​Apple Watch gets more seriously cool accessibility features

Quick Actions and Mirroring coming with watchOS 9
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Apple has launched a bunch of new features for Apple Watch, aimed at those with accessibility needs.

First up is Apple Watch Mirroring, which enables the UI of the smartwatch to be mirrored on the iPhone.

That means that users can take advantage of using accessible features on iPhone to control key apps on the Apple Watch. That could be head tracking, voice control or external hardware, that enables those with upper body differences or motor disabilities.

The Mirroring feature can enable users to check the Heart app, take an ECG, use Walkie Talkie – or any app that resides exclusively on the Apple Watch.

Next up are new Quick Actions, which are being expanded to cover more features.

A double-pinch gesture while wearing the Apple Watch can now be mapped to a variety of features. It can to answer or end a phone call, dismiss a notification, play or pause media in the Now Playing app, and start/stop a workout session.

It’s part of the Assistive Touch suite of features that was rolled out for last year’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day. However, users will be able to enable Quick Actions, without turning on the full gamut of Assistive Touch.

Those features enable other gesture controls including clenching the fist, pinching fingers.

Perhaps coolest of all, shaking the wrist will summon a cursor (when Assistive Touch is enabled) which can be controlled by tilting the Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch is clearly a fantastic tool for able-bodied people – but it’s great that Apple is also working on bringing some of the smartwatches top health tracking features to those with disabilities and differences.

Last year, Assistive Touch landed on the new version of watchOS 8, that was unveiled at WWDC and landed in September.

So we could hear more about these features in June, and see them land with the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE 2.

TAGGED Apple Watch

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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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