One of the changes in design is the removal of the Force Touch gesture in watchOS 7. The watch won’t sense firm presses on display any more. Apple has updated many apps that previously hid the Force Touch context menu buttons to display those controls as buttons that can be tapped on-screen.
This also affects the way home screen layout can be changed. With previous version of watchOS, simply pressing firmly on the home screen could change between list view and grid view. Now, dive into the Settings app.
The removal of Force Touch in watchOS 7 comes a year after the 3D Touch functionality in iOS 13 was removed by Apple. This foreshadowed the removal of hardware prone to 3D Touch pressure in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro.
It doesn’t seem hard to imagine that the Force Contact feature would be dropped by a coming Apple Watch too. This could allow for thinner display panels and make room for other internal components, and also save Apple costs. Apple Watch’s next generation is set to be unveiled in the fall.
You should press firmly on the honeycomb grid in watchOS 6 and prior releases to reveal the list view toggle. In watchOS 7 this is no longer possible, since the system no longer distinguishes between a long press and firm pressure. Trying the old way to change the view to list in watchOS 7 will simply cause your apps to jiggle and enter the editing mode for the honeycomb grid.
And in watchOS 7 the view of the grid or chart is now an explicit choice in Settings:
How to change the home screen of watchOS 7 to the list
- Wake your Apple Watch and press the Digital Crown to go to the honeycomb grid home screen.
- Tap on the Settings app
- Scroll down and select ‘App View’
- Select List View from the App Layout menu.
You can now exit Settings, and see the layout of the list view. You can switch back by returning to Settings and selecting the Grid View layout.
This home screen layout options is a perfect example of how Force Touch removal has a significant effect on the watch experience. Previously, flipping between grid view and list view felt like a easy toggle: just tap the grid on the honeycomb and pinch the alphabetic row.