Most mobile devices do not have a keyboard or a pointing device. They use touchscreens to allow users to physically interact with what is shown on the screen and type on a virtual keyboard. Fingers or a stylus are used in place of a mouse pointer. Icons, like those found on desktops and laptops, are clicked with a touch rather than a mouse button. Mobile device manufacturers use the word tap or touch when describing operations and steps when using a mobile device. You will see both of these terms in instruction manuals, and they mean the same thing. This course uses the term touch.

There are two types of touchscreens:

In addition to a single touch, mobile devices have the ability to recognize when two or more points of contact are made on the screen. This is called multi-touch. These are some common gestures used to perform functions:

These gestures may be different between devices. Many other gestures can also be used, depending on the device and operating system version. Check the device documentation for additional information.

Some smartphones have a proximity sensor that turns off the touchscreen when the phone is up to your ear and turns it on when you pull the device away from your ear. This prevents icons or numbers from being activated by contact with your face or ear, and also saves power.