For years, iPhones have had haptic feedback. Rather than full-force buzzing, the Tactic Engine provides a tiny vibration under your finger when performing certain actions on the screen. While Apple itself was able to take advantage of this tech before app developers, for some reason it was never included in the stock iOS keyboard — but there's still a way to get haptic feedback when typing.
Ever since iOS 10 when Apple opened up the haptic feedback API to app developers, we've seen a lot of shoddy third-party keyboards include haptic feedback, most with very uncreative names. Haptic Keyboard, Haptic Keyboard: Enzo, Haptic Key, and Haptic Feedback Keyboard are just a few, their best feature right there in the name.
Now, there's one worth installing not just as a keyboard that gives haptic feedback, but a keyboard that does pretty much everything you could want, and that's Gboard. Google's excellent keyboard for iPhones added the ability to feel your keys when typing in the 1.40.0 update, but it's not enabled by default.
If you have Gboard installed on your iPhone already, make sure to update the app to version 1.40.0 or higher. For those of you who don't have it, just install it from the App Store. While Gboard is included automatically when you download the Google app, that version of Gboard does not yet have haptic feedback, so for now, you will need to use the standalone Gboard.
- App Store Link: Gboard — the Google Keyboard (free)
You'll need to add the keyboard to your iPhone's keyboard list now, then switch to it. If you just updated the app, chances are it's already in your keyboard list and probably already your default keyboard. For those new to third-party keyboards on iOS, we've got a detailed guide on adding and switching keyboards to reference.
- Full Instructions: How to Add, Switch, Reorder, & Delete Keyboards
For the last step, you just need to enable the new haptic feedback feature. First, open the Gboard app directly. Alternatively, tap-and-hold on either the cog (iPhone X and newer) or the globe icon (iPhone 8 and older) in the Gboard keyboard, then select "Settings." Next, tap "Keyboard settings" in the app, and toggle on "Enable haptic feedback on key press."
Now, whenever you use the Gboard keyboard, you'll feel a tiny vibration when you tap a character key. It feels very similar to what happens when you activate the hidden trackpad. And when you swipe to type, you'll feel that tiny vibration when you first touch the keypad and when you let go after swiping.
Overall, the feedback is set to a very reasonable intensity. It doesn't quite feel like typing on a physical keyboard, but then again, no haptic keyboard does — it simply gives you a more satisfying typing experience.
Like we said before, Google wasn't the first to bring haptic feedback for typing to iOS, but it's the best overall keyboard. There are the other four apps mentioned previously, but they're all just one-feature keyboards. Another option, Typany Keyboard — Cool Fonts, has more going for it, but nothing that can top Gboard's feature list.
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