal in Accessibility > AssistiveTouch > Color. Or you can turn the visual signal off by going to Accessibility > AssistiveTouch > Hand Gestures > Activation Gesture.

After you activate AssistiveTouch, a focus ring appears 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: Pinch (Tap your pointer finger to your thumb)
  • Move back one item: Double pinch (Tap your pointer finger to your thumb twice quickly)
  • Tap an item: Clench (Close your hand into a fist)
  • Bring up the action menu: Double clench (Close your hand into a fist twice quickly). The action menu lets you perform a number of actions via AssistiveTouch, such as scrolling, pressing the Digital Crown, and more.

How to customize AssistiveTouch hand gestures

  1. Open the Settings app 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 customize 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, you 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 moves automatically from item to item.

You can use these default gestures with Auto Scanning:

  • Bring up the action menu: Pinch
  • Reverse direction: Double pinch
  • A clench or double clench while using Auto Scanning will perfom the action that 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.

Here's how to turn on the feature:

  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 turn 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. It appears 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.

When you move the motion pointer and it selects an item, you can tap the item using a hand gesture, or you can allow the motion pointer to tap it automatically after a specified interval. You can also set the motion pointer to bring up the action menu when it selects 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 customize these hot edges in Accessibility > AssistiveTouch > Motion Pointer.

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 forward in the action menu using the default pinch gesture until Interaction is selected, then tap it by clenching your fist.
  3. Tap 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 forward or backward in the list of items, and to tap an item.

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

  • Tap Add Action under Favorites, 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

An example of a useful feature that you can access in the action menu is Autoscroll. With Autoscroll, you can use hand gestures to perform actions like 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 forward in the action menu using the default pinch gesture until Autoscroll is selected, then tap it by clenching your fist.
  3. Use the pinch 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 turns up the volume. As you use the Autoscroll feature, instructions 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 shows an alert. For example, when you have an incoming call, a prompt lets 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-pinch gesture.

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

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