Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 get a new double-tap gesture — here’s how it works

Apple Watch double tap gesture
(Image credit: Apple)

Ever tried to pause a walk on your Apple Watch while holding a coffee? Tried to answer a call while cooking? Or pause your alarm while you’re half asleep? Apple has heard our sighs of frustration and next month, the Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 arrive with a whole new feature — the double tap gesture, which controls the watch without the need to touch the screen. Here’s how it works, and what you need to know. 

What is Apple’s double-tap gesture? 

Introduced today at Apple’s Wonderlust event, the double tap gesture was showcased with the new Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, both of which feature Apple’s latest S9 chip, Apple’s most powerful chip yet. 

The gesture allows you to tap your thumb and index finger together twice in quick succession to control the function you are currently in. You can answer and hang up calls, launch widgets, control workout settings, and more.

The new gesture is designed for easy control of your watch when you’re on the move. It comes alongside a number of other announcements from Apple, including both watches being carbon neutral and having brighter displays than ever before — the Apple Watch 9 will have a display of 2000 nits, and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 will have Apple’s brightest screen yet, with a display of 3000 nits. 

Tim Cook said these are the most technical Apple Watches the brand has ever released, and he’s not wrong. This gesture might not seem like much on paper, but will undoubtedly change the way we use Apple’s popular wearables. 

When are the new watches available? 

The new Apple Watches will be available on September 22. The Apple Watch SE will cost $249, the Apple Watch 9 will start at $399 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 will cost $799.

Check out the rest of the news from the Apple event here on Tom’s Guide.

More from Tom's Guide

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.