Apple Watch Double Tap feature is nowhere near as useful as I hoped

The Double Tap functionality is one of the primary characteristics of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. Since it wasn’t accessible when these smart watches were first announced in September, I believe Apple used the delay to build more buzz and expectation.

Then, Cupertino launched watchOS 10.1 with support for Double Tap before the end of October. I couldn’t wait to test out this new feature, which allowed me to use my watch with only one hand and without ever touching the screen by double-tapping my index and thumb.

How does Double Tap work?

Apple Watch double tap icon appears at the top of the Series 9 screen.
Apple Watch double tap icon appears at the top of the Series 9 screen. Image source: Apple Inc.

According to Apple, the speedier Neural Engine included with the S9 SoC powers the Double Tap function on the newest Apple Watch models. This Neural Engine uses a new machine learning algorithm to process data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and optical heart sensor.

While it is possible to replicate this gesture with nearly any Apple Watch, despite its complicated appearance, Apple claims that Double Tap is only compatible with the Series 9 and Ultra 2 models due to its built-in feature, which uses less battery life and is more accurate than the accessibility gesture found on earlier models.

Why was I disappointed with Double Tap on the Apple Watch Ultra 2?

watchOS 10.2 beta / Apple Watch Ultra 2 Now Playing section appears close to pair of HomePod miniImage source: Jos Adorno for BGR

I found that Double Tap wasn’t as useful as I had anticipated after using it for a few weeks in various use-case scenarios. This was primarily due to the fact that Double Tap always offers the first action that is displayed on the screen. For instance, double touching an iMessage notice will cause me to respond to it.

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In certain literature, this is quite helpful. However, I merely want to ignore the message for the majority of them. For instance, Apple used a picture of a woman turning off an alarm clock in the morning to advertise this feature. I was stupid to think that double-tapping my alarm would disable it. It does nothing more than hit snooze, which means I have to hit the screen again after nine minutes.

The primary action with X is to “like” a notice. Who says, though, that I should appreciate a mention or a tweet that someone I follow posted?

Having said that, after experimenting with several scenarios, I found that this capability was useful only in two situations: either to respond to a message or to pause a timer while cooking. Aside from that, I frequently discovered that I didn’t initiate this gesture or received an unexpected response.

Wrap up

Joshua Hawkins of BGR was correct when he stated that he would never use this feature because it was the most exciting. I’m sure Apple has put a lot of work into this technology, and this is only the beginning of many interesting new features. However, I don’t think it’s for me right now.

Let’s see whether Apple updates its algorithm or allows me to personalize this feature for each app in the future.

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