With the Taptic Engine on the iPhone, Apple Watch and Mac, the vibrations are much more realistic, for example for the click of the home button on the latest iPhones. In this explanation article, you can read what else is possible.
In recent iPhones, the Apple Watch and some MacBook, Apple have built in a Taptic Engine. The Taptic Engine is Apple’s vibratory motor that is a lot more advanced than standard vibrators in smartphones. But what do you have as a user of the Taptic Engine and in which devices is it present? In this article, you can read all about it.
Taptic Engine: what is it?
It is an Apple-made component in the iPhone, Apple Watch, and MacBook. The vibration motor provides tactile feedback, including the vibration function when you receive a call. The older iPhone models still used a standard vibration motor that could only give one kind of vibration, but the Taptic Engine is much more accurate. That means that your iPhone can already give a small touch that is much more subtle than a complete vibration.
The Taptic Engine was introduced by Apple in 2015 in the very first Apple Watch. Later the new vibrator engine also came to the iPhone for the first time, in September 2015 with the introduction of the iPhone 6s. A year later, Apple released an improved version of the Taptic Engine, in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. This is even more advanced than the first version and provides system signals, for example when you switch switches or press a button on the screen. The Taptic Engine is also responsible for the click feeling of the home button on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8. For the MacBook, the vibration motor is only used in the Force Touch trackpad. Not as a vibrating motor, but as with the home button for giving the click feeling.
With vibrators, a component is set in motion which creates the vibration. It is usually a kind of cylinder that rotates quickly with standard vibrators. With these vibrators, it takes longer for this movement to be converted into a vibration because more acceleration is required. With the Taptic Engine, only one cycle is needed (movement from left to right) to cause a vibration. Magnets and powerful springs are used to hold the moving part in place. Due to the strong springs of the new mechanism, the moving part is also immediately stopped. This causes the more precise vibration because less “reverberations” are caused.
On which aircraft is the Taptic Engine available?
The Taptic Engine is available on the Apple Watch and the iPhone and not on the iPad and iPod touch. It concerns the following models:
- Apple Watch (all models)
- iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus and newer
- MacBook (2015 and newer)
- Magic Trackpad 2
So make sure that the Taptic Engine is more sophisticated from the iPhone 7 and provides even more accurate vibrations.
Taptic Engine and the home button
The home button in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 is not a physical button. That means you do not actually press it, but a sensor notices that you press the button. The Taptic Engine in these iPhones then provides the click-feeling, creating the illusion that you press a real button. You can test this yourself by switching the iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 off completely. If you then press the home button, you will feel that you do not actually press anything. Because the iPhone is off, you will not feel a click anymore.
You can adjust the strength of the click feel of the Taptic Engine for the home button yourself. You have the choice between three click strengths. The first option gives a very subtle click, while the third position gives a much stronger click. Via the tip below you can read how to set the click feeling of the home button.
Taptic Engine also works in apps
Except for vibrations when your alarm goes off or when you receive a call, you notice that your iPhone vibrates with all kinds of other actions. When using a so-called picker (for example when setting a time for your alarm clock), your iPhone vibrates as if you are turning a kind of wheel. Also with a pull-to-refresh (refreshing an app), your iPhone can give a little touch, so you know that the action has been carried out successfully. The Taptic Engine can also be used by developers of apps. Think of vibrations in games, for example, to give you the feeling that you are in the middle of the action.
These system signals can also be switched off. As a result, you will not get any tangible feedback for all kinds of actions in iOS. In the tip below you will find more information about the operation of system signals and how to turn this off.
Taptic Engine on the Apple Watch
The Taptic Engine on the Apple Watch is used to notify you of incoming notifications. With a tap on your wrist, you know that you have received a notification, without having to actively watch your Apple Watch. The vibration motor is also used on the Apple Watch to make your watch vibrate when you receive a call. On the Apple Watch, you have the possibility to set the intensity of the vibration to your own taste.
Taptic Engine on the Mac
The Taptic Engine is also available on the Mac. The vibration motor is built into the Force Touch trackpad. If you press firmly on this, you get a tactile click, similar to the home button on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8. This is available on MacBook models from 2015. The separate Magic Trackpad 2 also contains a strong vibrating motor to simulate the click feeling in the trackpad.
Taptic Engine with 3D Touch and Force Touch
Force Touch and 3D Touch are two similar functions, where you press the screen or a surface extra firmly to use all kinds of extra possibilities. The term Force Touch is used with the Apple Watch and Mac, while 3D Touch is the name for the iPhone 6s and newer. In both cases, the Taptic Engine is used, so that you know that your firm pressure on the screen (or the trackpad) is registered. Both the iPhone, Apple Watch, and Mac are just a small touch.