iOS 11 wish list: 'Tap to wake' for iPhone

iPhone Lock Screen on an iPhone with Touch ID
iPhone Lock Screen on an iPhone with Touch ID (Image credit: iMore)

With iOS 10, Apple has brought "raise to wake" to iPhone. It's great for when you pull your iPhone from your pocket or pick it up from the table, and just want to see your lock screen info. When your iPhone is still sitting on that table, though, and you don't want to pick it up … not so great. That's why I'm hoping we get "tap to wake" as well, either in an iOS 10.1, iOS 10.2, iOS 10.3, or even iOS 11.

Watch this!

When Apple introduced the Watch, convenience was its killer feature. Part of that convenience came with how the screen worked. If you raised your wrist, it would wake up.

If your wrist was already turned though, instead of having to re-turn it, you got a second option: Tap the screen. That would wake it up just as fast.

iPhone now has the former, but it doesn't have the latter. And I can't help but think the latter — tap to wake — would make the convenience complete.

Tap for that!

Tapping to wake a phone isn't a new idea. It's been implemented by other vendors before. Having Apple implement it on the iPhone, though, would be particularly useful.

Let's say you're sitting in a meeting, or having coffee with someone, or just watching the climax to a movie, and you see a notification or many come in. You can't always glance at them in real time, and when you can't, the screen goes back to sleep, making them impossible to glance at.

Sure, you could pick your iPhone up and take a look, but that's super obvious to everyone else in the meeting, across the table, or even just to you as you continue watching. So's hitting the sleep/wake (power) button. Even hitting the Home button, virtual or OG, is more obvious and risks Touch ID blowing through the Lock screen and the notifications you want to glance at.

Reaching over and subtly tapping the screen, though, would be easy and discreet.

False wakes could be an issue, and cost battery life, but requiring a double tap or a two finger tap could minimize that.

Your wish list?

Apple could well consider "tap to wake" on iPhone unnecessary, given "raise to wake" and the buttons. For me, though, it feels natural. Like a little jab to get attention. I use it all the time on Apple Watch, and find myself trying it — even though I know it doesn't work — on iPhone just out of habit.

So, I'd welcome it on iPhone — but what about you?

I've filed this feature request with Apple. It can be found at rdar://28532764.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.