Force Touch


Force Touch is a pressure-sensitive technology developed by Apple, used primarily in their devices like Apple Watches, MacBook trackpads, and iPhones. It enables devices to detect varying levels of pressure applied to the screen or touchpad and respond accordingly with different functions or features. This allows users to access different options, shortcuts, or menus with a single touch based on the intensity of the press.


The phonetics of the keyword “Force Touch” in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) would be: /fɔrs tʌʧ/

Key Takeaways

  1. Force Touch is a pressure-sensitive technology that responds differently based on the amount of force applied to the touch screen, allowing for new and intuitive input methods.
  2. It can be found in some Apple devices, such as iPhones, Apple Watches, and MacBook trackpads, enhancing user experience with added functionality and shortcuts.
  3. Force Touch can potentially lead to more efficient interaction with devices, as it allows users to access menus and perform tasks with fewer steps.


Force Touch is an important technological term because it represents a significant advancement in the field of human-machine interaction.

Developed by Apple, Force Touch is a pressure-sensitive technology that allows devices like smartphones, laptops, and smartwatches to detect varying levels of force applied by a user’s touch.

This additional layer of interaction opens up new possibilities for user interfaces, enabling more efficient and intuitive control, as well as offering richer functionality.

By differentiating between a light tap and a firm press, users can access a range of context-specific actions and shortcuts, thereby enhancing overall user experience and productivity.

In summary, Force Touch plays a vital role in driving improvement in user interfaces, and making devices more intuitive and responsive to user inputs.


Force Touch technology, introduced by Apple, has significantly enhanced user interaction with devices, providing a richer and more intuitive experience. Its purpose lies in differentiating various levels of force applied by a user on a trackpad or touchscreen, enabling devices to respond accordingly.

The additional layer of interaction fundamentally expands the range of actions a user can perform, profoundly improving multitasking and efficiency in daily device usage. The utilization of Force Touch technology can be found in various Apple devices like MacBook trackpads, Apple Watches, and iPhones.

This cutting-edge innovation allows devices to offer contextual menus, provide haptic feedback, and streamline navigation. For example, users can access shortcuts, preview content, or manipulate media playback by varying the pressure of their touch.

In essence, Force Touch blends both hardware and software elements to redefine user engagement with their devices, optimally transforming how individuals interact with technology.

Examples of Force Touch

Force Touch technology, also called 3D Touch or pressure-sensitive touchscreens, was first introduced by Apple in a few of their products. It allows users to access additional functionality by exerting different pressure levels on touchscreens or trackpads. Here are three real-world examples of Force Touch technology:

Apple Watch: Force Touch is used in Apple Watch to provide a “deep press” gesture, enabling users to access additional options and controls. For example, by firmly pressing the notification area, users can clear all notifications. Or, a deep press on the watch face brings up a menu to customize the design.

iPhones (iPhone 6s through iPhone XS): iPhones with 3D Touch utilized pressure-sensitive screens to enable various features like Peek and Pop. Users could press lightly on an email, message, link, or app icon for a “Peek” preview without opening it entirely. Pressing even harder would initiate a “Pop” action, fully opening the selected item.

MacBook (2015 and later) and MacBook Pro (2016 and later): The Force Touch trackpad on these MacBooks responds not only to finger movements but also to varying levels of pressure. Users can access additional functions like Quick Look definitions by pressing harder on a selected word, previewing files in Finder with a firm click, or adjusting fast-forward speed on audio and video files by applying variable pressure.

Force Touch FAQ

What is Force Touch?

Force Touch is a technology developed by Apple that senses the level of pressure applied by a user on the touch surface. This technology is used in various Apple devices such as iPhones, Apple Watches, MacBook trackpads, and the Magic Trackpad 2, allowing users to access additional functionality or shortcuts in apps by applying different pressure levels on the touch surface.

How does Force Touch work?

Force Touch uses tiny electrodes embedded around the touch surface, which measure the pressure applied by the user. As the pressure increases, it alters the electrical signals and Force Touch-capable devices can detect and measure these changes. The devices then respond accordingly, providing haptic feedback, triggering shortcuts, or adjusting scroll speed, depending on the user’s input pressure.

What are some common uses for Force Touch?

Force Touch enables various functions and shortcuts across different Apple devices. Some common uses include:

  • Quick access to app-specific features on the Apple Watch by pressing firmly on the screen
  • Previewing and opening links, photos, or documents, and accessing context menus on macOS by pressing harder on the trackpad
  • Adjusting the pressure sensitivity of drawing tools in select apps on the iPhone or iPad

Is Force Touch available on all Apple devices?

Force Touch is not available on all Apple devices. It is primarily used on select devices such as Apple Watches, MacBook trackpads, Magic Trackpad 2, and some iPhone models (iPhone 6s to iPhone X). Newer iPhone models use a similar technology called Haptic Touch, which relies on long-press gestures instead of varying pressure levels.

Can I disable Force Touch on my device?

Yes, you can disable or customize Force Touch settings on your Apple device. For Apple Watches, the settings are available under Accessibility in the Watch app on your iPhone. For MacBook trackpads or the Magic Trackpad 2, settings can be adjusted in System Preferences > Trackpad on macOS. On iPhone models with Force Touch, you can disable 3D and Haptic Touch in Settings > Accessibility > Touch.

Related Technology Terms

  • Haptic feedback
  • Pressure sensitivity
  • Capacitive touchscreen
  • 3D Touch
  • Gesture control

Sources for More Information


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