How do you send Apple Watch-style Sketches, Heartbeats, and Taps from your iPhone or iPad? Easily, thanks to Digital Touch in iOS 10!

Digital Touch — the ability to send a hand-drawn Sketch, haptic Taps, or sensor-read Heartbeats — was one of the debut features of the Apple Watch. Now, with iOS 10, all those communication features are making their way to the iPhone and iPad as well. Will Digital Touch on the phone and tablet come off as a gimmick, or will it go mainstream? If you're on the developer preview or public beta, you can try it out now and decide for yourself.

How do you send a Sketch in iMessage?

Sketches on iPhone and iPad work similarly to Apple Watch.

  1. Launch Messages from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on the Digital Touch button. (Looks like a heart with touch fingers on it). If you've already begun typing, it'll be hidden and you'll need to tap on the Show More button to the left to reveal it. (Looks like >)
  3. Tap the swatch on the left-hand side to choose a different color.

    Open messages, tap Digital Touch, tap swatch

  4. Touch and hold (long press) any of the swatches to reveal the custom color palette.

  5. Draw your sketch on the canvas area in the middle.
  6. Tap Send (Looks like an arrow).

    Tap and hold for custom palette, sketch, tap send

How do you send a Heartbeat on iMessage?

Though neither the iPhone nor iPad have heart rate sensors like Apple Watch, you can still use them to send Heartbeats.

  1. Launch Messages from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on the Digital Touch button. (Looks like a heart with touch fingers on it). If you've already begun typing, it'll be hidden and you'll need to tap on the Show More button to the left to reveal it. (Looks like >.)
  3. Touch and hold down (long press) with two fingers on the canvas

    Open Messages, tap Digital touch, tap and hold two fingers

You can hold down for a short or longer period of time. When you release, your Heartbeat will be sent.

How do you send a Tap on iMessage?

Taps on the Apple Watch let you subtly communicate with someone, because you know whatever you send will be received right on their wrist. With iOS, there's no such expectation of contact, so Taps take on a subtly different meaning.

  1. Launch Messages from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on the Digital Touch button. (Looks like a heart with touch fingers on it). If you've already begun typing, it'll be hidden and you'll need to tap on the Show More button to the left to reveal it. (Looks like >.)
  3. Tap the canvas.

    Open Messages, choose Digital touch, tap away

You can Tap as little or as often as you like, and in any pattern you like.

How do you add Digital Touch on top of a photo or video in iMessage?

Unique to iPhone and iPad, you can also Sketch, Heartbeat, or Tap on top of a photo or video.

  1. Launch Messages from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on the Digital Touch button. (Looks like a heart with touch fingers on it). If you've already begun typing, it'll be hidden and you'll need to tap on the Show More button to the left to reveal it. (Looks like >.)
  3. Tap on the Camera button on the left.

    Open Messages, tap Digital Touch, tap Camera button

  4. Tap on the Camera Switch button at the bottom right to switch between the rear and selfie camera.

  5. Tap on the white Camera Shutter button at the bottom left to take a still photo, or the red Video Shutter button at the bottom middle to start recoding up to 10 seconds of video.

    Tap camera switch, choose still or video

  6. Swipe your finger to Sketch, touch and hold two fingers to add a Heartbeat, or Tap with one finger as you would normally. 7. Tap Send at the bottom right. (Looks like an upward arrow).

    Markup your image, tap Send

How do you send Handwriting on iMessage?

While you can write out messages using Sketch in Digital Touch, iOS 10 also has a feature designed specifically for handwritten messages.

  1. Launch Messages from your Home screen.

    Open Messages

  2. Rotate your iPhone to landscape mode to bring up the handwriting canvas.

  3. Tap a stock or previously sent handwritten message to send or re-send it immediately, or write out a new message using your finger.
  4. Tap Done.

    Rotate, tap a stock message or write your own, hit Done

  5. Add text, if desired.

  6. Tap the Send button. (Looks like an up arrow.)

    Add any text you want, hit Send

If you change your mind about sending the handwritten message, you can cancel it by tapping the X button at its top right, or deleting it using the backspace key.

Can you receive Digital Touch and Handwriting on your Apple Watch and Mac?

Absolutely. Digital Touch sent from iOS 10 are received on Apple Watch exactly as if another Apple Watch had sent them. The Mac, though, renders the graphics but not the haptics.

Handwriting also shows up on both.

What do you think about Digital Touch in iOS 10? Will it get you to Sketch, Heartbeat, and Tap more? Let me know!