HomeQuick Guide for Setting Up & Using AssistiveTouch on Apple Watch

Quick Guide for Setting Up & Using AssistiveTouch on Apple Watch

Apple Watch comes with AssistiveTouch capacity. It is a technology meant to help people who are rightly indisposed due to some disabilities they may possess. Therefore, AssistiveTouch is a term used for rehabilitative devices meant for people like the elderly or the disabled. It is a pity that we can’t afford to do away with people like that in our society. Even for some of us, aging takes away some of our dexterity. Thus, we may require assistive touch in the devices we use as we age.

Read on to find out ways in which you can benefit yourself or someone in your household, using AssistiveTouch technology.

Why Use AssistiveTouch on Apple Watch?

Take for example the AssistiveTouch feature on watchOS 8. It helps people with limb differences. It means that they are able to control apps and also navigate through menus without touching the screen of the watch. The watch arrived with the right technology to make that happen. Interestingly, this is a feature that can be turned on and off, so there’s no issue with it if you don’t need it.

It doesn’t mean that only elderly people or people with limb difference that need the technology. Anyone can use it in any situation, especially when they find themselves very busy and unable to touch and operate their Apple watch.

The tool makes use of the Apple Watch’s gyroscope, accelerometer, and optical heart rate sensor to make it work. The feature is a dependable watchOS 8 update and it works nicely with Apple Watch.

Apple confirmed that with AssistiveTouch, it is possible to use hand gestures to navigate and use the device. The technology is compatible with Apple Watch Series 6 and later, and it works with Apple Watch SE. For it to work nicely, you need to have the latest version of watchOS.

How to turn on AssistiveTouch on Apple Watch

It is possible to turn it up on the device in just three simple steps. Also, note that you can turn on the feature and customize all the features that you have on the watch on the iPhone as well. Follow the steps below to turn the AssistiveTouch feature on.

  1. Go to the Settings app on the watch.
  2. Select Accessibility, and tap on AssistiveTouch.
  3. Select AssistiveTouch to turn it on, and tap OK to confirm that. You may choose to Try It Out to see a visual introduction.

How to Know AssistiveTouch Feature is on

You may want to know whether the AssistiveTouch feature is on when you strap your watch on your wrist. Just raise your wrist. If you see a blue ring around your Apple Watch screen it means the feature is turned on and ready for you to activate it with the default double-clench gesture.

Two things you can do now are changing the color of the signal or turning the visual signal off.

To change the color of the visual signal, go to Accessibility > AssistiveTouch > Color. There, you get to change the color of the signal to one that you like.

To turn off the visual signal, go to Accessibility > AssistiveTouch > Hand Gestures > Activation Gesture.

Watchos 8 AssistiveTouch Apple Watch Clenched
Watchos 8 AssistiveTouch Apple Watch Clenched

How to use Hand Gestures on Apple Watch

Let’s go back to the focus ring. It appears around the first item on your screen. This indicates that you can tap the item via AssistiveTouch. There are default actions with which you navigate your Apple Watch with hand gestures. Focus on the instructions below:

  • To move to the next item, pinch by tapping your pointer finger to your thumb
  • To move back one item, double pinch by tapping your pointer finger to your thumb twice quickly
  • To tap an item, clench by closing your hand into a fist
  • To enable the action menu, double clench by closing your hand into a fist twice quickly

Through the action menu, you get to perform a number of actions through AssistiveTouch. These include scrolling, pressing the Digital Crown, and even doing more.

How to Navigate your Apple Watch with Motion Pointer

You can activate the motion pointer by shaking your wrist. Do the following first.

  1. Tap Settings > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch >Motion Pointer > Dwell Control.
  2. Tap Shake to Start and this will turn on the feature.
  3. Raise your Apple Watch, then shake your wrist to make the motion pointer appear.

How to Activate Motion Pointer via Action Menu

  1. Use your hand gesture to bring up the action menu. Don’t forget, the default gesture is double clench.
  2. Use the default pinch gesture to move forward in the action menu until Interaction is selected, then tap it by clenching your fist.
  3. Tap Motion Pointer.

Motion pointer is another way to use AssistiveTouch. It appears as a circle on the watch screen, and you can control its movement by tilting your Apple Watch. Just shake your wrist or use the action menu to activate the motion pointer.

How to use AssistiveTouch via Action Menu

The action menu gives you the ability to do so much on your Apple Watch. It lists a number of items you can tap to perform certain actions in all areas of the watch. The action menu somehow studies the way you use your watch, and so changes to relevant actions based on your routine.

To use the action menu, you need the right-hand gestures, and that is double clench. After that, you may use gestures to scroll forward or backward to find a list of items or to tap an item.

To customize the AssistiveTouch action menu, do the following:

  • Tap Settings > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch > Customize Menu
  • Tap Add Action under Favorites, and select actions that you want to appear in the action menu together with the default items
  • Choose where you want the action menu to appear
  • Turn on a larger-sized menu

Use Autoscroll in the Action Menu

Apple Watch AssistiveTouch
Apple Watch AssistiveTouch

You need this for performing actions like turning the Digital Crown, swiping up or down on the watch screen.

  1. Double clench to bring up the action menu.
  2. Use default pinch gesture until Autoscroll is selected, then tap it by clenching your fist.
  3. Use the pinch gesture to scroll through the options, then clench your fist to select any of the options you want.


It is pretty simple to use the AssistiveTouch feature on your Apple Watch. In the beginning, it may seem hard as you need to get used to AssistiveTouch hand gestures. If you make use of the gestures regularly, you can master them in less than a week. Hand gestures and motion pointers are very good if perchance you’re not able to operate your Watch in the normal manner.

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About Author

Samuel Afolabi is a lazy tech-savvy that loves writing almost all tech-related kinds of stuff. He is the Editor-in-Chief of TechVaz. You can connect with him socially :)

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