A toggle is a switch, a piece of hardware or software that has two positions—on and off. Toggle switches are used when you need to change a setting or preference quickly, like when you switch between stream and map view in a map app. They also appear in most options menus where the user can select from two or more choices. Toggle switches can be found in most of the apps you use every day.
Toggle has many different meanings, but it is most commonly used to describe switching back and forth between settings or programs, the way a student might toggle between French and Spanish homework. The word can also be used to refer to a rod-shaped button that fastens something (like a cord or rope) by passing it through an eye or loop.
In a user interface, toggles are best used to provide system settings and preferences—states of a system function—to users. They are preferred over radio buttons because they take up less screen real estate and offer immediate results, whereas a checkbox may require a click and a subsequent delay in changing state. When using toggles, it is important to provide clear labels and consistent visual design so that users know what each switch does—and the difference between on and off. It is also recommended to use high-contrast colors to signal state changes, and consider societal or cultural implications when choosing the color palette for toggles.