Gestures

People can use several standard gestures to interact with watchOS apps. In addition to handling the standard gestures, your app can define custom gesture recognizers that supplement the system’s gesture handling capabilities by:

  • Enabling gestures in elements that don’t handle them by default, such as SpriteKit and SceneKit scenes
  • Recognizing nonstandard gestures, such as pinch, double tap, and rotation

Avoid using standard gestures to perform nonstandard actions. Redefining the meaning of standard gestures adds complexity and can lead to confusion.

People generally expect the following standard gestures to behave the same in every watchOS experience.

Tap. A tap selects a button or an item.

Drag. Dragging on the screen scrolls the current view or adjusts a slider.

Swipe. A swipe reveals another screen. Swiping in different directions can have different effects:

  • Downward swipes in a content area can reveal contextual buttons or search elements.
  • Horizontal swipes typically reveal the next or previous screen in a page-based app.
  • Vertical swipes can scroll the current screen or move between detail rows in a table.

Edge swipe. Swiping from the edge of the screen can navigate or reveal controls or information:

  • Swiping down from the top edge reveals Notification Center.
  • On system screens, swiping up from the bottom edge reveals Control Center; on app screens, people must first long-press at the bottom of the screen before swiping up.
  • Left-edge swipes navigate back to a parent screen in a hierarchical interface.

Firm press and long press. In versions of watchOS before watchOS 7, people could press firmly on the display to do things like change the watch face or reveal a hidden menu called a Force Touch menu. In watchOS 7 and later, system apps make previously hidden menu items accessible in a related screen or a settings screen. If you formerly supported a long-press gesture to open a hidden menu, consider relocating the menu items elsewhere. For guidance, see Menus.