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

With the release of the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro / 11 Pro Max, Apple has finally done away with 3D Touch technology across the entire iPhone lineup. This function has been replaced by a similar one, Haptic Touch. Are there any differences between them and what was the point of such a step? In this article, we’ll take a look at the known information about Haptic Touch and how it differs from 3D Touch, which has been available since the iPhone 6s.

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What is Haptic Touch?

Haptic Touch (called “Tactile Touch” in the Russian version of iOS) is a 3D Touch-like feature that Apple first introduced in 2018 in the iPhone XR. Then it became available for the entire iPhone and iPad line.

Haptic Touch uses the Taptic Engine and provides tactile feedback when you tap the screen on Apple’s new iPhones.

vibrator Taptic Engine

Haptic Touch is touch and hold gesturethat can be used with iOS 13 and newer.

Haptic Touch can be used by pressing the screen in the appropriate place until you feel a slight vibration under your finger. After that, a pop-up menu appears, the content of which depends on where the function is used. A simple press activates one of the options in the pop-up additional menu.

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How is Haptic Touch different from 3D Touch?

3D Touch Supports multiple levels of pressure on the screen, so you can make a softer press by doing one action and a harder press another. For example, Apple used several pressure levels for the Peek and Pop gestures.

On a 3D Touch device, you can peek inside the web link for a preview. Pressing (pop) harder will open the URL in the Safari browser. These secondary pop gestures are not available in Haptic Touch because the technology provides one pressure level (essentially a long press) rather than multiple pressure levels.

You can still get the Peek and Pop functionality, but now it should be called Peek and Tap. Simply tap and hold the screen to activate Peek using Haptic Touch, then tap on the desired section of the menu that appears.

Haptic Touch and 3D Touch on iPhone

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Where does Haptic Touch work on iOS and iPadOS?

Haptic Touch works wherever 3D Touch works. You can use it on app icons on the home screen to invoke quick actions, to work with links, phone numbers, addresses, to preview content, or to activate various gestures on the iPhone to invoke various context menus.

Haptic Touch and 3D Touch on iPhone

But there are some notable differences in the behavior of Haptic Touch and 3D Touch. For example, with 3D Touch, you can tap anywhere on the iOS keyboard to turn it into a touchpad for cursor control. With Haptic Touch, you have to use this gesture on the space bar, which thus also becomes the place to switch the keyboard view.

The removal of applications has also changed somewhat (in detail). Now you need to click on the application icon and immediately after the tactile signal is triggered, you need to make a swipe in any direction. After this action, a “cross” will appear in the corner of the application icon, and the icon itself will begin to swing as usual.

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Below are some of the main functions that Haptic Touch can perform:

  • View Live Photos.
  • Activate trackpad (by pressing the space bar).
  • Expanding notification options.
  • Activate Quick Actions on the Home screen.
  • Possibility of quick reply in “Messages”.
  • Preview links in Safari and access menu options.
  • Opening new tabs in Safari.
  • Preview “Photo” and call the optional menu.
  • Preview and take quick action on Mail messages.
  • Flash activation on the lock screen.
  • Activating the camera on the lock screen.
  • Activation of additional functions in the Control Center.
  • Removing applications.

Haptic Touch primarily runs on the iOS and iPadOS operating systems and most applications developed by Apple. But this function is also present in some third-party programs. Almost all applications have additional elements that can be activated using the Haptic Touch gesture. Sometimes it is worth experimenting and discovering new possibilities in the already familiar programs.

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Does Haptic Touch behave differently than 3D Touch?

Haptic Touch feels different, mainly due to the slightly slower performance compared to 3D Touch gestures. Haptic Touch is a simple tap and hold experience, while 3D Touch is accelerated pressure processing with pressure sensing.

The actual tactile feedback in Haptic Touch is similar to the feedback from 3D Touch, so the technology is almost indistinguishable in this respect. As mentioned, there is no secondary feedback level when using Haptic Touch, although 3D Touch does.

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Why did Apple get rid of 3D Touch?

3D Touch has never been available on the iPad, so Apple may have canceled the feature to highlight the capabilities of the iPhone and iPad.

Thanks to Haptic Touch, gestures such as Quick Actions for accessing additional contextual information have appeared on the iPad, similar to those on the iPhone.

But this was not the case with 3D Touch – additional gestures were simply not available on the iPad. 3D Touch has always been considered unusual, but it never became mainstream or popular. This could also be the reason why Apple decided to make something simpler and more intuitive for most users. A single tap gesture is easier to use than tapping with multiple pressure levels to perform different actions.

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Where are the Haptic Touch settings?

Haptic Touch is a customizable feature that can also set the response speed. You can choose between fast and slow activation, the default is fast.

The function parameters are in the section “Universal access” applications “Settings”:

Open the app “Settings” and go to section “Universal access”

Select item “Touch” and press “Tactile touch”

Haptic Touch and 3D Touch on iPhone

Haptic Touch and 3D Touch on iPhone

It is possible to preview the Haptic Touch feedback parameters right in the app “Settings”… Most people will probably want to leave Haptic Touch feedback meaningful. Fast, but even in this mode, the function is slower than 3D Touch.

Haptic Touch and 3D Touch on iPhone

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Can Haptic Touch be disabled?

Another difference between Haptic Touch and 3D Touch is the ability to disable the latter. The corresponding switch is available in the settings of the iPhone with 3D Touch support.

Haptic Touch and 3D Touch on iPhone

In turn, Haptic Touch cannot be turned off.

Haptic Touch and 3D Touch on iPhone

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The future of Haptic Touch

Now that 3D Touch has been dropped from the 2019 iPhone lineup, and many 3D Touch gestures have been reconfigured for natural use with Haptic Touch, even on older iPhones, Haptic Touch seems to be the new standard.

It is likely that Haptic Touch will become the main feedback feature in iPhones and iPads, and 3D Touch is unlikely to return.

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