In Client mode (CTRLA.MODE=0x2), the SPI interface will remain inactive with the MISO line tri-stated as long as the SS pin is pulled high. Software may update the contents of DATA at any time as long as the Data Register Empty flag in the Interrupt Status and Clear register (INTFLAG.DRE) is set.

When SS is pulled low and SCK is running, the client will sample and shift out data according to the Transaction mode set. When the content of TxDATA has been loaded into the Shift register, INTFLAG.DRE will be set, and new data can be written to DATA.

Similar to the host, the client will receive one character for each character transmitted. A character will be transferred into the two-level or four-level receive buffer within the same clock cycle its last data bit is received. The received character can be retrieved from DATA when the Receive Complete interrupt flag (INTFLAG.RXC) is set.

When the host pulls the SS line high, the transaction is done and the Transmit Complete Interrupt flag in the Interrupt Flag Status and Clear register (INTFLAG.TXC) will be set.

After DATA is written it takes up to three SCK clock cycles until the content of DATA is ready to be loaded into the Shift register on the next character boundary. As a consequence, the first character transferred in a SPI transaction will not be the content of DATA. This can be avoided by using the preloading feature. Refer to Preloading of the Client Shift Register.

When transmitting several characters in one SPI transaction, the data has to be written into DATA register with at least three SCK clock cycles left in the current character transmission. If this criteria is not met, the previously received character will be transmitted.

Once the DATA register is empty, it takes three CLK_SERCOM_APB cycles for INTFLAG.DRE to be set.