Apple Drops Force Touch Gesture in watchOS 7

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Apr 12, 2001
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Apple has elected to drop support for Force Touch in watchOS 7, indicating that the Apple Watch Series 6 will not include the firm-press gesture from the outset.

Force Touch used in the Weather app on watchOS 6

Force Touch can be used in watchOS 6 to reveal hidden menus on Apple Watch, such as options to clear notifications and customize the current Watch Face. These options will no longer be accessed using the Force Touch gesture when watchOS 7 is released. Apple's new Human Interface Guidelines for developers making apps for watchOS 7 confirms the change:
Firm press and long press. In versions of watchOS before watchOS 7, people could press firmly on the display to do things like change the watch face or reveal a hidden menu called a Force Touch menu. In watchOS 7 and later, system apps make previously hidden menu items accessible in a related screen or a settings screen. If you formerly supported a long-press gesture to open a hidden menu, consider relocating the menu items elsewhere.
Several native apps in the watchOS 7 beta already reflect the gesture's removal. For example, the Force Touch gesture for the app layout Grid/List View has been replaced by a menu option in the Settings app. Similarly, changing the Calendar view must now be done in Settings, while the gesture to Change Move Goal in the Activity app has become just another menu item. The Customize Watch Face menu is now accessed via a long press.

In 2018, Apple did something similar when the iPhone XR was introduced with a ‌Haptic Touch‌ feature that replaced ‌3D Touch‌. While Haptic Touch (aka long press) is essentially a feedback mechanism, 3D Touch offered genuine input options like Peek and Pop. This change has since expanded to the entire iPhone lineup, which has allowed Apple to remove the capacitive layer integrated into the iPhone display.

Apple's reasoning behind the removal of the firm-press gesture on Apple Watch isn't clear, but it could be that not enough users were aware of it for it to be genuinely useful, or perhaps Apple decided that some of the functions it offered were replicated elsewhere and therefore redundant.

With no need for a Force Touch layer in future Apple Watch models, Apple could conceivably use the extra space to include a larger battery, but that's pure speculation at this point. We won't know until the Apple Watch Series 6 makes its debut in the fall. Will you miss Force Touch or was it something you didn't use? Let us know in the comments.

Article Link: Apple Drops Force Touch Gesture in watchOS 7
 
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MrLoL

macrumors 6502
Jan 20, 2014
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I'm truly annoyed by that. It's not like 3D touch where you didn't even know it existed, it's essential to the platform to edit watch faces, clear all, open menus... and it's there since Series 0! They're basically scrapping the hardware on all the watches by not even leaving the option to press harder to go faster.
 

Phil A.

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Apr 2, 2006
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Disappointing but not surprising as it seems Force Touch is something Apple have decided they don't want to pursue in the future.

I find force touch on my watch very useful and will definitely miss it, though: "Haptic touch" (AKA long touch) works OK on phones, but on the smaller watch, I'm not so sure
 

alpi123

macrumors 65816
Jun 18, 2014
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Why are they trying to get rid of 3D Touch... it's actually one of the few innovative features Apple offered that others didn't and for 1-2 years we saw it was very useful.

Maybe for them it feels too much like a real button and that's why they shy away from it.
 

swingerofbirch

macrumors 68040
Huh. That's a weird one.

In the back of my mind, I had this long-shot wish that they would re-add 3D Touch to the iPhone (and all devices really) with a machine learning software function that could determine how firmly you were pressing without having an actual atmospheric change. I vaguely remember hearing Google was working on something like that.

So it's just the MacBook lineup and iPhone SE 2020 that have force touch left (I know the iPhone SE doesn't have 3D Touch but has force touch for the home button)?

After they introduced the Magic Keyboard for iPad with a mechanical button makes you wonder about the future of the Mac's trackpad. Force touch to me seems so much better, but so did 3D Touch.
 

Vjosullivan

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2013
937
1,085
Why are they trying to get rid of 3D Touch...
Almost certainly because it's a lot easier to crack the screen of the watch than people realise. It looks solid enough but you can't know how solid until you break it. If, like me, you've ever had the misfortune to break one then you'll see that the screen is eggshell thin.

It is significantly more fragile than the crystal cover on most watches. And, because it's an integral part of the watch and not just a protective cover, a lot more expensive to replace.
 

darkpaw

macrumors 6502
Sep 13, 2007
325
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London, England
This is pretty dumb. I will now have to write a separate settings screen within my Watch app, add one button somewhere on a screen that has a table in it (probably below the table, I guess), and also add three buttons to a different screen to handle the three functions in that menu that will be removed. Pathetic. Extra work for no actual gain.

If Apple are upset that users don't know they can Force Touch, then they should advertise that feature better. But no, now it's up to the developers to work around this insanity.
 

Max_B

macrumors newbie
Feb 9, 2018
19
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Just releasing an autonomous version of my mapping app which has essential menus on 3 paging screens. Let's hope at least long press is an option.
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
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I’m sure Apple has a much stronger understanding of why they would remove this feature over my own, but I definitely don’t agree with it. The only logical thing I can think of is, is increasing the battery in the future, which if that is the case, then I guess I can accept that as an excusable trade off, being you can never have enough battery longevity in a smart watch.
 

alFR

macrumors 68020
Aug 10, 2006
2,459
477
What the headline/story writer missed was that the menus section of the new HIG (linked from the Gestures page) says:
If you must continue to use hidden menus, follow these guidelines.

Combine a label with a glyph to convey the purpose of each menu action. Both the label and the glyph are required. Labels are limited to two lines, so make sure the text is concise.

Use menus for contextual or secondary actions. Menus give people access to actions that modify the contents of the current screen.

Avoid using menus for key actions or app navigation. Always provide primary actions and navigation in the main interface; use menus only to modify or adjust the current screen.

Avoid replicating the visual style of menus in other parts of your app. If you must use a similar layout, apply color to your interface or arrange items in a way that differentiates them from menus.
So, looks like they are deprecating them / changing the guidelines (maybe for accessibility, I can certainly see an argument for lack of discoverability/usability of force press for users who need sensory/motor accommodations, or maybe for upcoming new hardware that omits the hardware for force press, who knows) but you can still use hidden menus so existing apps with them will still work.
- - Post merged: - -

I’m sure Apple has a much stronger understanding of why they would remove this feature over my own, but I definitely don’t agree with it. The only logical thing I can think of is, is increasing the battery in the future, which if that is the case, then I guess I can accept that as an excusable trade off, being you can never have enough battery longevity in a smart watch.
I'm guessing they have data that only a tiny percentage of users ever use it.
 
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2013.1

macrumors regular
Aug 28, 2014
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Force Touch had to have a slow learning curve due to its lack of hint to a function. So some useful features never were revealed to a lot of users.
 
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