How Haptic Touch Works on the iPhone XR

iPhone XR Haptic Touch

The iPhone XR went on sale in over 40+ markets from today. At $749, the iPhone XR is a few hundred dollars cheaper than the iPhone XS while still offering almost all the features the latter offers. However, to reach its lower price point, Apple has had to make a few compromises which include the switch to an LCD display and ditching 3D Touch for Haptic Touch.

Apple had first debuted 3D Touch with the iPhone 6s back in 2014. Back then, Apple claimed the technology would be as revolutionary as multi-touch, though that obviously did not happen. Nonetheless, 3D Touch is definitely useful as it allows for the display to detect the amount of pressure being applied and show contextual menus depending on it.

On the iPhone XR though, since 3D Touch is absent, things work a bit differently. Read below to know more about how Haptic Touch on the iPhone XR works.

How Haptic Touch Works

In a nutshell, Haptic Touch is a long press which is complemented by a feedback from the Taptic Engine. Apple’s Taptic engine is among the best in the business and the company is using feedback from it to essentially market a long press as Haptic Touch.

Since Haptic Touch is a long press, it is highly limited in nature when compared to 3D Touch. And while Apple says it is similar to 3D Touch, it simply does not work in most areas where the latter does. Haptic Touch is also slightly slower to trigger than 3D Touch. If you have used 3D Touch previously, this will be immediately obvious to you.

If you are coming from an iPhone which features 3D Touch, the feedback you get when you trigger Haptic Touch will be the same as that of 3D Touch. It is also relatively easy to get used to Haptic Touch, though it is its limited usefulness right now which might disappoint many.

Where It Works

Right out of the box, Haptic Touch works with the flashlight and camera shortcuts on the lock screen. You can ‘Haptic Touch’ the shortcuts to trigger them. It also works in the Control Center to access more options for certain toggles. Additionally, you can still long press on a notification to preview its content but there’s no Peek and Pop.

Where It Does Not Work

Since Haptic Touch is a long press, it simply does not work where a long press is already assigned to an action. So, on the Home Screen, you cannot Haptic Touch an app shortcut to bring up Quick Actions since that gesture is already assigned to rearranging the icons.

There’s no Peek and Pop as well so you cannot preview links in Safari by 3D Touch/deep pressing them. This also means you won’t be able to ‘peek’ into your messages and emails so tricks like these won’t work.

Similarly, the trackpad mode on the iOS 12 keyboard will not work due to the lack of 3D Touch. However, Apple has added an alternative with iOS 12: you can simply long press and swipe your finger on the spacebar to move the cursor around. And to highlight a word, you will have to tap on the screen using a second finger which is definitely not as convenient.

On the bright side, Apple is working on adding Haptic Touch support to more areas of iOS 12.


Overall, Haptic Touch is a decent replacement to 3D Touch but it is not a perfect one. It is definitely not as useful as 3D Touch, though Apple can always change that by adding Haptic Touch support to more areas of iOS 12.

What are your thoughts about Haptic Touch on the iPhone XR? Do you think its a decent replacement to 3D Touch? Or do you miss the feature?