Haptics

Haptics are a great way to get people’s attention and to convey important information. In addition to system haptics, Apple Watch Series 4 and later provides haptic feedback for interactions with the Digital Crown; for guidance, see Digital Crown.

System haptics combine an audible tone with each haptic generated by the Taptic Engine in Apple Watch. Both elements work together to convey information in a consistent manner.

watchOS defines a set of haptics, each of which conveys a specific meaning to people.

  • Play

    Notification. Tells the user that something significant or out of the ordinary has happened and requires the user’s attention. The system plays this same haptic when a local or remote notification arrives.

  • Play

    Up. Tells the user that an important value increased above a significant threshold.

  • Play

    Down. Tells the user that an important value decreased below a significant threshold.

  • Play

    Success. Tells the user that an action completed successfully.

  • Play

    Failure. Tells the user that an action failed.

  • Play

    Retry. Tells the user that an action failed but may be retried.

  • Play

    Start. Tells the user that an activity started. Use this haptic when starting a timer or any other activity that can be explicitly started and stopped. This haptic is usually followed by the Stop haptic.

  • Play

    Stop. Tells the user that an activity stopped. Use this haptic when stopping a timer or other activity that was previously started.

  • Play

    Click. Provides the sensation of a dial clicking or progress at predefined increments or intervals. Use this haptic sparingly. Overuse of the click haptic diminishes its utility and can even be confusing when clicks overlap each other.

Use each system-defined haptic only for its intended purpose. Each haptic and audible tone was designed for a specific, documented purpose. Using a haptic for a different purpose will confuse people.

Exercise restraint when using haptics. Haptics are meant to be used infrequently by your app, and the system prevents two haptics from playing at the same time. As a general rule, use haptics to draw attention only to important events. Overusing haptics can cause confusion and diminish the significance of the feedback.

Display visual cues to correspond with haptics. Updating the visual appearance or content of your interface reinforces the meaning of a triggered haptic. Providing visual and haptic feedback together creates a deeper connection between a person's action and the result.

Initiate the playback of haptics at the appropriate time. There is usually some latency involved in playing haptics. Therefore, it is better to initiate playback of a haptic as the first step in performing the corresponding task, rather than as the last step. If you initiate playback as the last step of a task, the haptic feedback might come too late, creating a disconnected feeling between the haptic and the task.