Apple admits using iPhone keyboard haptics affects battery life

IOS 16 includes a new iPhone keyboard haptics feature, but Apple says using vibratory feedback when typing might affect your battery life.

An iPhone keyboard while typing with vibrations pattern in the background
  • What’s happening? Apple has clarified that iOS 16’s keyboard haptics feature may decrease your battery life. Small wonder it’s off by default.
  • Why care? Because if you’re a frequent typist who messages a lot on any given day, using keyboard haptics might affect your iPhone’s battery life.
  • What to do? If you’re dissatisfied with the battery life of the iPhone, try turning off keyboard haptics to confirm if there’s any notable change.

Using iOS 16’s keyboard haptics shortens battery life

Apple has updated its support document to confirm what we’ve suspected all along.

“Your iPhone keyboard can make a sound or vibrate as you type,” reads the document. In case you had any doubt, Apple says that “turning on keyboard haptics might affect the battery life of your iPhone.” Read: How to unlock iPhone with voice

The company does not detail battery life loss when the feature is being used nor does it indicate in any way whether the battery drain is minor or significant.

We’re not surprised about any of this.

Taptic Engine needs juice to run

Using any feature will cost you some battery life. While Android handsets use rudimentary vibratory motors to produce vibrations, your iPhone has custom hardware called Taptic Engine which can produce a range of subtle vibrations.

Taptic Engine above the Home button in iPhone 7
Taptic Engine above the Home button in iPhone 7

With keyboard haptics turned on, your iPhone’s Taptic Engine will work a lot more often than before and consume more power than before.

So that’s why keyboard vibrations are off by default

You don’t often see Apple confirming that using this or that feature could be detrimental to the battery life. Clearly, Apple believes and has data that confirms folks might experience a change in run time with keyboard haptics turned on.

Perhaps that’s haptic feedback for the keyboard is off by default in iOS 16? If Apple really thought a tradeoff between functionality and battery life was worth it, then it would’ve made keyboard haptics the default experience in iOS 16 out of the box.

How to turn on iPhone keyboard vibrations

To manually enable keyboard haptics, go to Settings → Sounds & Haptics → Keyboard Feedback and switching on the option labeled “Haptic.” You must also turn on “Vibration” in Settings > Accessibility > Touch or you won’t feel vibration when typing on the keyboard. Read: Tips for mastering the iPhone keyboard