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How to control your Apple Watch with hand gestures

If you know how to control your Apple Watch with gestures, you can use some of the smartwatch’s features without touching the screen or pressing any buttons. In fact, you don’t even need to use your other hand. You can control your Apple Watch by squeezing your fingers or clenching your fists.

Gestures are part of the AssistiveTouch feature of the Apple Watch, primarily to make the Apple Watch experience more inclusive. One of the reasons the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch every year is because it can be worn in so many ways. For example, if you know how to use an Apple Watch, you probably know you can ask Siri to start a workout or give you a hands-free weather report.

However, if you don’t want to (or probably can’t) use your voice and want (or need) to navigate without your other hand, gestures can help. Gestures are, in my opinion, one of the most underrated features of the Apple Watch, and while you probably won’t need to use them every day, they’ve worked for me a few times.

To start using Apple Watch gestures, you first need to enable the appropriate settings in the Accessibility menu of the Watch app on your iPhone. Here’s how to enable gestures on your Apple Watch and how to use gestures to control your Apple Watch.

Activate gestures on Apple Watch

Before you begin, keep in mind that gestures are only available on Apple Watch 4 and later, including Apple Watch 7 and Apple Watch SE. Here’s how to enable Apple Watch gestures.

What about gesture settings on Apple Watch?

(Image credit: Future)

1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and click Accessibility in the My Watch tab menu.

2. Click AssistiveTouch in the Engine menu.

3. Enable Assistive Touch.

4. Click Gestures in the Input menu.

5. Activate the gesture.

Control your Apple Watch with gestures

In the same menu used to activate gestures, you can view the navigation functions associated with each gesture. There are four gestures: pinch, double pinch, pinch, and double pinch. These are the preset functions:

  • pinch: forward
  • Double pinch: backward
  • extrusion: Play
  • Double pinch: Action menu

You can customize the gestures however you want, and can revert to the defaults at any time. You can set specific gestures to open Apple Watch Control Center, activate Siri, or display the best Apple Watch apps in the menu. You can even specify a gesture to mimic a scrolling action.

You can also change gesture assignments directly from the AssistiveTouch menu on Apple Watch.

Looking for more ways to get the most out of your Apple Watch? Check out our Apple Watch setup guide, you should turn it on and off in no time. We also recently shared steps on how to change the orientation of the Digital Crown on your Apple Watch.

If you’re in the market for a new smartwatch, we can help you choose the best Apple Watch model for you and the best Apple Watch deals available right now, because who doesn’t love spending money to save?

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How to control your Apple Watch with hand gestures

Knowing how to control your Apple Watch with hand gestures will let you use certain features of your smartwatch without touching the display or pressing either of the buttons. In fact, you won’t even need to use your opposite hand. You’ll be able to control your Apple Watch by pinching your fingers or clenching your fists.
Hand gestures are part of the Apple Watch’s AssistiveTouch features, which primarily exist to make the Apple Watch experience more inclusive. One of the reasons the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch every year is because it can be used in multiple ways. For example, if you know how to use the Apple Watch you might know you can ask Siri to launch workouts or give you a weather report hands-free.
But for when you don’t want to (or maybe can’t) use your voice, and you want (or need) to navigate without the opposite hand, gestures can help. Hand gestures are one of the Apple Watch’s most underrated features in my opinion, and while I might not need them on a daily basis, there have been a few times when they’ve come in handy. 
In order to get started with the Apple Watch hand gestures, you’ll first need to enable the right settings in the Accessibility menu in your iPhone’s watch app. Here’s how to turn on Apple Watch hand gestures and how to control your Apple Watch with hand gestures.
How to turn on Apple Watch hand gestures
Before you get started, note that hand gestures only work on Apple Watch 4 and newer, which includes the Apple Watch 7 and Apple Watch SE. Now, here’s how to turn on Apple Watch hand gestures.

(Image credit: Future)
1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and click Accessibility from the menu on the My Watch tab.
2. Click AssistiveTouch from the Motor menu.
3. Toggle on AssistiveTouch.
4. Click Hand Gestures from the Inputs menu.
5. Toggle on Hand Gestures.
How to control your Apple Watch with hand gestures
In the same menu you used to toggle on hand gestures, you can review the navigation functions associated with each gesture. There are four gestures: Pinch, Double Pinch, Clench and Double Clench. Here are the preset functions:
Pinch: Forward
Double Pinch: Backward
Clench: Tap
Double Clench: Action Menu
You can customize the gestures if you’d like, with the option to reset to default at any time. You can set a certain gesture to open the Apple Watch Control Center, activate Siri or show the best Apple Watch apps in a menu. You can even assign a gesture to mimic a scrolling motion. 
You can also change the gesture assignments in the AssistiveTouch menu directly on your Apple Watch. 
Looking for more ways on how to make the most of your Apple Watch? See our guide to the Apple Watch settings you should enable and disable now. We also recently shared the steps on how to change the digital crown orientation on your Apple Watch.
And if you’re in the market for a new smartwatch, we can help you choose the best Apple Watch model for you — and a shout-out the best Apple Watch deals available right now, because who doesn’t love saving money?

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