We’ve known for a while that Apple was planning to remove Force Touch in its watchOS 7 update — it was gone even before the first public beta finally appeared last month, but it still seems pretty likely at least a few users have been taken by surprise by this change after installing watchOS 7 on their devices.
To be clear, Force Touch gestures were never the most discoverable way of interacting with an Apple Watch, and many users probably never even realized that some functionality was hidden behind a firm press on their display. Still, it’s been a part of the Apple Watch experience since the very first model debuted back in 2015, and actually served as the inspiration for the iPhone’s 3D Touch feature that first came to the iPhone 6s around the same time.
However, with Apple having abandoned 3D Touch, it’s probably no big surprise that the Apple Watch is also losing Force Touch.
There’s a good chance that the new Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 6 don’t even include the necessary hardware to support it, as that also allows Apple to manufacture its devices more cheaply and saves a bit of space inside by removing the extra screen layer required to sense these firmer presses.
Unlike 3D Touch, however, which has been replaced by a new Haptic Touch system that mirrors most of the same functionality using long presses, with watchOS 7 Apple has moved away from the gesture entirely within the core Apple Watch experience, preferring instead to place controls where they can be more prominently accessed.
This is probably going to be a great thing for new Apple Watch users, since it really is far more intuitive, but it will probably leave many Apple Watch power users scratching their heads for how to access features that they’ve taken for granted as hiding behind a Force Touch gesture.
While almost all of Apple’s watchOS-level controls and first-party apps have removed the need for Force Touch gestures, a long-press can still be used for third-party apps that still require them, but Apple is encouraging all third-party developers to follow its lead in abandoning this gesture in favour of more discoverable controls.
Read on for how to access your favourite Force Touch features in watchOS 7.