I was wondering if this gesture is as commonly found in iPhone and iPad as in Android apps, or if it is more used in iPad than in iPhone or vice versa. I personally don't use this gesture very frequently, but I'd like to have more experienced iOS users' point of view. I think I only found long press gesture in Calendar app, could somebody give more examples of using that gesture?

If I decide to use the long press gesture in my own app, for example in a table row to display further details of the selected item, how could I make the user aware of the availability of this gesture?

2 Answers 2


The long press gesture can be quite frustrating for users. Especially when there are no clues for the gesture, and when there are no long press even present if expected. I've seen users trying to edit a list long-pressing the icon (no result), the title (no result) and the next column (no result) to end up in a frustrating mode.

So be very cautious using it. IMHO it should be used when all other options are analysed and deliberate ruled out as options. Then, and only than, can you consider the (hidden) long press.

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  • 2
    I use long press as I use context menus on a desktop - a quick alternative for experienced users. There should always be a more discoverable version.
    – Gusdor
    Aug 23, 2013 at 7:20

Touch & Hold is an official and known gesture to iOS users, since that's how they rearrange icons on their home screens (see manual).

I've seen Touch & Hold used in more than a few iPhone apps (Sooner, 30/30, etc.). In most cases it comes to replace desktop's drag-and-drop functionality. Importantly, once the hold period has gone, there's always some visual feedback (item highlight). Surprisingly, neither apps mentioned have any description of this gesture in their help (although I'm sure this is not intentional). I reckon it goes to show that accidental discovery is likely with this gesture.

Although it is not the most intuitive of gestures, and it does consume a fraction of time, I prefer it over its typical alternative - enter edit move and drag the handler.

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