Supporting iPhones Without Force Touch

Apple’s 2015 WWDC Keynote didn’t reveal that force touch would be supported by iOS 9, probably because the latest iPhones[footnote]The iPhone 6 and 6+[/footnote] don’t support force touch. However, I imagine that come fall 2015, we’ll be seeing iPhones that support force touch given the Apple Watch and MacBook’s use of the new technology.

When those iPhones inevitably support force touch, developers will find interesting ways to use force touches in their apps. Figuring out how to degrade force touch support for devices that aren’t capable of recognizing force touches will be tricky.

What’s a developer to do? Supporting a new touch input has never been an issue before.

There have always been the same input devices on every iteration of the iPhone. A multi-touch display, two volume buttons, a ring/silent switch, the sleep/wake button, and a home button. Sure, the home button has added Touch ID in recent years, but handling no Touch ID support on a device is easy, because Touch ID replaces passwords. Force touch replaces buttons or other UI elements that would otherwise take up space on the screen.

If you’re a developer, how are you planning on gracefully degrading your app to work with iPhones that don’t support force touches?


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