Haptic Touch vs 3D Touch: What’s the Difference?

With the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max, Apple did away with 3D Touch across its entire iPhone lineup, replacing the former 3D Touch feature with Haptic Touch.

In this guide, we'll go over everything you need to know about Haptic Touch and how it differs from the 3D Touch feature that's been available since the iPhone 6s.


What is Haptic Touch?


Haptic Touch is a 3D Touch-like feature that Apple first introduced in the 2018 iPhone XR and later expanded to its entire iPhone lineup.

Haptic Touch uses the Taptic Engine and provides haptic feedback when the screen is pressed on one of Apple's new iPhones. A Haptic Touch is a touch and hold gesture, and it can be used across the iOS 13 operating system.


Haptic Touch can be used by pressing in a relevant location until a little haptic pop is felt against the finger and a secondary menu pops up, with content varying based on where you're using the feature. A simple tap will activate one of the options on the secondary menu that pops up.

How is Haptic Touch different from 3D Touch?


3D Touch supports multiple levels of pressure, so you could have a softer press do one thing and a harder press do another thing. As an example, Apple used the multiple pressure levels for "Peek and Pop" gestures.

On a 3D Touch device, you were able "Peek" into a web link to see a preview, and then press harder to pop into it and open it up in Safari, for example. Those secondary "pop" gestures are not available with Haptic Touch because it's a single level of pressure (essentially a long press) rather than multiple pressure levels.


You can still sort of get the same functionality as Peek and Pop, but now it's more of a Peek and Tap. Just press and hold to activate a Peek with Haptic Touch and then tap the relevant section of the menu or preview that pops up.

Where does Haptic Touch work?


Haptic Touch works everywhere that 3D Touch works. You can use it on Home screen app icons to bring up Quick Actions, you can use it on links, phone numbers, addresses, and more to preview content or to activate different gestures on the iPhone or to bring up various contextual menus.


There are some notable differences in how Haptic Touch and 3D Touch behave. As an example, with 3D Touch, you could press anywhere on the keyboard to turn the iOS keyboard into a cursor. With Haptic Touch, you have to use that gesture on the space bar, which is an adjustment.

Deleting apps has also changed somewhat. Rather than pressing and holding briefly to make the apps "jiggle," a press and hold now brings up an option to "Rearrange" apps, which lets them be rearranged or deleted. You can still use the old method, but the press and hold needs to be a lot longer.

Below are some of the main things that Haptic Touch can do:

  • Activating Live Photos

  • Trackpad activation (with space bar)

  • Expand notification options

  • Activate Quick Actions on the Home screen

  • Bring up quick reply options in Messages

  • Preview links in Safari and access menu options

  • Open new tabs in Safari

  • Preview Photos and bring up menu options

  • Preview Mail messages and bring up quick actions

  • Activate the flash light on the Lock screen

  • Activate the camera on the Lock screen

  • Activate extra features in Control Center

  • Deleting apps (the new Rearrange option)


Haptic Touch essentially works across the iOS 13 operating system and in most of the Apple designed apps, along with some third-party apps. Almost all apps have extra elements that can be activated with a Haptic Touch gesture, so it's worth experimenting to figure out what's what.

Does Haptic Touch feel different?


Haptic Touch does feel different, mostly because it works a bit slower than 3D Touch gestures. Haptic Touch is a press and hold sensation, while 3D Touch is a faster press with force kind of gesture that activates quicker.

The actual haptic feedback component of Haptic Touch feels similar to the feedback received from a 3D Touch, so in that respect, it's close to indistinguishable. As mentioned, though, there's no secondary level of feedback when using Haptic Touch like there was with 3D Touch.

Why did Apple get rid of 3D Touch?


3D Touch was never available on the iPad, so Apple may have nixed it to make sure the iPhone and the iPad offer a similar experience.

With Haptic Touch and a long press on the iPad, the gestures used to get to additional contextual information like Quick Actions are the same. That was never the case with 3D Touch -- the iPad simply didn't have the extra gestures available.


3D Touch was also something of a fringe feature that was never mainstream, which could also be a reason why Apple decided to go with something that's simpler and ultimately more intuitive. One single press gesture is easier to use than a press gesture that supports multiple levels of pressure for different actions.

Where are the Haptic Touch controls?


Haptic Touch can be somewhat customized with an adjustable time that it takes to trigger Haptic Touch. You can choose between fast or slow activation, with the default setting being fast.


This feature is located in the Accessibility section of the Settings app:

  • Open up the Settings app.

  • Choose the Accessibility section.

  • Tap on "Touch."

  • Tap on "Haptic Touch."

There's an option to preview the Haptic Touch feedback options right in the Settings app. Most people are likely going to want to keep the Haptic Touch feedback set to Fast because even Fast is on the slow side compared to 3D Touch.

The Future of Haptic Touch


Now that 3D Touch has been eliminated in the 2019 iPhone lineup and many 3D Touch gestures have been tweaked to be more Haptic Touch friendly even on older iPhones, Haptic Touch seems to be the new standard.

We can expect Haptic Touch to be the new feedback feature in iPhones going forward, and it's not likely 3D Touch will be making a return.

Guide Feedback


Have questions about Haptic Touch, know of a feature we left out, or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Related Roundups: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro

This article, "Haptic Touch vs 3D Touch: What's the Difference?" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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3D Touch Likely Dropped in 2019 iPhones as Haptic Touch Expanded Across iPhones and iPads

Earlier this month, it was reported that 3D Touch will not be supported by 2019 iPhones. This rumor was surfaced by a team of Barclays analysts after they traveled to Asia and spoke with multiple Apple suppliers, likely meaning that there is evidence of 3D Touch being removed at the hardware level.


Now, on the software side, there are changes that suggest the rumor is accurate. It really looks like pressure-sensitive 3D Touch is going away.

Apple has confirmed that both "Quick Actions" menus that float above app icons on the home screen and "Peek" previews of emails, links, messages, and more are now supported on any iPhone or iPad that can run iOS 13 or iPadOS. These features were previously exclusive to iPhones with 3D Touch.

Apple's feature list for iOS 13 and iPadOS

Both features rely on a long press, aka pressing and holding, meaning this is effectively an expansion of the Haptic Touch functionality that debuted on the iPhone XR last year. Haptic Touch is simply a marketing term for a long press combined with haptic feedback from the Taptic Engine.

Notably, this means Quick Actions menus and Peek previews are now supported on the iPhone XR and the iPad Air 2 or newer for the first time ever.

Quick Actions on an iPad and iPhone XR for first time ever

The ability to invoke Quick Actions menus and Peek previews with a long press in iOS 13 is even supported on iPhones with 3D Touch, including the iPhone XS models, likely foreshadowing the removal of 3D Touch from 2019 iPhones.

3D Touch can still be used in iOS 13 on iPhones that support the feature, resulting in two ways to invoke Quick Actions menus. This includes the iPhone 6s through iPhone XS Max, excluding the iPhone SE. However, some users are unable to access 3D Touch settings in the first iOS 13 beta, which is likely a bug.

The transition from 3D Touch to Haptic Touch for Peek previews was hinted at a few weeks ago. As noted by developer Radek Pietruszewski, open source WebKit commits revealed that the APIs for the feature, previously known as Peek and Pop, would be deprecated in a future iOS version.

All in all, there is a strong possibility that 2019 iPhones will feature Haptic Touch instead of 3D Touch when they are released later this year.

(Screenshots: RayFirefist, BitVoiceFM)

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, iPhone XR, 2019 iPhones

This article, "3D Touch Likely Dropped in 2019 iPhones as Haptic Touch Expanded Across iPhones and iPads" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple Expected to Remove 3D Touch From All 2019 iPhones in Favor of Haptic Touch

Four years after 3D Touch debuted on the iPhone 6s, the pressure-sensitive feature appears to be on the chopping block.


Last week, in a research note shared with MacRumors, a team of Barclays analysts "confirmed" that 3D Touch "will be eliminated" in all 2019 iPhones, as they predicted back in August 2018. The analysts gathered this information from Apple suppliers following a trip to Asia earlier this month.

This isn't the first time we've heard this rumor. The Wall Street Journal said the same thing back in January.

Apple already replaced 3D Touch with Haptic Touch on the iPhone XR in order to achieve a nearly edge-to-edge LCD on the device, and it is likely the feature will be expanded to all 2019 iPhones. Haptic Touch is simply a marketing name for a long press combined with haptic feedback from the Taptic Engine.

It's unclear why Apple would remove 3D Touch from the next-generation iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, since Apple has already proven that it can integrate the feature into edge-to-edge OLED displays without issue.

Haptic Touch on the iPhone XR works in fewer places than 3D Touch, including the flashlight and camera shortcuts on the lock screen, in Control Center to view hidden toggles, and to expand notifications. Haptic Touch does not support Quick Actions app menus or Peek and Pop for previewing content.

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

Perhaps we'll see some hints that 3D Touch is going away entirely in iOS 13, which Apple is expected to unveil at its WWDC 2019 keynote next Monday. That should be followed by new iPhones in September as usual.

Related Roundup: 2019 iPhones

This article, "Apple Expected to Remove 3D Touch From All 2019 iPhones in Favor of Haptic Touch" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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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)

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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)

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