watchOS 7 is dropping a key Apple Watch feature, hinting to Apple Watch 6 changes

Apple Watch 5
The Apple Watch 5 (Image credit: Shutterstock)

When Apple unveiled watchOS 7 it didn't mention that the upcoming Apple Watch operating system would be dropping support for a long-standing feature of the smartwatches, but that seems to be the case, and it gives us a clue at a feature the upcoming Apple Watch 6 might miss.

A consistent feature of Apple Watches is Force Touch, which isn't a jedi skill but a way of accessing secret or hidden menus by pressing hard on the touchscreen. Well, according to Apple's new Human Interface Guidelines, the company is urging app developers to drop the feature, in lieu of other methods of menu management.

It seems the reason for this is that the menus previously hidden through Force Touch are now accessible in other ways, making the feature redundant. 

According to MacRumors, the watchOS 7 developer preview shows Apple's first-party apps don't use the feature anymore, lending credence to suggestions it's dead.

It seems, then, that older Apple Watches won't use Force Touch when watchOS 7 comes around, despite having the hardware for it - and this could tell us something about the Apple Watch 6.

What about the Apple Watch 6?

If watchOS 7 looks set to drop Force Touch, and the Apple Watch 6 is set to come with the software pre-installed, it looks very likely that the Apple Watch 6 won't have the Force Touch feature.

In fact, the Apple Watch 6 may not have the hardware required for the feature at all, likely saving more space inside the device for other kinds of tech. Perhaps Apple dropped Force Touch specifically so it could add a different tech into the upcoming smartwatch.

We won't find out for sure until the end of the year, when we're expecting the Apple Watch 6 to launch. In July, the public beta of watchOS 7 will give us an even better idea of what to expect.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.