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.
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.