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Removal of 3D Touch app switching gesture in iOS 11 confirmed as intentional change

Whilst iOS 11 includes a lot of new stuff to enjoy, there are also a few features that have been left behind. One such example is a lesser-known 3D Touch gesture that enabled faster access to the iPhone app switcher and a quick shortcut to move back to the previous app. Both of these elements are no longer present in iOS 11 and a bug report confirms that this was an intentional removal …

Bryan Irace filed a Radar about the removal of the 3D Touch convenience gesture and posted the Apple engineer’s reply on Twitter.

Short but sweet, it unfortunately states that the feature has been removed on purpose and will not be returning: ‘Please know that this feature was intentionally removed.’ This dispels speculation that the lack of the gesture in the first two iOS 11 developer seeds was merely a bug.

In case you aren’t aware exactly what feature we are referencing, try it out for yourself: on an iOS 10 device with 3D Touch, iPhone 6s or iPhone 7, press deeply at the left edge of the screen to open the app switcher.

Instead of lifting immediately, drag across to seamlessly switch from the current app to the previous one. This was much faster than double-tapping the Home Button and dragging between open app ‘cards’, but will simply stop working when users upgrade to iOS 11.

You can see Craig Federighi demo the gesture at the original iPhone 6s event below, which heralded 3D Touch as a marquee feature. It’s fair to say that the functionality was not a critical part of the iOS experience; it was meant as a power user shortcut to a very common action.

It’s unclear why Apple would remove something that was so useful — perhaps it interferes with the gestures of the upcoming bezel-less iPhone 8 somehow, although it’s hard to envision how it might clash.

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