The Apple Watch’s new AssistiveTouch feature will enable users to control their wearables with accessibility gestures like a flick of the wrist.
Apple Watch users will soon be able to control their wearable completely hands-free thanks to a new AssistiveTouch feature. Although it’s intended for people with disabilities, it has use cases for just about anyone, from those wearing gloves to users who simply don’t want to get their dirty fingers on their watch’s screen. WatchOS is constantly evolving to improve the way users utilize their Apple Watch, with the latest update to the Apple Watch operating system making it easier for users to adapt to these changing times.
The latest Apple Watch also comes with hardware that’s quite a huge leap from what it used to be when it was first released a little over five years ago. Aside from merely telling the time, the Apple Watch Series 6 and SE are capable of monitoring vital statistics such as heart health, sleep, altitude, and more. However, users have to navigate through the watch’s various menus, either by touching its display or utilizing its multi-purpose digital crown, to access these features, and they won’t be much of help if a user lacks the means to do so.
Apple explains that this will no longer need to be the case, with it prepping to release a slew of software updates aimed towards improving accessibility for users with disabilities. These updates span across Apple’s product range and operating systems, introducing new ways for users to interact with their devices. iPadOS eye-tracking support will allow users to control their tablets with their eyes, while Apple’s VoiceOver app will be able to narrate images in more detail than before for those with poor eyesight. As for Apple Watch, it will be getting AssistiveTouch, an accessibility feature that recognizes its wearers’ hand gestures and translates them into actions and commands. Users can get a hold of these features once Apple releases the updates later this year.
How To Use Apple Watch’s AssistiveTouch Feature
AssistiveTouch utilizes the Apple Watch’s various built-in sensors to determine its wearer’s intention. For example, a user will be able to answer a call by clenching their fist twice. Doing the same gesture while running, meanwhile, can start and stop a timer. Pinching the index finger and thumb will allow users to toggle through available options and clenching again will select a highlighted option, making it possible to navigate through the Apple Watch’s plethora of health-monitoring features with just one hand.
Another means of navigation will be through the use of Motion Pointer, activated by a shake of the wrist. This will bring up a circular pointer that users will be able to manipulate by tilting their wrists in the desired direction. Tilting the pointer off-screen will allow users to switch interface windows while letting it hover on top of an option for a few seconds will select it. Users will also be able to access the Motion Pointer by double-clenching in certain apps, like Workout, and picking it from the action menu using the same pinching and clenching gestures. AssistiveTouch might require more effort than the standard operation of an Apple Watch, but for some it will be a huge benefit. It’s certainly a lot more practical than Apple’s blow-activated technology idea.
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