A TikTok user is drawing tons of praise for her video revealing a series of Apple Watch hand gestures.
The hack, which highlights a little-known feature on the watch’s newer models, comes courtesy of user Elly Awesome (@ellyawesometech). The TikToker’s page is full of useful tech hacks, but one of her latest tips drew a huge amount of attention — partly because of how it could help people with disabilities.
In the video, Elly shows how the “amazing” feature lets users navigate their Apple Watch without ever touching the screen. The secret? Hand gestures.
The hand gestures are part of Apple’s AssistiveTouch tool. The feature is compatible with the Apple Watch SE and any Series 6 or later versions.
Activating the Apple Watch hand gestures is easy but as Elly shows, mastering them is a little harder. To turn on the feature, users can go to the Accessibility settings on their watch — or a connected iPhone — then click “on” next to AssistiveTouch.
There’s a preset designation for each hand gesture (you can see the breakdown here), or as Elly points out, you can also customize them yourself. You can even set an “activation gesture,” which allows you to turn on the feature with a simple hand movement.
“It’s an incredible feature,” Elly says in the clip.
The video drew more than 14 million views. In the comments, many pointed out how helpful the hand gestures are for people with limited mobility.
“I have one arm,” one user wrote. “This is great. I’m definitely getting one now.”
“Omg thank you so much,” another added.
Some users noted other benefits, such as using the feature in an emergency if you’re injured or unable to use your hands.
“How did I not know this?” another user wrote.
It’s just the latest TikTok hack to go viral for sharing accessibility-related features. In the past, users have also shared videos on how to unlock an iPhone with your voice and why it’s important to recognize the power of assistive technology.
That later video was just one viral moment, but it’s part of a much larger trend. As Liz Jackson previously argued in The New York Times, people with disabilities are, in many ways, the “original life hackers.”
Decades and decades ago — long before platforms like TikTok made life hacks a universal phenomenon, people with disabilities have been using innovating and design to adapt to spaces that weren’t originally crafted with their needs in mind.
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If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s interview with disability activist Aubrie Lee.
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