What Is The iPhone 11’s Haptic Touch?
Instead of including a 3D Touch display with the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR, Apple introduced a dumbed-down version of the technology on the latest iPhones. Apple calls it “Haptic Touch” and you can think of it as the poor man’s 3D Touch. Haptic Touch enables the most recent iPhones to have 3D Touch-like features, but without the real experience.
The iPhone 11’s and XR’s displays, in other words, can’t really detect the force or amount of pressure a user touches the screen with. Instead, Haptic Touch registers how long a user leaves his or her finger on a UI element and then, if the finger is left long enough, enables a contextual menu or other action from the touch. It’s called “Haptic Touch” because, like 3D Touch, the iPhone will vibrate and make a small bump that can be felt by the user’s hand (“haptic” means relating to the sense of touch).
How To Use Haptic Touch On The iPhone 11 & iPhone XR
The good news is Haptic Touch is activated by default on the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR. The bad news is Haptic Touch does not support nearly as many actions and contextual menus as 3D Touch does–but this will change as Apple brings more software updates to iOS. Here are some of the things Haptic Touch works with on the latest iPhones:
- Haptic Touch allows you to access the torch and camera shortcut buttons on the lock screen as well as numerous other secondary features of elements in the Control Center.
- It also allows you to turn the keyboard into a trackpad, as well as trigger Live Photo movement, and trigger quick replies in notifications.
- In iOS 13 long-pressing a link in Safari will display a small window preview of the link’s destination with various action buttons below it.
- On iPad, long-pressing will also activate Drag and Drop interactions.
To use Haptic Touch, you simply need to press and hold on a compatible UI element. Users can also modify how long they need to press and hold on an element before Haptic Touch activates. To do this, tap the Settings app and then go to Accessibility > Touch > 3D & Haptic Touch. Under “Touch Duration” choose between fast or slow.
“”Fast” is the default Haptic Touch setting while “Slow” means you’ll need to place your finger on the screen and leave it there for twice as long.
Say Goodbye To 3D touch
The iPhone 11 that Apple introduced in the autumn has generally been well-received among consumers and tech pundits alike. But while the iPhone 11 got many improvements over last year’s iPhone XS–like the processor and camera–Apple’s new phone is missing one major feature all iPhones have had since the iPhone 6s: 3D Touch.
3D Touch allowed the iPhone’s screen to record the force of a touch and launch contextual items. For example, if you 3D Touch on an app icon on an iPhone 6s display (or above)–including the iPhone XS–you’ll feel a bump and then a contextual menu will pop up from behind the icon.
3D Touch is also implemented around other myriad areas of iOS, from links and pictures to advanced in-game controls.
But with the iPhone XR and iPhone 11, Apple decided not to include 3D Touch. This is mainly down to limitations the iPhone XR’s “Liquid Retina” display enforced. There just wasn’t room for a 3D Touch panel on the XR’s rounded display. So, it’s time to say goodbye to 3D Touch from all future iPhones. From here on out, it’s Haptic Touch only.
Find out why the iPhone 11, and not the iPhone 11 Pro Max, is the ONLY iPhone you need to buy right now…
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.