watchOS 8.3 Release Candidate Expands AssistiveTouch to Older Apple Watch Models

The watchOS 8.3 release candidate has expanded AssistiveTouch, allowing users to control their Apple Watch using only hand gestures, to older Apple Watch models after the feature was previously exclusive to only newer Apple Watches.

assistivetouch apple watch featured
Apple first previewed the feature in May as part of its continued commitment to making its products accessible to as many people as possible. AssistiveTouch uses a combination of data from onboard Apple Watch sensors to notice subtle changes in muscle movements and tendon activity. Using gestures like a clinch or pinch, users can control their Apple Watch without touching the screen.

AssistiveTouch for watchOS enables people with upper-body limb differences to use Apple Watch without ever having to touch the display or controls. Using built-in motion sensors and on-device learning, Apple Watch detects subtle differences in muscle movements and tendon activity, letting you control the display through hand gestures like a pinch or a clench. This feature also works with VoiceOver so you can navigate Apple Watch with one hand while using a cane or leading a service animal. Answer incoming calls, control an onscreen motion pointer, and access Notification Center, Control Center, and more.

The feature was previously exclusive to newer Apple Watch models, such as the Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE. Now, with the last several watchOS 8.3 betas and the release candidate released this week, Apple has expanded the feature to include older Apple Watch models such as the Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5. The expansion was first noted on Twitter and later picked up on Reddit.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 7
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Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

Tres Avatar
7 weeks ago
It's great that they're rolling this out to more models.

I have a physical disability that makes it hard (although not impossible) to use my Apple Watch while standing.

However, I've tried this feature quite a bit on my Series 7 and found it to be unreliable and frustrating to use (similar to the "back tap" feature on iPhones).

I guess if it was absolutely impossible for me to use my watch then I'd just get used to it and adapt, but I hope they keep working to improve this feature. It feels like it would benefit from some dedicated hardware, like an accessory of some kind.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kleber20 Avatar
7 weeks ago
In two more years hopefully they will add it to my cracked screen Apple Watch 2 :)
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LoveTo Avatar
7 weeks ago
I was planning to upgrade just for the novelty.. ?
Can continue with my good old series 5 for a couple of years more now.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarAnalogy Avatar
7 weeks ago

It's great that they're rolling this out to more models.

I have a physical disability that makes it hard (although not impossible) to use my Apple Watch while standing.

However, I've tried this feature quite a bit on my Series 7 and found it to be unreliable and frustrating to use (similar to the "back tap" feature on iPhones).

I guess if it was absolutely impossible for me to use my watch then I'd just get used to it and adapt, but I hope they keep working to improve this feature. It feels like it would benefit from some dedicated hardware, like an accessory of some kind.
I was wondering how well this works, it seems more like an experiment than a finished feature.

I also find back tap too unreliable to use.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
svish Avatar
7 weeks ago
Nice to know that older apple watches are not left behind.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bb9 Avatar
7 weeks ago
?? the new accessibility can trigger siri … in a reliable way. Cheers.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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