With iPhone XR, is Apple admitting 3D Touch is a failure?

“Remember 3D Touch? Unless you’re a power iOS user you probably don’t,” Natasha Lomas writes for TechCrunch. “Or, well, you’d rather not. It’s been clear for some time now that the technology Apple lauded at its 2015 unveiling as the ‘next generation of multi-touch’ most certainly wasn’t. For the mainstream iPhone user it’s just that annoying thing that gets in the way of what you’re actually trying to do.”

“Pro geeks might be endlessly delighted about being able to learn the secrets of its hidden depths, and shave all-important microseconds off of their highly nuanced workflows,” Lomas writes. “But everyone else ignores it.”

“Or at least tries to ignore it — until, in the middle of trying to do something important they accidentally trigger it and get confused and annoyed about what their phone is trying to do to them,” Lomas writes. “three years on from unveiling 3D Touch, it’s now ‘fessing up to its own feature failure — as the latest iPhone line-up drops the pressure-sensing technology entirely from the cheapest of the trio: The iPhone XR. The lack of 3D Touch on the XR will help shave off some manufacturing cost and maybe a little thickness from the device… Apple is relegating the technology it once called the future of multi-touch to what it really was: An add-on power feature for pro users.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We use 3D Touch all day, but, of course, we know what we’re doing. We miss it on our iPads multiple times per day. Siri Shortcuts will be the same: The great unwashed won’t even know, or care, that it’s there; they certainly won’t be using it in any meaningful way.


  1. i had 3D touch on my iPhone 6S, hardly used it, and when i did use it i didnt like it. When i upgraded to iPhone SE which doesn’t have 3D touch i dont miss it either.

    1. This is the problem. With the XR, apple is signaling to developers to not bother (and instead focus on AR & ML) 3D Touch will never become as awesome as its potential because Apple decided it wasn’t worth it.

  2. I use it all day long when I’m typing something. If you press hard on the keyboard, it turns the keyboard into a little trackpad so that you can easily and precisely get the cursor to the right spot. My favorite use for it. Don’t want it to go away.

    1. Agreed — this is the *one* use I have ever had for 3D touch.

      MDN’s comparing it to Siri Shortcuts–claiming most people don’t even know it’s there–is no good. As the linked column points out and I for one can attest, it’s CONSTANTLY turning up when I don’t want it, confusing and misdirecting me.

      Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    2. Even if 3d touch goes away you wont lose this functionity .

      The iphone XR goes around 3d touch by incorporating Haptic Touch.. (long hold , followed by heptic feedback )
      I belive heptic touch will replace 3d touch.. its much simpler and less costly to produce.

      Other alternative …like on ipad.. is two fingers hold on keypad to switch to trackpad ..

    1. But you can just tap and hold on the space bar. No press. And get the cursor. Like on the iPad. Maybe that’s just iOS 12 actually. Which would mean apple is moving away from it. I love 3D Touch on the lock screen. Peek and pop is just the best.

      1. On my iPhone X with iOS 11 I’m not able to reproduce what you are explaining. Maybe that’s an iOS 12 thing as you say and they are building alternatives to non-3D touch devices and moving away from it.

      2. I like it on the lock screen too. However with the X the lock screen is about useless. My husband has one. I was trying to show him the 3D Touch and it would just unlock when he tried.

  3. I love 3D Touch. I have a couple of games that use it and it’s great, especially a FPS game. I am not a big gamer though. I think developers have not used it because it was not on all phones, also not Android. Android loyal press keep calling it a gimmick like they did 64bit. They can’t stand an advance that does not come from Alphabet. As they pat themselves on the back for the XR’s lack of 3D Touch they fail to mention every other phone in the line up has it now. Apple also replaced it with something similar not get rid of the tech all together. Of course this gives them something to complain about because they can’t talk about how behind Android makers are in chip design.

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