A touch utility appeared in Version 7 AT&T UNIX. The version of touch bundled in
coreutils was written by Paul Rubin, Arnold Robbins, Jim Kingdon, and David MacKenzie.
Single Unix Specification (SUS) specifies that touch should change the access times, modification times, or both, for a file. The file is identified by a pathname supplied as a single argument. It also specifies that if the file identified does not exist, the file is created and the access and modification times are set as specified. If no new timestamps are specified, touch uses the current time.
Programs that perform similar operations as the Unix
touch utility are available for other operating systems, including
Microsoft Windows and the
classic Mac OS.