Apple Drops Force Touch Gesture in watchOS 7

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 For example, the Force Touch gesture for the app layout Grid/List View has been replaced by a menu option in the Settings app.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.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6, watchOS 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
6 weeks ago
This is not good, IMO.

I adjusted away from 3D Touch pretty quickly, but this was an important mechanism for a device with a tiny screen.
Score: 75 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
6 weeks ago
”Similarly, changing the Calendar view must now be done in Settings”

wait what? if I want to quickly change between list and today view, I need to go back to the app drawer, find Settings, scroll down to Calendar, and pick the new view?

I hope I’m wrong?
Score: 56 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
6 weeks ago
This is the worst news I have heard all day. Force touch makes soooooooo much sense on the Watch.
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
6 weeks ago
Hey Apple, please stop killing useful features!
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
6 weeks ago
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.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
6 weeks ago
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.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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