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iPhone SE can’t expand lock screen notifications – and it’s not a bug

Updated Apr 28th, 2020 7:00AM EDT
iPhone SE 2020
Image: George Dolgikh/Shutterstock

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  • iPhone SE users have noticed that Haptic Touch doesn’t work on lock screen notifications or inside Notification Center.
  • It appears that Haptic Touch behaves as it should, so this isn’t an iPhone SE software bug.
  • There is a way to bypass the limitation, and that’s to use a different gesture on the incoming notifications that you want to interact with.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

The iPhone SE is a budget phone that has no rival right now. It’s the cheapest “new iPhone” you can buy, featuring the same powerful A13 chip that you get with any of the three iPhone 11 models. The A13 is so powerful that other 2020 flagship handsets will have a tough time keeping up. The $399 will receive new software updates for several years, well beyond what Android phones can’t offer, and that’s why the inclusion of the A13 chip in the package is so important. But no matter how amazing the iPhone SE might sound like it does feature a few compromises and limitations. For $399, you get a 2014 iPhone design, complete with large top and bottom bezels, and the rear camera is still a single-lens shooter — but at least it’s better than the iPhone XR’s camera thanks to the same A13 chip. Also, the phone lacks the 3D Touch screen layer that was a staple of iPhones since the iPhone 6s. Haptic Touch replaced 3D Touch on all phones, even the ones that still have 3D Touch hardware components, and the iPhone SE got it as well. But Haptic Touch does have an issue on iPhone SE: it doesn’t let you expand lock screen notifications. And it’s not a bug.

Long-pressing on a notification inside the Notification Center or on the lock screen will not bring up the notification options you’d expect to show up. That may be a considerable annoyance for all iPhone users who’re already trained to interact with notifications that way.

Users have been complaining about the issue on social media, MacRumors explains.

“I received my SE yesterday and very quickly realized that ‌Haptic Touch‌ is not supported on notifications,” a person said on Reddit. “I am not seeing this reported anywhere, haven’t seen one review mentioning it, no video I watched mentioned it. ‌Haptic Touch‌ works for peek and pop and on icons on the home screen, but if you are on the lock screen or Notification Center and try to long-press an email to archive or a text to quick reply, you are out of luck.”

“On the [iPhone] 6S-XS 3D Touch was the solution, with the XR and 11 series ‌Haptic Touch‌ was the replacement, but this is the first non-3D Touch‌ phone to be released where all the features of ‌Haptic Touch‌ are not fully baked into the OS,” the person added.

This looks like a bug, but it apparently isn’t. TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino explained on Twitter that the lack of Haptic Touch for notifications is not a bug, and the feature is working as Apple intended.

“I have not been able to determine whether there is any technical reason why or not. But it is ‘working as intended’ currently,” he said. “I’m probably not an ‌iPhone‌ SE customer due to ‌iPhone 11‌ camera stuff, but this would stop me from buying one.”

It’s unclear why Haptic Touch isn’t supposed to work on the iPhone SE. But MacRumors explains there is a workaround for the problem. You have to slide the notification to the left and tap on the “View” option to get more options.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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