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RIP 3D Touch? iOS 13 points to death of popular iPhone feature

Apple’s popular 3D Touch feature is going away in iOS 13, judging by initial forays into the first developer beta of the next-generation operating system.

According to a 9to5Mac report, the first look at iOS 13 supports rumours pressure-sensitive screens – present in almost all handsets from the iPhone 6s before disappearing in the iPhone XR – won’t be present in the forthcoming iPhone 11.

That’s because it seems Apple has now settled on a standard long press to access much of the functionality offered by 3D Touch on phones like the iPhone XS and XS Max. In iOS 13 it’s now more akin to the haptic feedback that follows a long press on the iPhone XR in iOS 12, which was considered somewhat of a downgrade.

Related: How to download the iOS 13 beta

The report points out that the quick access shortcuts from an app icon are now handled exclusively by a long press that’s released when users feel a vibration, rather than the shorter, harder press necessary on 3D Touch-enabled phones.

In iOS 13 a long press also brings up the previewing interface that was previously available through 3D Touch Peek on compatible phones. In the example cited by the report a long press on a web link in Safari now brings up a smaller window previewing the page in question. The trend carries over to the iPad, according to the report, with Drag and Drop functionality accessed by long-pressing on the screen.

While standardisation might be better for Apple and easier to understand for users, the absence of 3D Touch makes iOS 13 somewhat slower and a little less intuitive, according to the report.

The report calls it a “mixed bag” and reads:

The drawback to the iOS 13 behavior is that the advantages of 3D Touch are essentially left on the cutting room floor. You can no longer press harder on the screen to commit the preview and ‘pop’ the new navigation into place. You can no longer press firmly on an app icon and select a quick action in a single action without releasing your finger from the screen.

Of course, this is still the first developer beta for iOS 13 and there’s still a long way to go until the consumer release of the operating system. However, it doesn’t look good for the future of 3D Touch. If you love the feature, you might want to stick with your iPhone X or XS when the next iPhones arrive later this year.

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