Haptic Touch Will Work With Notifications on iPhone XR in iOS 12.1.1

As noted by 9to5Mac, Haptic Touch can be used to expand notifications on the iPhone XR starting with iOS 12.1.1.

To use this feature, simply tap and hold a notification on the lock screen or in Notification Center for a split second. Once you feel haptic feedback from the Taptic Engine, let go and the notification will expand, providing more detailed information and contextual shortcuts, such as a reply field for iMessage conversations.

iMessage notification expanded with Haptic Touch on iPhone XR

Haptic Touch is simply a marketing name for a long press combined with haptic feedback from the Taptic Engine. The feature is a substitute for 3D Touch, which Apple wasn't able to include in the iPhone XR, as it had to remove the pressure-sensitive layer from the screen to achieve a nearly edge-to-edge LCD.

Haptic Touch works in only a few places, such as the flashlight and camera shortcuts on the lock screen, and in Control Center to pop open additional toggles and menus, but Apple recently confirmed it is working to bring the 3D Touch replacement to more places across iOS over time, and notifications is a start.

Mail notification expanded with Haptic Touch on iPhone XR

Haptic Touch can only be implemented for actions that don't already rely on a long press. For example, long-pressing on an app icon on the home screen enables "wiggle mode," allowing apps to be deleted or rearranged on the home screen, so 3D Touch's Quick Action menus are not supported on the iPhone XR.

Haptic Touch also doesn't support Peek and Pop for previewing content such as websites and messages since the feature relies on detecting multiple levels of pressure, and the iPhone XR does not have pressure sensitivity at all.

3D Touch features on iPhone 6s: Quick Actions on left, Peek and Pop on right

On the iPhone 6 and earlier, which lack 3D Touch and Haptic Touch, a notification can be expanded by sliding it to the left and tapping View. This is still an option on the iPhone XR, but the Haptic Touch solution is more convenient.

Haptic Touch support for notifications on the iPhone XR is functional in the second beta of iOS 12.1.1, seeded to developers and users enrolled in Apple's Beta Software Program on Wednesday. The update is a relatively minor one overall, so it will likely be released to the public fairly soon.

Related Roundup: iPhone XR
Buyer's Guide: iPhone XR (Buy Now)

Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Plans to Expand Uses of Haptic Touch on iPhone XR Over Time

By now, you've probably heard that the iPhone XR features a new technology called Haptic Touch instead of the usual 3D Touch.


Haptic Touch is simply a marketing name for a long press combined with haptic feedback from the Taptic Engine. The feature is a substitute for 3D Touch , which Apple wasn't able to include on the iPhone XR in order to achieve a nearly edge-to-edge LCD screen, a remarkable engineering feat.

The biggest downfall with Haptic Touch is that it currently works in only a few places, such as the flashlight and camera shortcuts on the lock screen, and in Control Center to pop open additional toggles and menus. Fortunately, that won't be the case forever, according to The Verge's Nilay Patel.

From Patel's iPhone XR review, emphasis ours:
Haptic Touch does not have equivalents to everything 3D Touch can do, however — I missed previewing links in Safari and Twitter quite a bit. Apple told me it's working to bring it to more places in iOS over time, but that it's going slow to make sure the implementation is right.
Apple did not provide a timeframe, but it's safe to assume that additional Haptic Touch gestures will be added in future software updates.

It'll be interesting to see where Apple expands Haptic Touch across iOS, as the feature can only be implemented for actions that don't already rely on a long press. For example, long-pressing on an app icon on the home screen enables "wiggle mode," allowing apps to be deleted or rearranged on the home screen.

For that reason, Haptic Touch does not work with Quick Actions when you long press on an app icon on the iPhone XR home screen. Haptic Touch also doesn't support Peek and Pop for previewing content such as links and messages.

3D Touch : Quick Actions on left, Peek and Pop on right

Apple already works around the lack of 3D Touch for keyboard trackpad mode. In iOS 12, users can simply tap and hold the space bar to enter the trackpad mode, which allows for easier movement of the cursor within text fields. This user interface change was more than likely inspired by the iPhone XR .

A few months ago, Barclays analysts said it is "widely understood" among Apple's supply chain partners that all 2019 iPhones will lack 3D Touch. If accurate, Apple's plans to expand Haptic Touch may go beyond software. For now, the pressure-sensitive feature lives on with the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

Related Roundup: iPhone XR
Buyer's Guide: iPhone XR (Buy Now)

Discuss this article in our forums