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.
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.