Heads-up, copyeditors: in some contexts, “click” and “tap” are in the process of becoming synonymous. We expect that to continue and to bleed into non-technical contexts. “Touch,” however, is almost never appropriate when a more-specific verb is accurate; it’s too lingering for a tap or click, but too short and/or imprecise for a press-and-hold gesture.
We currently are using “touch” mostly in two contexts:
- As a noun or adjective in “the touchscreen” and in “touchscreen displays.”
- As a verb meaning to contact in a way for which “tap” or “click” or “drag” are overly specific or formal. For example, “Just touch the screen to awaken the device.” But then, more specifically, “Tap the application icon.”