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.

  • I'm sure Apple's solution for this is to wear an Apple Watch.
  • or tap the home button
  • Pushing the home button is exactly the same action as tapping the screen, except it's in a specific spot. I don't see this as a needed feature. It's not a chore to pick up the phone or tap the home button. Sent from the iMore App
  • Yes! I'd actually been expecting this to come before Raise to Wake. Although I also feel that Raise to Wake has solved 90% of the situations where I wanted Tap to Wake it's still something that I'm amazed is missing on the phone.
  • This would be great addition. I remember having this on Nokia Lumia 920 few years ago. Sent from the iMore App
  • I would like the tap to wake as well as I often find myself in that exact situation that you were talking about. My phones on the desk at work and I don't want to pick it up. Currently I just tap the home button with my index finger instead of my thumb so that it doesn't unlock the phone but being able to tap anywhere on the screen would be easier as I don't have to look for anything specific. Sent from the iMore App
  • I used to like the glance feature on Lumias that allowed you to see the lock screen just by waving your hand over the screen. It was clever enough to know if it was in your pocket so didn't go off all the time. Posted via the iMore App
  • This could be very helpful if the home button in iPhone 8 is virtual and under the screen. Sent from the iMore App
  • The ability to add a second phone number to the iPhone. Not Call Forwarding
  • Tap-to-wake, handoff, dark mode, etc. These are but trivial matters.
    I have only ONE request for iOS 11 that I have yet to hear anyone else mention.
    The Back button for apps and menus is in the upper-left-hand corner, as far away from my thumb as it could possibly be.
  • You can tap (not press) the home button twice and the screen will lower itself. It's called Reachability Mode. Sent from the iMore App
  • I already know about Reachability mode. But I consider that to be a kludge to get around a flawed design. The location of the back button was fine up to the 4S, but once Apple went to the longer screens of the 5/5S and the larger 6/6S and beyond, the upper left corner made no sense. Reachability mode adds an additional two taps of the phone just to reach the button.
  • I get what you're saying but is it honestly that hard to tap twice? It's like the other article about wanting tap to wake. These are, for lack of a better term, laziness. There are already ways of doing these things. Just because it's not a method you like doing doesn't mean it's not usable or needs to be changed. Sent from the iMore App
  • I completely agree. The swipe-right from bezel doesn't always work; developers aren't consistent. I would also like the Done, Cancel, Save etc buttons to be more consistent.
    First of all, these buttons should be on the bottom of the screen, not the top. But Sometimes the Cancel button is on the left with Done on the right. Sometimes Done (or Back) is on the left. Even and especially the built in Calendar app is bad with this. Sent from the iMore App
  • My old Nokia (non-Lumia) had "tap to awake" -feature, really useful and I hope to see it some day in iPhone. :) Sent from the iMore App
  • I occasionally attempt to tap-to-wake my iPhone, so I'd be really pleased if Apple adds this feature to the next iPhone.
  • The app, Sleep Cycle, uses a double tap to snooze. Either the table that your phone is on, or your phone. One of my favorite features. Sent from the iMore App
  • Stupid but I'd like to be able to customize the font and color of text bubbles in messages. Sent from the iMore App
  • all the features in ios are designed with utmost care but some are still lagging such as 1. mobile data option in control centre 2. swipe keyboard made by apple itself. jst don't bother about android or windows having that, please bring out your own version apple.. 3. double tap to wake option , it is not that important but some people exxpect that. 4. restrictions on touch id so that no one can add their finger print affter knowing the passcode of the phone. 5. some extra filters in camera app as the existing filters are getting old. these are some of the features most of myy friends and colleagues are expecting including me. they should be included from iphone 5 because it will be showing up apple capability and interactiveness from low end iphones to the latest.
  • I bet they didn't add that feature yet because of the camera bump. The phone isn't laying flat. Sent from the iMore App