How to enable the haptic keyboard on your iPhone

How to enable the haptic keyboard on your iPhone

The haptic keyboard provides a gentle vibration when you touch a key on the iPhone keyboard. Learn how to enable it here.

A person typing on an iPhone while sitting at a desk.
Photo: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

By default, your iPhone keyboard makes a clicking sound when you tap a key on the keyboard, so you can hear the keystroke. But you might want more sensory feedback that shows you’ve pressed a key. With iOS 16, you can enable a haptic keyboard that emits a slight vibration when you touch a key.

You can use the haptic keyboard with or without the clicking sound that occurs when you touch a key. Plus, the haptic keyboard works even if your phone is in silent mode. Here’s how to enable it and how it works.

SEE: iOS 16 cheat sheet: Complete guide for 2022 (TechRepublic)

First, make sure you’ve updated your phone to iOS 16 or later. Go to Settings, select General, and then tap the option for Software Update. It will tell you that iOS has been updated or prompt you to download and install the latest update.

Enabling vibration mode and Haptic and Sound keyboard functions

To enable the haptic keyboard on your iPhone, make sure Vibration mode is turned on. Go to Settings, select Accessibility, then select Touch. Turn on the vibrate switch if it is not already on (Figure A).

Figure A

iPhone iOS 16 Settings, Accessibility and Touch menus side by side.
Access the Vibrate for iPhone feature in the Touch Accessibility settings menu.

To test it, open an app that runs the keyboard, such as Notes, Reminder, Messages, or Mail. Start tapping the keys on the keyboard to experience it only with the click sound on (Picture B).

Picture B

Email app open on iPhone.
Test the Vibration feature in any app that uses the keyboard.

You can also set your iPhone to use the haptic keyboard in ring mode versus silent mode. To do this, go to Settings and select Sounds & touch. Tap the setting for Keyboard Feedback. Turn on the switch for Haptic. Return to the Sounds & Haptics screen and make sure the toggles are enabled for Play Haptics in Ring Mode and Play Haptics in Silent Mode (Picture C).

Picture C

iPhone iOS 16 Settings, Sounds and Haptics and Keyboard Functions side by side menus.
Access the Sound and Haptic features in the Keyboard Features Sounds & Haptics settings.

Go back to the keyboard-based app you were using and continue tapping the keys. Experience how it feels to tap using the haptic keyboard to see if you prefer it enabled or disabled. You can turn it on and off back and forth to get a better feel for it (Image D).

Image D

Email app open on iPhone.
Try out the new Haptic and Sound features in an app that uses the keyboard.

You can also try typing with the sound off. Go back to the keyboard feedback screen under Sounds and Haptics and turn off the Sound switch. Try different combinations of sound and haptics on and off to evaluate which setting works best for you (Pictures of E).

Pictures of E

Keyboard feedback menu with Sound off.
Test the Haptic function with the sound off.

Apple warns against turning on touch keyboards may affect your iPhone’s battery life. Without more details, it’s hard to know if this is a big problem. But, you might want to keep the haptics off for a typical day and then on for another typical day to gauge the potential impact on your phone’s battery life.

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