On Apple’s iPhones, the haptic touch feature is when you make a touch and hold gesture on your screen to access additional options within apps and within iOS. Haptic touch first appeared with the iPhone XR and offered limited use in iOS 12. However, with the introduction of both iOS 13 and the iPhone 11 Series phones, Apple expanded haptic touch options across most of its iPhone line-up, including older models. Apple even decided to replace the much-loved 3D Touch with this haptic touch.
There is a lot of disagreement about Apple’s decision to replace 3D Touch with Haptic Touch on iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro & Pro Max. Apple believes Haptic Touch offers just as good of an experience as 3D Touch, without needing the additional hardware and pressure sensitivity than 3D touch required.
With a haptic touch, folks use long-presses to access pop-up menus that offer quick actions. With some apps, you can even peek into the app’s contents. However, one feature that is missing with haptic touch is the peek and pop–that many 3D touch users absolutely loved!
3D Touch has always been a divisive iPhone feature. Many people have never found a use while others say they can’t live without it. However, there are many functions of 3D Touch which could simply be accomplished by a touch and hold on the display, eliminating the extra stress on your finger too. 3D Touch naysayers have raised these points for years.
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Haptic Touch on iPhone 11 Series and XR
Apple has finally given in to the idea. The iPhone 11 models and the iPhone XR are not equipped with 3D Touch but get much of the functionality through a feature dubbed Haptic Touch. Never one to resist flashy feature names, Haptic Touch is Apple’s fancy designation for touching and holding your finger on the display.
The added layer of haptic feedback will help you recognize when the feature is triggered. And with Apple’s excellence in haptic feedback technology, it makes you wonder if 3D Touch is on it’s way out.
The current 3D Touch technology is sort of one flavor.
It does not allow you for multiple configurations. When it comes to haptic touch, Apple has shown that it can allow users to customize the haptic intensity.
This is clearly exemplified in the Apple Watch settings, where users can adjust the intensity of the Haptic feedback.
It is possible that Apple may introduce some additional features around Haptic touch as we move forward.
Apple improved its haptic engine technology with the introduction of iPhone X.
This was evident by the replacement of the mechanical home button and other places where you get the haptic feedback on the iPhone X & XS.
Users that have come to like the haptic feedback technology on the iPhone X swear by it so we are hoping that it would be a good experience on the iPhone 11 models and the XR.
What’s the difference between Haptic Touch and 3D Touch?
The biggest difference between 3D Touch and Haptic Touch is that 3D Touch responds to different levels of pressure while Haptic Touch responds to how long you press the screen.
iPhone that supported 3D Touch had pressure-sensitive hardware installed (which made them a lot more expensive.) Haptic touch does not require this type of hardware since it does not need to register pressure intensity.
To access Haptic Touch, long-press an app icon to see the additional menu options for that app.
Adjust your iPhone’s Haptic Touch settings
On iPhone 11 or XR, it’s easy to adjust the amount of time needed to activate Haptic Touch when you use a touch-and-hold gesture.
- Go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Haptic Touch (for older iOS, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Haptic Touch)
- Choose Fast or Slow
- To test, touch the flower or flashlight icon under Touch duration test
How to turn off Haptic Touch on my iPhone
Sadly, you cannot entirely turn off haptic touch on your iPhone. What you can do is turn off that tapping you feel on-screen when long-pressing. But you cannot turn off the on-screen menu options associated with haptic touch.
You can turn off the haptic taps in Settings > Sounds & Haptics > and toggle off System Haptics.
Haptic Touch to the iPad?
Another possibility Haptic Touch brings to the table is 3D Touch functionality on iPad.
3D Touch was never realistic on an iPad because of of…well…physics.
However, touching and holding your finger on your iPad is practical where 3D Touch would lead to many iPads toppling over.
I often find myself working on an iPad and wishing for the ability to pop into a photo or view a link without changing apps.
I’ve personally found quite a few uses for 3D Touch and use the feature quite often. I think Haptic Touch would be an excellent addition to the iPad.
3D Touch comes to all iPhones, iPad, and iPod (7th generation) with iOS 13 and iPadOS Quick Actions!
With the introduction of haptic touch devices, like the iPhone XR & iPhone 11, Apple changed the way a long press works. Long presses now open quick action menus, just like 3D Touch but without the haptic feedback (unless you iPhone model supports haptics.)
Quick Actions with a long press don’t require an iPhone to include a pressure-sensitive 3D Touch screen. These quick action menus offer features just like 3D Touch, including Peek and app-related features. This feature is available on all iPhones, iPads and the seventh-generation iPod touch that run iOS 13 and above or iPadOS and higher.
Will Apple fix the biggest problem with 3D Touch or retire it?
I was fascinated with the idea of 3D Touch when it was introduced.
It did add an extra layer of user interface to the iPhone.
I still think there are many improvements Apple could make to the functionality. The problem is knowing when and where 3D Touch can be used. It’s baffling Apple hasn’t added any indications of where 3D Touch can be used.
If I had to guess, Apple feels the small percentage of iOS devices that support 3D Touch hasn’t warranted the attention to push the feature more.
Now that 3D Touch functionality is coming to more iPhones, iPads, and iPods in iOS 13 and iPadOS with Quick Actions and long presses, I hope more time is spent developing these features.