Double tap for Apple Watch 9 live now in public beta — here’s what you can do

Apple Watch Series 9
(Image credit: Future)

Double tap, one of the most anticipated features for Apple Watch Series 9, is finally rolling out to users by way of the watchOS 10.1 public beta. Ahead of full availability later in October, public beta testers can experiment with the new gesture that supports single-handed Apple Watch operation. 

Separate from the existing accessibility gestures baked into the Apple Watch, double tap is powered by a new machine learning algorithm made possible by the upgraded processor in the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. The algorithm pulls information from the watch's accelerometer, gyroscope, and optical heart sensor to detect when the gesture — tapping the thumb and index finger of your watch hand together twice — is initiated.

Having tried double tap on a demo unit as part of my Apple Watch Series 9 review, I'm eager to start using it myself on the public beta. It seems to introduce major convenience, especially for people like me who have their Apple Watch on their wrist and pretty much all times.

If you plan to join me in testing double tap before the feature becomes official in the next watchOS 10 software version, here are some of things you should try using it for.    

What can you do with double tap on Apple Watch 9?

For certain use cases, double tap replaces the need to tap a finger from your opposite hand on your watch to carry out an action. It can't wholly navigate your Apple Watch, but it can provide a quick fix for checking a notification, answering a call, dismissing a timer and more. 

Perhaps the best example of using tap is to complete the gesture when you're getting a phone call. If your hands are full and you don't want to leave the caller on the other end hanging, you can double tap to answer. If you answer and realize it's a telemarketer or bot, you can promptly double tap to hang up the call. 

Here's a full list of ways you can use double tap:

  • Answer and end a phone call
  • Carry out the primary action from a notification
  • Snooze an alarm
  • Launch and scroll through the Smart Stack
  • Trigger the photo timer on the camera remote app
  • Open a message notification
  • Reply to a message via text to speech
  • Press send on a text message
  • Pause, resume, and dismiss a timer
  • Pause and resume a stopwatch
  • Pause and play music, podcasts and audiobooks
  • Switch to elevation view in the compass app
  • Respond to automatic workout reminders

This is just speculation on my end, but I think double tap functionality now is just the start of the feature. I wouldn't be surprised if down the line we see more ways to use double tap, or even new ways for it to work with third-party apps.

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Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.