User interactions on Apple Watch generate touch events and gestures. When the user taps a button or another control, Apple Watch calls that control’s associated action method. You define action methods for the controls in your interface and use them to respond to user interactions. The system also provides automatic responses for the following gestures:

  • Taps trigger action-based events in interface elements
  • Vertical swipes scroll the current screen or swipe between detail rows in a table
  • Horizontal swipes display the previous or next page in a page-based interface
  • Left edge swipes navigate back to a parent screen in a hierarchical interface

Apps can use custom gesture recognizers to enhance the built-in gesture handling capabilities provided by the system. Custom gesture recognizers let you detect taps, swipes, pans, and long-presses and turn them into corresponding actions within your app.

Do not replace the built-in gesture recognizers. Use custom gesture recognizers to supplement the built-in gesture handling capabilities. Typically, you use custom gesture recognizers in elements that do not normally respond to touch events, such as group elements, SpriteKit scenes, and SceneKit scenes. You can also use gesture recognizers to support gestures, such as double-taps, that are not handled by the system.

Do not use long-press gestures in interfaces that have Force Touch menus. The act of pressing firmly on Apple Watch to activate a menu can also be interpreted as a long-press gesture.

Avoid using standard gestures to perform nonstandard actions. Unless your app is a game in active gameplay, redefining the meaning of standard gestures leads to confusion and complexity.