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(Capacitive Touch)

Capacitive touch technology works by directly sensing the electrical properties of the human body.

Capacitive touch sensors can be embedded below specific points on a surface to create individual buttons, or over a large area, sensing the exact position of a finger on a display or other surface. Capacitive is the most common type of touch-sensing technology in smartphone displays.

Unlike some other touch-screen technologies, capacitive technology can support multi-touch, where multiple finger touches can be sensed at once. This enables gestures such as "pinch to zoom".

See: Multi-touch

Capacitive touch sensors are generally designed to respond to direct contact with human tissue, or objects with similar electrical properties. A stylus must be designed specifically for capacitive touch sensors in order to work with it.

Gloved fingers present a challenge for capacitive sensors. Some gloves are specifically designed to work with capacitive touch-screens. Alternately, some touch-screens are calibrated to be sensitive enough to work through gloves, and some phones have a "glove mode" that can be turned on or off in settings.

Unlike resistive technology, capacitive does not require pressure to activate; the lightest touch can trigger a capacitive sensor. In fact, actual contact is not always required. Some capacitive sensors may be calibrated to respond even when a human finger is almost touching, but not quite.

Capacitive touch screens are generally considered more durable and reliable than resistive touch screens.

See: Resistive Touch Screen

See: Touch Screen

Last updated Jan 26, 2024 by Rich Brome

Editor in Chief Rich became fascinated with cell phones in 1999, creating mobile web sites for phones with tiny black-and-white displays and obsessing over new phone models. Realizing a need for better info about phones, he started Phone Scoop in 2001, and has been helming the site ever since. Rich has spent two decades researching and covering every detail of the phone industry, traveling the world to tour factories, interview CEOs, and get every last spec and photo Phone Scoop readers have come to expect. As an industry veteran, Rich is a respected voice on phone technology of the past, present, and future.

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