How to Use Hand Gestures With a Galaxy Watch 4

Answer calls, dismiss calls and alerts, and turn the watch on with gestures

What to Know

  • You can raise your arm to wake the display, shake your arm to answer calls, and twist your wrist to dismiss calls and alerts. 
  • To turn on gestures, open Settings > Advanced Settings and tap the toggle for each one you want to enable. 
  • The "raise arm to wake" gesture is enabled by default, but you need to turn on the other two gestures if you want to use them.

This article explains how to use hand gestures with a Galaxy Watch 4, including which hand gestures the watch recognizes, how to use them, and what you can do with each one.

How Do You Use Hand Gestures on Samsung Galaxy Watch 4?

Galaxy Watch 4 supports gestures, but it doesn't use the same gestures you may be used to from previous entries in the Galaxy Watch series. Your Galaxy Watch 4 also comes with most of the gestures disabled, so most of them don't work at all unless you expressly turn them on.

The exception is the raise to wake gesture, which automatically turns on the watch display whenever you raise your hand to look at the watch. That gesture can be disabled if you don't like it, though.

After you've enabled a gesture, you can use it by moving your arm or wrist in the specified manner.

The "raise arm to wake" gesture is on by default, but you can turn it back on by going to settings > display > raise wrist to wake if you turned it off accidentally.

Here’s how to turn on and use gestures on Galaxy Watch 4:

  1. From the main watch face, swipe down to access the quick panel.

    Swipe down to access the quick panel.
  2. Tap Settings (gear icon).

    The gear icon in the Galaxy Watch quick panel.
  3. Tap Advanced Settings.

    Advanced features in Galaxy Watch settings.
  4. Tap the gesture you want to enable.

    Answer calls highlighted in Galaxy Watch settings.
  5. Tap the toggle to turn it on.

    Answer calls toggle in Galaxy Watch gesture settings.

    This screen shows a short animation that demonstrates how to use the gesture, and you can also scroll down to access a tutorial.

  6. Once you've enabled the gestures, move your arm or wrist in the specified way to achieve the desired result.

    An enabled gesture in Galaxy Watch 4.

Which Hand Gestures Does Galaxy Watch 4 Recognize?

Galaxy Watch 4 supports three gesture controls: answering phone calls, dismissing alerts and calls, and waking the display. The answering calls and dismissing alerts gestures are off by default, so you have to turn them on manually, while the waking the display gesture is on by default, and you have to switch it off if you don’t like it.

You can't answer calls with the Galaxy Watch 4 unless it's connected to your phone via Bluetooth or you have the LTE version with an active mobile plan.

Here are the gestures that the Galaxy Watch 4 recognizes and a description of what each does:

  • Raise arm: Turns on the watch display. This gesture turns the watch on when you raise your arm to look at it. It isn’t necessary if you set the watch face to stay on at all times but leaving the display on continuously drains the battery quickly.
  • Shake arm twice, bent at the elbow: Answers calls. This gesture lets you answer phone calls without touching your watch or phone. It works with calls going to the watch itself if you have the LTE version and calls placed to your connected phone.
  • Rotate wrist twice: Dismisses calls, notifications, and other alerts. This gesture lets you reject phone calls without touching your watch or phone. The same motion dismisses alerts and alarms.
  • Does Samsung have quick gestures?

    You can use motions and gestures to control a Samsung Galaxy phone. To enable them, go to Settings > Advanced features. > Motions and gestures and toggle the desired gestures to On. Gestures include lift to wake, double-tap screen on/off, mute with gestures, and more.

  • How do I turn off Samsung gestures?

    On a Galaxy Watch 4, go to quick panel > Settings > Advanced Settings > tap a gesture and turn the toggle to Off. On a Samsung Galaxy phone, go to Settings > Advanced features > Motions and gestures > toggle gestures to Off.

  • What are Android gestures?

    There are several common Android gestures for phones and tablets. These include tap, click, or touch; double-tap or touch; long-press; swipe; pinch, and tilt. To access gesture settings on an Android device, go to Settings > System > Gestures > System navigation and choose the options you want to use.

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