What Is a Toggle?

A toggle is a switch with two positions, either on or off. In software, toggles are the preferred method for users to change system settings because they take less screen space than radio buttons and clearly indicate whether a feature is currently ON or OFF. Toggles are best used when users need to select between two opposing options that will have immediate results, such as turning airplane mode ON or OFF on a mobile device.

In addition to visual cues like movement and color, clear labels are important for toggle switches. They should always describe what state the switch is in, as well as the current state of the option it controls. It’s also a good idea to avoid using the same colors for different states (i.e. red for ON and blue for OFF) as these can be confusing for users who may have different societal or cultural associations with those colors.

Toggle can also be a verb, meaning to switch or alternate between two positions with a single lever or switch, such as toggling between screens while video chatting with friends. However, the more common use of this word is to refer to a pin or rod that’s inserted transversely through an eye or loop in a rope, so as to temporarily bind it to another such toggle in a chain.

A toggle switch is a user-interface control that lets users update preferences, settings, and other types of information in an instant. Toggles are often used to replace checkboxes on forms, especially when they require a confirmation button in order for changes to take effect. Toggles can be difficult to design and implement correctly, but they offer a great alternative to radio buttons when they’re the right fit for the scenario. Toggle is an essential component of a responsive interface that offers the flexibility to meet the needs of both desktop and mobile users.