iPhone System Haptics, What They are, Turn On or Off

By Moses Johnson - Editor
6 Min Read

Some iPhone models include a feature called haptic feedback (also called Haptics or System Haptics). This feature uses the Taptic Engine to provide haptic feedback, combined with an audible tone and/or visual feedback. Taptic Engine produces your iPhone’s vibration and haptic feedback functions. The focus of this article is on Haptics.

What are System Haptics?

System Haptics are the taps or quick vibrations you feel when interacting with different elements of your iPhone, such as when you touch and hold any icon on the Home Screen.

What is the use of system haptics in iPhone?

System Haptics is designed to enhance your experience with your iPhone by implementing a sense of touch, as you interact with your phone. In other words, some of your actions on your iPhone will trigger a haptic, tactile feedback. Your iPhone’s many system elements (pickers, scrolls, switches, sliders, etc) provides haptic feedback, and it’s meant to improve your experience.

The following list includes a few examples:

  • Shake to undo: You can shake your iPhone to undo. When you shake your iPhone, you will get two taps.
  • Volume slider: Your iPhone has volume up and down buttons. You can use these buttons to control the volume. You will get subtle taps when you turning up or down the volume.
  • Keyboard: You can enter accented letters or other characters on the iPhone keyboard. To reveal these additional letters, tap and hold the letter, number, or symbol on the keyboard and the related characters will appear. For example, when you tap the $ sign, other currency symbols will appear so you can type. And you will get subtle taps when you open and select these letters or characters.
  • Control Center sliders: Your control center includes two sliders: Volume and Brightness. When you want to adjust the volume or the brightness in Control Center, you will get subtle taps as you drag them up or down.
  • Mute (ring or silent) switch: There is a switch on the left side of your iPhone. You can use this switch to put your iPhone in ring/silent mode. When you turn on Silent Mode, you will get two subtle taps. Turning this off does not trigger any tap.
  • Rearrange the Home screen: You can move and organize your apps on your iPhone. When you do that you will get two subtle taps in addition to the other effects.
  • Numbers, time, and date pickers: When you select a number or date (for example in the Clock app) you will get multiple taps as you spin. For example, open Clock, then add an alarm, you will get taps when you select a time by scrolling through. Or in the Calendar app, you will get subtle taps when you want to add a new event.
  • Camera: When you are taking photos or videos on your iPhone, you can use camera modes (Portrait, pano, slo-mo, and other). When you change the mode, you will get subtle taps. Furthermore, when you change the camera view (front or rear) by tapping the rotate button. This will also trigger a tap. The best of all Camera system haptics is that you will get subtle taps when you take photos (when you press the red or white button) or when you start and stop recording videos.
  • App Switcher: When you force close all apps on your iPhone, you will get subtle taps when you try to open App Switcher again indicating there are no open apps.
  • Mail pull to refresh: You can check the new mails in iOS with a pull-to-refresh gesture. When you get a subtle tap once you have pulled down far enough.Pull to refresh
  • Pinch-to-zoom: On your iPhone, you can zoom out. Simply touch two fingers on the screen, moving them apart to zoom out. Or you can zoom in when you move your two fingers towards each other. When you reach the maximum and minimum threshold of zooming, you will get a very subtle tab.
  • AirDrop: You will get subtle taps when you send a file via AirDrop.
  • iMessage effects: You can use iMessage to send message effects. iMessage Screen Effects have a lot of System Haptics. These are full-screen effects. For example, send a “fireworks” effect, you will get multiple taps.
  • Burst photos: You can take burst photos on your iPhone which captures 10 images per second. These photos will also appear in your camera roll. And when you select a burst photo, you will get a subtle tap.
  • Switches: Your iPhone Settings app consists of switches so you can turn on or off various settings. When you turn on or off a switch will cause a subtle tap. This also includes the on/off switches in other built-in apps.
  • Flashlight brightness: You can change the brightness of the flashlight. Open Control Center and press the flashlight icon and when you drag the slider up or down, you will feel the taps.

What iPhone models have Haptic Feedback

The following iPhone models include haptic feedback:

  • iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max
  • iPhone 14, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus

How to turn haptic feedback on or off

If your iPhone includes haptic feedback, you can easily turn off or on. Haptics can enhance the user experience by providing tactile feedback for actions like typing, notifications, and button presses. If you enjoy this feedback and find it helpful, you should turn haptics on. However, if you find it distracting or prefer a quieter experience, you can turn it off. Here is how you can enable or disable System Haptics:

  1. Start the Settings app.
  2. Tap Sounds & Haptics.
  3. Turn System Haptics off or on.

Turn on System Haptics on iPhone settings

What happens if I turn off system haptics on iPhone?

When System Haptics is off, you won’t feel the little vibrations when you use your iPhone. It won’t mess anything up, but the quality of your interaction with your iPhone will be diminished. Switch it off and see what you think. If you don’t like it, it’s easy to turn it back on again.

Keyboard Haptics

If you use the built-in iOS keyboard, you can enable haptics there as well. When enabled, you will get a subtle vibration with every keypress of the default keyboard, as if there’s a "bump" under your fingertip. Not only does it provide positive confirmation you’ve tapped a key, but many people find the "bump" with each tap to be very satisfying as well.

How to turn Keyboard haptic feedback on or off

To take advantage of haptic feedback on the keyboard, your iPhone needs to be running iOS 16 or later. If you don’t see the haptic feedback option, check your version of iOS and update your iPhone if needed. Here is how to turn it on or off.

  1. Start the Settings app.
  2. Tap Sound & Haptics.
  3. Scroll down and tap Keyboard Feedback.
  4. Turn Haptic on or off.

If you turn on keyboard haptics but you don’t feel haptics when you type, make sure that Vibration is turned on in Settings > Accessibility > Touch.

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. 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.

You can use Haptic Touch for a lot of useful functions, including:

  • Previewing conversations in the Messages app
  • Showing more options for toggles in Control Center
  • Activating a Live Photo
  • Using the flashlight and camera shortcuts on the Lock screen
  • Accessing shortcuts for apps on your Home screen
  • Previewing web links in Safari or other apps

How to Adjust Haptic Touch on Your iPhone

If you use Haptic Touch all the time like I do, changing this setting will make your iPhone feel supercharged. It brings up handy shortcuts — hidden actions, content previews and contextual menus in a flash, saving you precious time as you tap around your screen.

Alternatively, if you find Haptic Touch annoying and trigger it accidentally all the time, you can slow down the time needed to activate the gesture. That way, a tap won’t be mistaken for a tap-and-hold.

This setting is only in iOS 17. If you bought a new iPhone 15, you’ve got it already. Otherwise, update your iPhone.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Under "Physical and Motor," tap Touch.
  4. Tap Haptic Touch.
  5. Select from Fast, Default, and Slow. Note that when you select a speed, you can test it using the flower image on the same screen.

FAQs

Should iPhone Haptics be on or off?

Whether iPhone haptics should be on or off depends on personal preference. Some people find haptic feedback enhances their user experience by providing tactile responses, while others prefer a quieter, vibration-free experience. Try both settings to see which one suits you better.

Does system haptics drain iPhone battery?

According to this Apple support page about the keyboard, haptic feedback "might affect the battery life of your iPhone." No specifics are given as to how much battery life the keyboard feature drains, but if you want to conserve battery, it’s best to keep this feature disabled.

By Moses Johnson Editor
Moses Johnson is the Editorial Director of GeeksChalk.com, who has a keen eye for news, rumors, and all the unusual stuff around Apple products. Moses is commonly referred to online as The Professor, with decades of experience in tech under his belt.
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