Apple debuted watchOS 7 during its WWDC opening keynote this past Monday and there is one change that didn’t get a lot of attention – Apple is killing off Force Touch.
As people with watchOS 7 installed have begun to notice, Force Touch is no longer working which would suggest that the upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 will also nix the feature. That will, hopefully, allow the watch to be smaller and thinner than previous models.
Apple has also updated its Human Interface Guidelines document to reflect the change, with developers told that Force Touch is now replaced with a long press.
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.
This move mimics one that Apple started taking with the iPhone when the iPhone XR arrived in 2018. 3D Touch was killed off in favor of Haptic Touch, a long press that has the Haptic Engine vibrate to mimic the feeling of tapping.
We don’t yet know why Apple took the decision to kill 3D Touch and Force Touch, but it does mean there are fewer layers involved when Apple needs to spec out and then build its screens. That has to be a good thing, no doubt.
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