Double Pinch Apple Watch: like double tap, but on older models

by | Sep 13, 2023

The Apple Watch has never ceased to amaze us with its functionality and innovation.

But guess what? You don’t need the latest models to enjoy some of their cool features.

Enter the Double Pinch Apple Watch feature, an alternative to the new Double Tap feature, and a way to interact with your Apple Watch without even touching it.

But don’t get your hopes up quite yet, there’s a reason Apple is rebranding this feature.

Stick around, and we’ll show you what it is and how to use it.

What is Double Pinch on Apple Watch?

Double Pinch is a gesture-based feature that allows you to navigate the Apple Watch using a two-finger pinch in the air.

It might sound simple, but can actually be a game-changer in terms of accessibility and ease of use, especially if you have broken buttons on your watch.

This functionality has been part of the Apple Watch operating system for a while now but has been somewhat overshadowed by the new and rebranded ‘Double Tap’, which is exclusive to the Series 9 and Ultra 2.

It’s a great feature, especially for those who may have difficulty using the tiny touch screen, or those who don’t want to dish out the cash for a newer model.

How to Use Double Pinch on Apple Watch

If you’re intrigued and would like to try out Double Pinch for yourself, enabling and using it is simple.

How to Activate Double Pinch

  1. Open the “Settings” app on your Apple Watch.
  2. Navigate down and select “Accessibility“.
  3. Scroll down and select “AssitiveTouch“, then make sure it is toggled on.
  4. Click “Hand Gestures“, and make sure it is toggled on.
  5. Tap “Double Pinch“.
  6. Select the action that you want the Double Pinch gesture to carry out.

How to Double Pinch

double pinch

After you’ve set up the Double Pinch feature, using it is straightforward.

When you want to perform the action you’ve mapped to Double Pinch, simply pinch two fingers together twice in the air.

Your Apple Watch will recognize the gesture and perform the action that you’ve previously set, whether that’s launching an app, triggering Siri, or controlling media playback.

Note! Our experience with this feature is not the best. We’ve noticed that it only registers our gestures about 50% of the time. We expect the newer Double-Tap feature to resolve this with the S9 chip.

Practical Applications

Once you’ve got the feature up and running, there are endless ways you can use Double Pinch for convenience.

Here are a few:

  • Triggering Siri: Activate your virtual assistant hands-free, especially useful when you’re occupied with other tasks.
  • Controlling Media: Pause, play, or skip tracks on your playlist without having to touch the screen.
  • Navigation: Use it to open control center, Apple Pay, your last application, and much more. You can even have it replace the Digital Crown button if your button breaks.


Double Pinch is available on older models, but there are some requirements to keep in mind. 

You’ll need to have at least Apple Watch series 4 or later to use the Double Pinch feature. On top of that, an Apple Watch SE (1st generation) or later. 

To make sure the feature works as it should, keep make sure your Apple Watch is updated to the most recent WatchOS.

An outdated operating system can result in glitches or non-functionality, so keeping your watch updated is advised.

List of All Double Pinch Actions

Here is a list of all the actions that the Double Pinch feature can carry out, in their respective category.

Keep in mind that this list is from an Apple Watch Ultra. Some features such as ‘Action Button’ will not be available on other models. 


  • Forwards
  • Backwards
  • Tap
  • Action Menu

Digital Crown

  • Press Crown
  • Turn Up
  • Turn Down
  • Dynamic


  • Notification Center
  • Control Center
  • Press Action Button
  • Press Action and Side Buttons
  • Dock
  • Show Apps
  • Return to Last App
  • Pay
  • Siri
  • Control Nearby Devices
  • Hold Side Button
  • Sleep Display


  • Motion Pointer
  • Tap and Hold
  • Gesture Mode


  • Digital Crown
  • Vertical
  • Horizontal
  • Scroll to Bottom
  • Scroll to Top


  • Show Screenshots
  • Make GIF
  • Shazam Shortcut

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Ken Lynch

by Ken Lynch

Ken is a Technologist, Healthcare Data Analyst, and the owner and sole contributor to The Wearable Guy.

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