Haptic Feedback

Haptics are an important way to get the user’s attention and to convey important information. Each haptic generated by the Taptic Engine is combined with an audible tone. Both elements work together to convey the same information in a consistent manner.

Apple Watch defines haptics for specific purposes. Each haptic type conveys a specific meaning and should be used only to convey that meaning:

  • Play

    Notification. Tells the user that something significant or out of the ordinary has happened and requires the user’s attention. This same haptic is played by the system 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.

Haptics are meant to be used infrequently by your app, and the system prevents two haptics from playing at the same time.

Exercise restraint when using haptics. Use haptics to draw attention only to important events. The overuse of haptic feedback can cause confusion and diminish the usefulness of that feedback.

Use each haptic only for its intended purpose. Each haptic and audible tone were designed for the stated purpose. Using a haptic for a different purpose will confuse that meaning for the user.

Provide 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 the user’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.