What is Apple’s Haptic Touch technology, how does it work and what can you do with it?
Haptic touch is used in the new iPhone SE, but what is it? We’ll explain all in this feature.
Apple introduced a pressure-sensitive technology in 2015 called 3D Touch. But in 2018 the tech fell out of favour, and the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 models replaced it with Haptic Touch.
This is everything you need to know about Haptic Touch, how it works, what it lets you do and how it is different to 3D Touch.
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How does Haptic Touch work and how is it different to 3D Touch?
3D Touch-enabled devices from the iPhone 6S onwards enabled you to apply pressure to the screen and get a shortcut menu, particularly on app icons.
Apple’s Haptic Touch technology is similar to 3D Touch but it doesn’t rely on pressure. Instead, Haptic Touch kicks in when a user long-presses the screen, offering a small vibration as acknowledgement following the press; haptic feedback, hence the Haptic Touch name.
Haptic Touch is software-based rather than hardware-based, while 3D Touch was hardware-based, requiring a different type of screen technology that would have made it difficult to deliver the edge-to-edge displays we now expect.
With 3D Touch, different results appeared depending on the force with which you press – such as Peek and Pop. You can read all about 3D Touch in our separate feature if you have a 3D Touch compatible device.
What can you do with Haptic Touch?
When 3D Touch first launched, only a few apps were compatible – predominantly Apple’s native apps. As the months and years went on however, more third-party apps built-in compatibility and while 3D Touch was never a feature we used that much, there were some pretty cool shortcuts.
According to Apple, Haptic Touch “lets you do things faster, like take selfies without launching the camera app”. Haptic Touch now offers a lot of functionalities very similar to 3D Touch – you are unlikely to miss 3D Touch at all (if you used it in the first place).
With Haptic Touch, when you long-press some apps, widgets appear along with a shortcut menu, for other apps just a shortcut menu will appear and for others that haven’t developed Haptic Touch compatibility yet, an option to share the app or rearrange apps appears instead.
What apps work with Haptic Touch?
Most of Apple’s native apps work with Haptic Touch – though not all – and there are a few third-party apps too. Here’s a list of a few of our favourite icons to long-press on to deliver shortcuts:
- Torch at the bottom of your lock screen for turning on or off
- Notification on the lock screen to see more details
- Camera app to see a menu for take a selfie, starting a video or taking a portrait selfie
- Calendar app to add an event quickly, and see what’s coming up next in your day
- Photos app to see your most recent photos, your favourites, search or show photos from one year ago
- Phone app to create a new contact, search for a contact or view your most recent call
- Maps app to send your location, mark your location or search nearby
- Settings app to open Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Mobile Data and Battery settings
- Mail app to open all inboxes, create a new email, search emails or see VIP messages
- Safari to show your bookmarks, start a new private tab, start a new tab or show your reading list
- Clock to create an alarm or start a stopwatch
- Siri Shortcuts to create a new shortcut
- Weather app to see the weather in your location at a quick glance
- Health app to see your Medical ID, a summary or all your health data
- WhatsApp to start a new chat, search chats, open the cameras or see starred messages
- Slack to snooze notifications or search your DMs and channels
- Instagram to open the camera, create a new post, view activity or see direct messages
- Sonos to resume your last played, search or see My Sonos
- Waze to drive home, drive to work, send your location or search an address
- Amazon to open search, see today’s deals or scan a product
- ASOS to see new in, saved items or open search
The list above is just a few of the ones we’ve used regularly, but if you try long-pressing any of your favourite apps, you might be surprised to see a shortcut menu appear.
How do you change the sensitivity of Haptic Touch?
There are two sensitivity options for Haptic Touch – fast or slow. Fast will deliver shortcut menus quicker so you don’t have to press an icon for as long.
To change the sensitivity of Haptic Touch:
Open Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Haptic Touch > Select Fast or Slow.