You'll Soon Be Able to Control an Apple Watch Using Hand Gestures

Apple today previewed a long list of new accessibility features coming soon, including AssistiveTouch for the Apple Watch, which will allow users to control an Apple Watch without ever having to touch the display or controls.


Aided by on-device machine learning, the Apple Watch's gyroscope, accelerometer, and heart rate sensor will be able to detect subtle differences in muscle movement and tendon activity, and these movements will allow users to navigate a cursor on the Apple Watch's display through a series of hand gestures, like a pinch or a clench.

AssistiveTouch on the Apple Watch will enable customers who have limb differences to more easily answer incoming calls, control an on-screen motion pointer, access Notification Center and Control Center, and more.

Apple says AssistiveTouch for the Apple Watch will be available with a software update. The feature will likely be part of watchOS 8, which is expected to be unveiled alongside iOS 15, macOS 12, and tvOS 15 at WWDC 2021 next month.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

macduke Avatar
9 months ago
This is great news. I have a friend who is missing everything past his elbow on one side. He's quite capable, able to go rock climbing, mountain biking, etc. But something like an Apple Watch can be difficult to control. I'm sure he will be excited about this! I love Apple's stance on accessibility and using technology to improve people's lives. It puts most other companies to shame.

Here is Tim Cook's response to a shareholder saying they should focus only on the ROI and not other things like accessibility or the environment:


"When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind, I don't consider the bloody ROI. If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock."

―Tim Cook
I gained a lot of respect for Mr. Tim Apple that day.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jezbd1997 Avatar
9 months ago
Okay this is definitely one of the coolest things I've ever seen
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alexandr Avatar
9 months ago
getting more and more useful. freakin' apple!
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArPe Avatar
9 months ago
Good thing I wear watch on left wrist and pee with right hand. Don’t want to accidentally answer calls like that when I am busy.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DrunkSkunk Avatar
9 months ago
I cant wait for this. Being disabled with only having one arm it has put a hamper on me getting an Apple Watch. When this comes out I will be finally able to get one and use it. So excited!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FrizzleFryBen Avatar
9 months ago
This is an incredible enhancement! I was literally JUST playing with "Pointer Control" in Accessibility settings on my MBA for the first time. I was only using it to control a powerpoint, but what amazing accessibility functionality that Apple (fairly quietly) offers. I don't have any physical limitations that would be assisted with these advancements, but I think it's wonderful and impressive that Apple pays attention and actively adds these features.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

apple watch series 6 blood oxygen monitoring 1

University Health Network Launches Apple Watch Heart Failure Study That Uses Blood Oxygen App

Thursday February 18, 2021 12:32 pm PST by
The University Health Network today announced the launch of a new study that will aim to find out how the Apple Watch can help with the early identification of heart failure progression. Cardiologist Dr. Heather Ross is teaming up with Apple to compare data collected by the Apple Watch to data routinely collected from the physical tests heart failure patients undergo. The study will...
apple watch series 3 trio

Apple Watch Series 3 Owners Now Required to Perform Restore When Updating Due to Storage Constraints

Thursday May 27, 2021 3:12 pm PDT by
Following the iOS 14.6 and watchOS 7.5 updates, Apple Watch Series 3 owners who update their devices to a new version of watchOS are prompted to unpair and re-pair the Apple Watch from the iPhone during the update process because of storage space constraints. The GPS-only version of the Apple Watch Series 3 only has 8GB of internal storage, which limits the amount of space available for...
Kardia Band apple watch

AliveCor Files Antitrust Suit Against Apple for Preventing Third-Party Irregular Heart Rhythm Analysis on Apple Watch

Wednesday May 26, 2021 10:34 am PDT by
AliveCor, a company that that has developed an ECG 'KardiaBand' for the Apple Watch, today filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple that accuses the Cupertino company of "monopolistic conduct." According to AliveCor, Apple's decision to exclude third-party heart rate analysis providers from the Apple Watch has harmed AliveCor and impacted patients and consumers. To go along with the...
7

Apple Seeds Fifth Beta of watchOS 7.4 to Developers

Tuesday March 23, 2021 10:08 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the fifth beta of an upcoming watchOS 7.4 update to developers for testing purposes, with the new beta coming one week release of the fourth beta and over a month after the launch of watchOS 7.3 with "Time to Walk" functionality, expanded ECG availability, and a new Unity watch face. To install the ‌watchOS 7.4 beta, developers need to download the proper configuration...
7

Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of watchOS 7.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Monday March 15, 2021 10:07 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming watchOS 7.4 update to developers for testing purposes, with the new beta coming two weeks release of the third beta and over a month after the launch of watchOS 7.3 with "Time to Walk" functionality, expanded ECG availability, and a new Unity watch face. To install the ‌watchOS 7.4 beta, developers need to download the proper configuration...
applewatchse

Apple Seeds watchOS 7.5 Release Candidate to Developers

Monday May 17, 2021 10:08 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the release candidate version of an upcoming watchOS 7.5 update to developers for testing purposes, with the new beta approximately a week after the release of the third beta. To install the ‌watchOS 7.5 beta, developers need to download the proper configuration profile from the Apple Developer Center. Once the profile is in place, the watchOS 7.5 beta can be downloaded...
apple watch series 6 refurbished

Apple Now Selling Refurbished Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE Models

Thursday April 29, 2021 10:37 am PDT by
Apple today began selling refurbished versions of the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE, both of which were released last September. Pricing on refurbished Series 6 models starts at $339, a $60 discount off of the regular price, and pricing on the SE starts at $239, which is $40 off of the standard price. These entry-level prices are for the aluminum 40mm models with GPS, with...
maxresdefault

Apple Highlights Apple Watch Series 6 Features in 'The Future of Health is on Your Wrist' Ads

Monday February 22, 2021 9:11 am PST by
Apple today shared new Apple Watch ads on its YouTube channel, highlighting the water resistance, ECG, and sleep tracking capabilities of the Apple Watch Series 6. The short 38 second ads each focus on a specific Apple Watch feature, with a narrator explaining how the Apple Watch works under water, when taking an ECG, and when being used for sleep tracking. All of the ads feature the...

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Review: M1 Max MacBook Pro After Three Months

Wednesday January 19, 2022 11:30 am PST by
It's now been a few months since the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models launched in October, and MacRumors video editor Dan Barbera has been using one of the new machines since they debuted. Over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, Dan has shared a three month review of his MacBook Pro to see how it has held up over time and how it's changed his workflow. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube ...
iphone se 2020 top

New iPhone SE Likely to Launch in April Based on Production Timeframe

Wednesday January 19, 2022 6:44 am PST by
Apple suppliers will begin producing display panels for the third-generation iPhone SE this month, with final assembly of the device likely to start in March, according to information shared by display industry consultant Ross Young. Based on this production timeframe, Young believes the third-generation iPhone SE is likely to launch in the second half of April, or perhaps in early May at...
AirPods 3 New Firmware Feature

Apple Updates AirPods 3 Firmware to Version 4C170

Tuesday January 18, 2022 11:46 am PST by
Apple today released a new 4C170 firmware update for the AirPods 3, an update from the prior 4C165 that was made available in December. Apple does not offer details on what's included in new firmware updates for the AirPods‌, so we don't know what improvements or bug fixes the new firmware brings. There is no standard way to upgrade the ‌AirPods‌‌ software, but firmware is...
iPad Air Feature 2 green

New Apple Products Filed in Regulatory Database, Likely Including New iPhone SE and iPad Air

Tuesday January 18, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Apple today filed unreleased iPhone and iPad models in the Eurasian Economic Commission database, as spotted by French blog Consomac. The filings likely represent the rumored third-generation iPhone SE, fifth-generation iPad Air, and potentially more. The unreleased iPhone models have the identifiers A2595, A2783, and A2784, while the unreleased iPad models have the identifiers A2588, A2589, ...
iphone 5g mmwave

U.S. Airlines Warn of 'Catastrophic' Crisis With Impending 5G Rollout, AT&T and Verizon Agree to Delay Around Airports

Tuesday January 18, 2022 10:35 am PST by
Verizon and AT&T's upcoming rollout of new C-Band 5G technology could cause chaos and lead to widespread delays of passenger and cargo flights, major U.S. airlines said on Monday in a letter sent to the White House National Economic Council, the FAA, and the FCC (via Reuters). "Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially...
microsoft office icons

Microsoft Releases Office for Mac Update With Full Apple Silicon Support in Excel

Tuesday January 18, 2022 4:15 am PST by
Microsoft has released a new version of its Office for Mac productivity suite that includes an updated Excel app with 100% native support for Apple silicon machines. According to the release notes accompanying version 16.57, Excel will now run natively on Macs powered by Apple's M1-series processors without having to use the Rosetta 2 translation layer, which means anyone using a Mac with an ...
appleeducation

Apple's US Education Store Now Requires Institution Verification to Buy Discounted Products

Wednesday January 19, 2022 2:22 am PST by
Apple is now requiring that customers in the United States verify that they're active students, teachers, or staff members at an educational institution in order to access education discounts on products. Previously, little verification was needed for customers to purchase products through Apple's education store in the United States. Apple's education stores offer models of the iPad and Mac ...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID

Rumored iPhone 14 Pro Feature Delayed Until Next Year

Wednesday January 19, 2022 3:00 am PST by
Apple's long-rumored under-display Face ID technology will not be coming to the iPhone 14 Pro, according to recent reports. Based on the latest rumors, it now looks unlikely that the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max will feature Face ID technology under the display as several reports claimed over the past year. Display industry consultant Ross Young, who often reveals ...