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 9
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Popular Stories

Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
2022 back to school apple feature

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launching This Week

Monday June 17, 2024 12:27 pm PDT by
Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion for university students in the United States and Canada this week, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple's back to school sales provide students with a free Apple gift card when purchasing a Mac or an iPad, and this year's promotion could help Apple push the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro models. Last year, Apple offered U.S....
apple watch series 9 display

Kuo: Apple Watch Series 10 to Get Larger Screen and Thinner Design

Monday June 17, 2024 1:20 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 10 will be thinner and come in larger screen sizes than previous models, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In his latest industry note -10-and-98075c44ce92">shared on Medium, Kuo said the screen size options on the next-generation Apple Watch will increase from 41mm to 45mm, and from 45mm to 49mm, while being encased in a thinner design. For reference,...
M4 Real Feature Red

M4 MacBook Pro Models Expected to Launch in Late 2024

Tuesday June 18, 2024 10:50 am PDT by
MacBook Pro models with an M4 chip are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2024, according to display analyst Ross Young. In a tweet for subscribers, Young said that panel shipments for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are set to begin in the third quarter of 2024, which suggests a launch toward the end of the year. Apple started its M4 chip refresh in May with the launch...
Apple Pay Later feature 1

Apple Discontinuing Apple Pay Later

Monday June 17, 2024 11:44 am PDT by
Apple is discontinuing Apple Pay Later, the buy now, pay later feature that it just launched last October. Apple Pay Later is being discontinued as of today, but people who have existing Apple Pay Later loans will be able to continue to pay them off and manage them through the Wallet app. Apple announced plans to end the feature in a statement provided to 9to5Mac, which also notes that...
watchOS 11 Thumb 2 1

watchOS 11 Supports Automatic Nap Detection

Monday June 17, 2024 4:05 pm PDT by
watchOS 11 appears to include a new feature that allows an Apple Watch to automatically detect and record when you're taking a nap. As shared on Reddit, an Apple Watch owner took a nap and was able to see the sleep data recorded in the Health app, despite not putting the device in Sleep Mode. Right now, the Apple Watch only tracks and records sleep when it is in Sleep Mode, and there is no...
iPod Nano vs iPod Pro Ad Feature 1

Apple Developing Thinner MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone

Monday June 17, 2024 2:22 am PDT by
Apple intends to slim down the MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone, with the new ultra-thin M4 iPad Pro a sign of the company's new design trajectory, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. When the M4 iPad Pro was unveiled last month, Apple touted it as the company's thinnest product ever, and even compared it to the 2012 iPod nano to emphasize its slim dimensions. Writing in the latest ...

Top Rated Comments

Tres Avatar
33 months ago
Deleted.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kleber20 Avatar
33 months ago
In two more years hopefully they will add it to my cracked screen Apple Watch 2 :)
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LoveTo Avatar
33 months 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
33 months 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
33 months ago
Nice to know that older apple watches are not left behind.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bb9 Avatar
33 months ago
?? the new accessibility can trigger siri … in a reliable way. Cheers.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)