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Apple Watch Series 9's 'double-tap' is available now. Here's what you can do with it

The new gesture feature - available now - lets you navigate the watch without tapping the screen.
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer
Apple watch on a person's wrist
June Wan/ZDNET

As part of the new Apple Watch Series 9 announcement last month, Apple introduced a new fun-filled yet practical feature: Double-tap. And, since Apple just released WatchOS 10.1, the feature is now live. 

Anyone wearing an Apple Watch Series 9 or the new Apple Watch Ultra 2 can tap their index finger and thumb together to do a variety of things. You can use the double-tap feature to answer calls, snooze your morning alarm, play or pause media, end timers, and more. You can even use it to take a group picture to make sure that you're included in it.

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Apple says the handy (pun intended) feature makes interacting with your watch faster, easier, and more convenient, especially when your hands are full or otherwise occupied with carrying groceries, holding a baby, or walking your dog.

But aside from convenience, the double-tap feature is a big win for accessibility. Apple already had AssistiveTouch available on the Apple Watch, but this new feature takes it to the next level since it doesn't require you to turn on any settings on your iPhone.

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The new gesture is automatically enabled by default on the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 running watchOS 10.1. However, if you don't want to use the feature, you can disable it in your iPhone's settings. Otherwise it will work anytime your watch's display is awake. Apple said the feature only has minimal impact to your watch's battery life. 

Apple said the double-tap is made possible by the wearable's new S9 SiP chip, which Apple says is the "most powerful watch chip." The company added that the chip is also able to give the Apple Watch Series 9 a big boost in performance and the ability to process Siri requests on the Apple Watch itself. 

The double-tap feature is only available on WatchOS 10 in the new Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 smartwatches. 

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