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New Double Tap Feature Gives Apple Watch Users Hands-Free Control

The new gesture lets you pick up a phone call or play music without touching your Apple Watch.

Nelson Aguilar
Nelson Aguilar is an LA-based tech how-to writer and graduate of UCLA. With more than a decade of experience, he covers Apple and Google and writes on iPhone and Android features, privacy and security settings and more.
Nelson Aguilar
2 min read
apple watch screen

Many actions can now be triggered without even touching the Apple Watch.

Apple/Screenshot by CNET

You can now answer calls, take photos or play music with your Apple Watch without even touching it.

During today's "Wonderlust" event at the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California, Apple unveiled Double Tap, a new feature that allows you to control your Apple Watch simply by tapping your index finger and thumb together twice.

Watch this: Apple Watch Series 9 with Double Tap: First Look

The two-tap gesture works as the primary button in an application, so you can use it to take a photo with your camera, pause and play music in Apple Music, snooze an alarm, pick up and end a phone call, and more. The same gesture can also be used to launch Smart Stack and scroll through the widgets.

Double Tap works by detecting the unique signature of movements and changes in your blood flow when the index finger and thumb perform a double tap. The neural engine processes data from various sensors, including the accelerometer, gyroscope and optical heart sensor to do this.

The Double Tap feature on will be enabled by a software upgrade.

Apple/GIF by Arielle Burton/CNET

The new gesture is coming next month to the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 as a software update. The two smartwatches also feature Apple's new Ultra Wideband chip for precision finding and integration with the HomePod.

The Apple Watch Series 9 starts at $399 in the US, while the Apple Watch Ultra 2 starts at $799. They're both available for preorder starting today, and will ship on Sept. 22.

Apple uses its annual September event to show off major updates to its devices and software. A year ago, Apple announced the iPhone 1414 Plus14 Pro, 14 Pro Max, new Apple Watches and the Apple AirPods Pro 2

Back at the 2023 Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Apple unveiled iOS 17 (which should be released next week), as well as the Vision Pro, Apple's upcoming mixed-reality headset, which will be released early in 2024. If you want to get the VR/AR headset for yourself, you might want to start saving up now -- the Vision Pro starts at $3,499.

Watch this: What the iPhone 15's Spatial Video Feature Means for the Vision Pro

If you want to learn more, check out everything Apple announced today.