How to Use AssistiveTouch on the Apple Watch

AssistiveTouch is an accessibility feature on the Apple Watch that lets you use the Apple Watch without needing to touch its screen.

Utilizing the gyroscope, accelerometer, and the optical heart rate sensor on the Apple Watch, AssistiveTouch operates through clenching and pinching your hand, wrist, or arm the watch is on.

This feature is designed for people with limb differences, but anyone can use it. Read on to see how you turn on and use AssistiveTouch and let it make using your Apple Watch potentially a lot easier for you.

Activating AssistiveTouch

To start using AssistiveTouch, you need to be wearing your Apple Watch and have your Apple Watch updated to watchOS 8 or later.

You may need to turn AssistiveTouch on in your Apple Watch settings as well. To access your Accessibility settings, head to the Watch app on your iPhone and tap on Accessibility in the My Watch tab.

Once AssistiveTouch is turned on in settings, you just have to clench your hand into a loose fist twice. The feature should activate right away, and you should be able to start navigating the watch!

Basic AssistiveTouch Navigation

Using AssistiveTouch on your Apple Watch mainly requires clenching your hand for certain commands and pinching a finger with your thumb for others.

Pinching your fingers lets you navigate to different buttons or options on your screen when in most apps. When you have timer going off, for example, you can pinch to focus on the Stop or Repeat buttons.

When you’re focused on a button it will be highlighted with a blue rectangle on your Apple Watch screen.

Clenching your hand once confirms your selection. It basically pushes the button you’re focused on.

Some apps also respond to double clenching. If you’re getting a call, for example, double clenching your hand will let you answer the call right on your Apple Watch.

These motions will let you get around most Apple Watch apps with AssistiveTouch. But the feature has more advanced commands and controls you can utilize as well.

Advanced AssistiveTouch Controls

One advanced feature in AssistiveTouch is the Action menu. The Action menu gives you more options for interacting with your Apple Watch than only pinching and clenching can.

For example, the Action menu has a Press Crown button. Using this button lets you get everything you get from pressing the Digital Crown on your Apple Watch without actually touching it.

Another option is the Motion Pointer. Once activated, the motion pointer allows you to navigate around your Apple Watch by tilting it. Tilting up will move the pointer up, and tilting down will move the pointer down.

You can quickly scroll through button options available to you with this. Hovering the pointer over an option will select it.

You can also tilt to the far right or far left of your Apple Watch screen to navigate to other windows in your Apple Watch apps. For instance, when using the Workout app this will allow you to navigate between your stats display and the End and Pause buttons.

The Action menu can be accessed by double-clenching your hand. You can then navigate through the options by pinching your fingers, and you can select the button you want by clenching once.

The Motion Pointer can be activated in the Action Menu, or by shaking your Apple Watch up and down quickly.

Another Great Accessibility Feature

We’re very excited that Apple has made the Apple Watch more accessible to more people by including AssistiveTouch. AssistiveTouch has been on iPhones and iPads for a little while and it’s great to see it being included in Apple’s other devices as well.

AssistiveTouch is joining a number of other Accessibility features we can’t wait to see on Apple products in the near future. We hope our above guide helps you get started learning more of these features, and that they help you navigate your devices and your life better whatever your needs.

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