Why iPad Pro doesn’t have iPhone’s 3D Touch

“Why doesn’t Apple give iPad Pro the same pressure-sensitive technology as iPhone?” Rene Ritchie writes for iMore.

“On the iPhone, pressing firmly lets you peak and pop through the interface and press your way to shortcuts in an increasing number of places. On iPad, unless you have an Apple Pencil, all pressing firmly gets you is a sore finger,” Ritchie writes. “Why is that? On iPad, why can’t you have your Apple Pencil and 3D Touch too?”

“With 3D Touch on the iPhone, an array of capacitive sensors integrated into the LED backlight system measure microscopic changes in the distance between the array and the cover glass—the kind of changes created by pressure from your finger,” Ritchie writes. “That’s a different implementation from Apple Watch, which uses a series of electrodes lining the curvature of the screen to detect press events and determine the force, then combine it with multitouch data to determine the location… Force Touch and 3D Touch were designed, in part, to overcome the limitations of smaller screens.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The smaller the display, the more valuable that firm press becomes. We use Force Touch many times per day on our Apple Watches. We use 3D Touch fewer times, but still multiple times per day on our iPhones. We don’t miss it on our iPads because the displays are large enough to show much of the options revealed via firm presses on Apple Watch and iPhone displays.

Force Touch on Apple Watch and 3D Touch on iPhone allow developers to exploit the Z axis to make the displays “bigger.” On iPad, in most cases, the display is already big enough.

That’s not to say 3D/Force Touch won’t ever show up on iPad, but we bet it won’t be used as often as it is on iPhone or, certainly, on Apple Watch.


  1. Would probably be bad for the large screen too..there is flex as you move towards the middle. Considering how thin it is, I would think pressing too hard on the mid part of the screen would be bad over time. Watching my son play minecraft on the 12 inch kind of reinforced that theory, lol. Made me nervous enough to just ban him from using it…after screen rotation mysteriously stopped working (replaced with new iPad at no cost).

    1. True, there is such concern. However, Apple uses AI to discard false triggering in such situation, so they totally should implement 3D touch for the sake of uniformity of the many UI elements that look and behave exactly the same both on iPhone and iPad. It is annoying use the same thing but to always adjust yourself when switching between the two.

      1. 3D Touch for iPad is far too difficult a problem for Apple to solve. Apple is stumped, stymied, confounded. It is beyond human capability. Get used to it.

  2. Miss it here too. The touch, click differences become confusing and frustrating when you jump back-and-forth between the iPhone 7S Plus and 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which I do every day.

    1. same here. I use 3d touch extensively while typing. I’m a horrible typist, and I find myself pushing down hard while swiping on the keyboard to relocate the cursor to where i need to make a correction dozens of times per day.

      it really slows me down when I cannot do that.

  3. The iPad Pro doesn’t have 3D Touch because it’s a different screen and is set up for the Apple Pencil, which uses a grid under the screen to detect the position. They can’t do both the 3D Touch and the Pencil system on the same screen.

    And this is why we can’t use the pencil on the regular iPad or the iPhone.

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