If you’re the proud owner of any iPhone newer than an iPhone XS, you can now download iOS 17 at your leisure, with the latest iteration of Apple’s mobile operating system bringing a host of useful upgrades to the table.
Among the new features are interactive widgets, StandBy mode and NameDrop – we’ve detailed seven of the biggest iOS 17 features elsewhere on TechRadar – but iOS 17 also introduces a lesser-publicized Accessibility option that makes your iPhone feel far more responsive.
We’re talking about Haptic Touch, which is the feature behind those precise vibrations you feel when long-pressing app icons, images, message chats, emails and so on. Haptic Touch has actually been around since the iPhone XR, but in iOS 17, the feature can be customized to deliver even faster haptic feedback than before – and, quite frankly, it’s a game-changer.
To boost Haptic Touch speed in iOS 17, simply head to the Accessibility menu in Settings, select Touch, Haptic Touch, then Fast (touch duration will automatically be set to Default once iOS 17 is downloaded). Apple has included a handy test icon below these options, too, so you’ll be able to feel the difference in response time immediately.
Previously, in iOS 16, response time options for Haptic Touch were limited to Fast and Slow, but the former was equivalent to the current Default option in iOS 17. In other words, iOS 17 introduces a whole new level of response speed for Haptic Touch.
In truth, this upgrade brings Haptic Touch more in line with the speed of 3D Touch, which Apple discontinued following the launch of the iPhone 11 line in 2019. 3D Touch supported multiple levels of pressure, so you could soft press to trigger one action, and hard press to trigger another (you could preview a web link before fully opening it up, for instance).
Haptic Touch, in contrast, supports only a single level of pressure, with single-tap presses responding faster than a 3D Touch long press, but slower than a 3D Touch soft press.
Apple presumably made the transition to Haptic Touch to simplify iPhone navigation for most users. 3D Touch was also never available on the iPad, which meant iPhone and iPad users were getting a different OS experience; Haptic Touch gestures are the same across both device categories.
In iOS 17, though, Haptic Touch response speed – if set to Fast in Settings – more closely resembles the superior speed of an old 3D Touch soft press, which makes the experience of navigating Apple’s best iPhones far more efficient. Here's how to download iOS 17 if you haven't already. You can thank us later.
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Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.
Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.