How to use BMW gesture control on BMW iX

3 min read

BMW gesture

Many modern vehicles use touchscreen center consoles. While these feel very futuristic, and some have impressive refresh rates, they’re unsafe to use when driving. Traditional buttons can be felt, and muscle memory means you don’t even have to look. With touchscreens, this isn’t the case.
So, what to do about this? Well, the BMW iX gesture control feature is one such answer. Gesture control means you don’t have to physically press the screen, making it much safer to use while driving.
Granted, you can’t do everything using gesture controls – but that would be unsafe, regardless.
Other options include voice commands and automatic settings.
This article explains BMW iX gesture controls and how to use them. As always, read through your owner’s manual before using this feature in your car. It contains manufacturer advice and recommendations and should never be skipped over.

What is BMW iX gesture control?

The BMW iX gesture control system means you can wave your hand in front of the central display to use certain features.
This means there’s no need to actually tap the screen itself.
When you use gesture control, perform the gestures clearly, slowly, and confidently. You might need a little practice at first. The front passenger can also reach across to use gesture control themselves.

How to turn BMW iX gesture control on and off

Before you can use the BMW iX gesture control, you’ll need to turn it on.
If necessary, turn it off from the same menu. For instance, you might keep on accidentally using gesture control.
Follow the instructions below to navigate to the gesture control menu.

  1. Open the Menu.
  2. Go to Vehicle apps.
  3. Choose System settings.
  4. Select Gesture control.
  5. Activate or deactivate gesture control.

Using BMW iX gesture controls

The following section explains how to perform certain features. They’re arranged by feature rather than by gesture.

Selecting items on the system

Use this gesture to:

  • Select a highlighted item after using a voice command; or
  • Confirm a pop-up notification.

Point your index finger out, keeping your thumb and other fingers relaxed. Move your hand towards the screen and then back away from it.

Accepting or rejecting a phone call

You can use gesture controls to accept or reject incoming calls if your phone is connected to the car.
Accept calls by pointing your index finger out and moving your hand forwards and backward.
Reject calls by turning your hand on its side (thumb at the top, pinky at the bottom) and swiping to the right.

gesture accept phone call

Rejecting a pop-up notification

When the iX pops up with a notification you want to reject, turn your hand 90 degrees, so your thumb is at the top. Keeping this position, move your hand to the right in a swiping motion.

gesture reject phone call

Ending a voice command

Ending a voice command uses the same “reject” gesture.
Rotate your hand as if you were going to shake someone’s hand. Keep your thumb and fingers stiff and in line, and then swipe your whole hand right.

Increase or decrease the volume

Gesture control can be used in the iX to increase or decrease the volume output.

  • Increase the volume by moving your extended index finger in a clockwise direction.
    gesture increase the volume
  • Decrease the volume by moving it anticlockwise.
    gesture reduce the volume

It might take a moment for the gesture control to realize and alter the volume. Ensure you’re doing it relatively slowly.

Skipping through music tracks

Listening to music is something most people do in their cars, especially with the emergence of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

  • Skip forward a track by making a fist and sticking your thumb out. Turn your hand so your palm faces upwards and your thumb sticks out to the right. Move your fist towards the screen and back again.
  • Skip back a track by making a fist and sticking your thumb out. The thumb should point left with the palm facing down. Move your fist forward and backward in front of the screen.

gesture previous music track

Swipe through camera angles and views

When the vehicle is stationary, you can use this gesture to:

  • Turn the camera view in Parking view.
  • Turn the vehicle in Live Vehicle view.

Touch your thumb and index finger together. Swipe your hand to the left or right (depending on the desired view rotation).

gesture live vehicle turn camera view

Customizable gestures

The following gestures can be assigned to a feature of your choice:

  • Pointing the index and middle fingers at the screen.
    • This is called “Point two fingers at display” in the settings.

gesture perform individually assignable

  • With the palm facing down, open your hand, close it into a fist, and reopen it.
    • In the settings, the menus refer to this as “Show five-o-five fingers”.

gesture stretch out all five fingers

Assign these gestures in the settings by following these instructions:

  1. Open Vehicle Apps in the Menu.
  2. Choose System settings.
  3. Select Gesture control.
  4. Choose the gesture to which you want to assign a feature.
  5. Pick the feature.

Before using gesture control in the BMW iX, you should know the system limits. You’ll find these (and so much more) in the owner’s manual. Make sure you read it before operating your vehicle.
Below, you’ll find a PDF copy.

owners manual

By Ben Kitchen Ben is a qualified car mechanic with experience working in the industry. He now works as an automotive author, writing about all things vehicle-related. He’s excited about the potential held by electric cars of all shapes, sizes, and types.

Ben Kitchen Ben is a qualified car mechanic with experience working in the industry. He now works as an automotive author, writing about all things vehicle-related. He’s excited about the potential held by electric cars of all shapes, sizes, and types.

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