Apple rolls out Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2's useful Double Tap feature

You'll need to update to watchOS 10.1 to try it.

Photo by Cherlynn Low / Engadget

The latest version of watchOS 10 is here and it brings a key feature to Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. The Double Tap capability that Apple showed off when it revealed the new devices in September is now available.

Double Tap affords you some control of your watch without having to touch the display or the Digital Crown. The idea is to make it easier for you to carry out the primary action in an app when your other hand is perhaps occupied.

Let's say you wear your Apple Watch on your left wrist. If you're, for instance, carrying groceries in your right hand but want to answer (or end) a call or pause what you're listening to, all you'll need to do is to tap your left thumb and forefinger together twice. You can also use Double Tap to call up Smart Stack widgets while your watch face is active and do things like snooze alarms and start or stop timers.

We weren't able to spend much time testing out Double Tap before publishing our Watch Series 9 review, but it seems like a useful feature (especially to help get used to Apple moving more toward gestures as a way of controlling devices). However, it might take you a little while to learn the right cadence for triggering an action with a Double Tap.

It's worth noting that Double Tap follows the accessibility-minded Assistive Touch feature that arrived on Apple Watch devices in 2021. Apple designed this to help folks with a range of mobility needs to more easily use their Watch by using hand gestures. There's long been a similar feature on iOS.

If your Apple Watch is set up for automatic updates, you can wait for your device to install watchOS 10.1. If you want to check out Double Tap sooner, there are a couple of ways to install the update manually.

On your iPhone, open the Apple Watch app. Tap the My Watch tab, then General > Software Update. You may need to enter your iPhone or Watch passcode during the installation process.

To update watchOS directly on your Apple Watch, you'll first need to make sure that you're connected to a Wi-Fi network. Open the Settings app, then tap General > Software Update > Install. The latter prompt will be available whenever there's a new software update ready to download.