The convenient 3D Touch power-user gesture for quickly opening iOS’s app switcher has disappeared from iOS 11 beta. According to Apple Engineering’s response to a Radar that developer Bryan Irace recently filed regarding its removal, the gesture was pulled intentionally from iOS 11 beta and might not be coming back in subsequent betas.

On iOS 10 and older, you can view your recently used apps by pressing the left side of the screen with 3D Touch. You can also use 3D Touch to quickly switch to a previous app by pressing the left edge of the screen hard, then swipe right.

Neither gesture works in iOS 11 beta.

When asked about the removal, Irace received the following reply from Apple Engineering:

Please know that this feature was intentionally removed.

The wording confirms it’s not a bug—Apple did remove this power-user gesture on purpose.

Here’s the screenshot of Apple’s response to Irace’s Radar.

I have a problem with the wording of the statement.

For starers, it doesn’t make it 100 percent clear whether or not they intentionally removed the gesture from iOS 11 beta only for it to return in subsequent betas. We were, of course, hoping it was merely a bug. But the fact that it isn’t listed as a known issue in the release notes accompanying the iOS 11 installer is rather telling.

This could be related to iPhone 8.

With major design changes coming to the next iPhone in the form of a nearly full-screen face with a seamless OLED display, the feature’s removal might quite possibly indicate a brand new way of accessing iOS’s app switcher on iPhone 8.

I wish Apple made it an optional setting rather than remove it completely. That way, people who still wanted it could keep it. On the other hand, Apple has stats on iOS features people use and perhaps numbers for the app switching 3D Touch thing were dismal, who knows?

The fact is, it doesn’t make much sense if you use your Plus iPhone model right-handed. Besides, I know many people who accidentally activate it all the time and get annoyed.

Could it have been deprecated by iPhone 8, because it was too easy to trigger accidentally without a bezel around the display? Will iPhone 8’s rumored function area at the bottom doubles as an app switcher of sorts? Last but not least, has Apple decided to remove the gesture because very few people were using it or were unaware it existed in the first place?

Tell us what you think in the comments section!

  • Tony

    Bummer !!! Don’t know about other people, but I used it all the time.

    Let’s hope there is some other similar solution when iPhone 8 launches (i.e. dock bar at bottom of screen).

    • That’s what I was thinking. If there’s a Touch Bar like function area aligned horizontally at the very bottom of the iPhone 8 screen, maybe they’ll put app switcher there. Would be great if I could switch apps by swiping on my recently used apps there.

      • Rechain

        Yeah, but why not keep the feature for older devices while change it for the new iPhone? Is it so hard to keep a feature for a device, even though not needed on a newer device on same iOS version?

      • MMA Rules

        Agree, I have an iPhone 7 Plus and I don’t mind double clicking on the home button since it’s not a physical one but when I had the 6s Plus it hurt when I had to double tap on the home button cause it had that little strange sound like it had sand underneath or something, they should keep it for the 6s owners at least and I wouldn’t mind using it again

    • I think this move is all about the iPhone 8 and an upcoming new way of invoking the App Switcher.

      • Nathaniel

        Definitely correct

      • Mr_Coldharbour

        That doesn’t mean that they have to forcibly remove a feature a good chunk of 6/7S Plus users use all the time. Just leave the feature there for us peasant 6/7S Plus users, it’s not like it’s in the way or anything.

  • Abhijeet Gupta

    I used it all the time

  • brian.

    I said this other places, I’ll say it here. Use the feedback button to express your distaste for this removal.

    • Jay

      I’ve never used it. At least not on purpose. I feared lifting the screen protector on the side and it felt weird activating with a case on the phone.. wont miss it..

    • jabohn

      YES. If you are in the beta then file your feedback! In iOS 10 the home button behaviour changed but Apple got so much feedback that they offered the option to turn the old behaviour back on! P.S. there are other things missing in iOS 11 too, not just this one.

  • M_Hawke

    I use it continuously. If it is going to be replaced on subsequent phones, there better be a just as handy way to invoke the task switcher.

    • MMA Rules

      Or make it a setting for whoever doesn’t like it and call it a day

  • Mr_Coldharbour

    I use this feature all the time, every time. Why would Apple remove this feature? This is my most used 3D Touch gesture. Again Apple with their 2 steps backwards, 5 steps backwards even further approach to things. This better be back in later betas or else I won’t be updating to iOS 11. I already have iOS 11 on my beta iPhone 6 and so far I do not like the changes.

    • Neal Honickman

      I love this feature as well. Dang Apple needs to stop removing things. They need to add more options

    • Shadowelite123

      They remove one feature and suddenly they are 5 steps backwards? Great logic. I can tell you that a majority of users don’t use that feature let alone even know about it. Plus its only a left side of the screen feature. Maybe some people will, but I’m not changing which hand i use my phone to be able to use one feature.

      • Mr_Coldharbour

        A majority of users don’t even know their iPhone 6S / 6S Plus is equipped with a feature called 3D Touch (sadly a fact). Does that mean Apple should axe 3D Touch altogether? Your logic is even better (sarcasm).

      • Shadowelite123

        3D touch is a whole technology, the gesture is just a feature. You can’t really compare it all too well. For one, the 3D touch feature isn’t even practical for right handed users. Some people may go ahead and shift to left hand use to take advantage of this feature, but I sure won’t. The fact that its not practical for right handed users is the reason that makes the most sense to me that Apple removed not. Why put in a feature that is exclusive to one kind of person? There isn’t even a similar option for the other half of users. Your attempt at comparing a piece of technology to a simple feature is laughable.

      • Mr_Coldharbour

        You could always just hold the phone with your right hand and invoke the app switcher with your left hand. The app switcher is a leftwards sliding feature to begin with so one is obliged to use their left hand for that gesture. Besides, use your right hand for support if you’re that much of a right handed person.

      • Shadowelite123

        Yea no I’m not going to use my left hand just for that. On top of that, it’s not natural. It’s not smooth. Even iDB said this. You have to 3D Touch the edge of the screen pretty hard just to invoke the app switcher that way. Apples biggest drive for their software is that it just works. Simplicity, effortless, practical. We’re not all you. Removing one feature is not taking 5 steps back. Again, did you even care to try and understand why Apple would remove a feature such as that?

      • Mr_Coldharbour

        iDB is not the authority of all things practical, “natural” or “smooth.” Also, there are a lot of users who are annoyed by the removal of this feature, I’m not the only one. Lastly, not everyone is getting the latest and “greatest” iPhone where a feature such as this maybe irrelevant due to a new way being implemented to invoke the app switcher. My point is Apple shouldn’t ditch those who have last generation’s iPhones and remove something that was working fine for them. If you don’t use that feature, fine, just don’t use it. If it’s not in the way then there’s no reason for its removal.

      • Shadowelite123

        I don’t recall saying iDB was the authority. I never recalled saying that anything iDB says is a fact. What is a fact is how much pressure you actually need to apply to invoke that 3D touch app switcher. As far as not everyone is getting the latest and greatest iPhone, I doubt Apple is stupidly capable as to make a gesture such as the one being discussed into a revised method and make it exclusive on one iPhone model. This is something software can fix, adding some new technology for the same of one little gesture is a waste. So people are annoyed with the removal on this one little gesture? Get over it. Its one gesture. It requires either just as much or more effort than pressing the home button twice. You still haven’t answered my question, did you even care to try and understand why Apple would remove this one little feature? If you can’t even answer that, don’t bother going on another pointless rant. You’re too naive to realize something so simple.

      • Mr_Coldharbour

        My intent wasn’t to answer your question, in fact I thought I already answered it when stating that Apple is doing this simply to give you a reason to upgrade your phone. Also it’s not just one gesture, this completely impacts the way all users who have come accustomed to using this feature myself included. In fact, a huge reason why I even jailbroke my iPhones in the past was to simply have an app switcher multitasking gesture that didn’t require the press of the home button because I deemed it unnecessary and a wear and tear of an already sensitive home button. This 3D Touch gesture was a hugely welcomed addition. Again, there’s no reason for its removal on iPhones 7 and below. Finally, you can set how hard a screen press is required, if you’re that worried about the screen being pressured too much after so many 3D touches/presses, you can set the pressure to soft under accessibility settings. That should alleviate any further pressure on the screen in the medium to long term.

      • Shadowelite123

        Wow you sure like to make stuff up, don’t you? You never answered my question. Did you even read anything you said? The feature that was removed is in fact ONE gesture. There isn’t more than one gesture in question. There’s only one. On top of that, the feature wasn’t perfect. Changing 3D Touch sensitivity doesn’t change how much pressure is necessary. If it even did change the amount of pressure to invoke this gesture, it is insignificant compared to other areas of 3D Touch, unless somehow my iPhone and the 3D Touch iPhones that my co workers, family members, and friends have are defective. You keep saying there’s no reason that this one gesture should be removed like it’s a fact. It’s not, it’s an opinion. Simply because you use a feature and you’re willing to adapt to make use of it doesn’t mean the majority of users will. You treat this to be as big of a deal as the removal of the headphone jack when it’s not a big deal at all. You can’t deny that this features popularity was low. Even if it was, in either scenario, there’s no way Apple would remove this one feature to introduce it as an iPhone 8 exclusive. Its one feature that makes use of existing technology. It’s ridiculous to think that they’ll make it an exclusive. If they do just that, come back to me and I’ll admit I was wrong, however for now, it’s just Apple removing a feature they didn’t think was up to their standards. That’s what I think makes the most sense and I think it makes way more sense than removing a 2 year old feature to make it an exclusive one for a new release.

  • Jamessmooth

    I wonder if they’re removing this because of the iPhone 8’s no (or very slim ) bezel design.

    • George

      I hope that leak of the new design is fake. That top bezel just looks horrible.

  • I use ALL the time

  • Iskren Donev

    This feature is crucial to me. Before iOS 10 I used to have an Activator action that triggered multitasking in a very similar manner. I do prefer Apple’s implementation however since it is much sleeker.

  • Madhu Renduchintala

    I used it all the time. I really miss that! And I filed a bug report!

  • Mike M. Powell

    People on reddit are saying they removed it so they can use it as one of the main features for the new iPhone coming out. Since they’re removing the home button, we need a way to access the multitasking screen. So I say this was kind of brilliant. It’ll be a feature they’ll announce when they demo it.

    • techfreak23

      That doesn’t make any sense… they’ve had this as a feature for the last two phone releases and they’re taking it out for an “exclusive” iPhone 8 feature??? That’s the most ridiculous thing I think I’ve ever heard as far as rumors go… “brilliant in some terms…” not even close man.

      • Mike M. Powell

        Calm down there buddy, we all have opinions hence why I said it’s a “rumor” going around Reddit. No need to get worked up. It was Apples “intended” decision, they must have something cooking up….

      • techfreak23

        I understand it’s a rumor and I’m not “worked up” about it. I’m only pointing out how ridiculous that rumor is. Whoever made that comment on reddit is an idiot.

        My only justification for a decision like that, along with the new Notification Center, is that it’s specifically for the 8, which is stupid because they make no sense on current models…
        It’s like when they changed the app switcher for iOS 9. They switched the scroll direction because of the feature we’re talking about for the then unreleased iPhone 6s.

  • Wilhelm Roentgen

    Useless for me. My thumb can’t reach that far up. 2 clicks on the home button is so much easier

    • techfreak23

      What do you mean “that far up”? You can literally invoke it on the entire left side of the screen… it’s honestly not that much of a difference to reach to the left edge of the screen than it is to reach for the bottom of the phone for the home button…

  • George

    Apple hates power users.

    • igobythisname

      Truly!

  • Steve Harvey

    Time to work on iOS 11 jailbreak

  • Steffen Reich

    I have basically trained myself to operate my 7+ with the left hand, just so I can make use of this… here’s to hoping this is only temporarily.

  • nonchalont

    Gives a reason for the jailbreak community to handle it.

  • john snow

    Burn in hell!!

    • Shadowelite123

      Calm down.

  • john snow

    We need to write a petition! OMG i will install iOS11 beta to send tons of feedback about this. Holy cr@p!

    • MMA Rules

      Please do

  • JulianZH

    i know about this function but hardly use it. maybe once per 6 months?

  • Gabriel Schwartz

    If this is true than it’s time for Jailbreak.
    What a stupid idea to remove this.
    I use it all the time.

  • Abhijeet Gupta

     be like – 1 step forward 2 backwards.

    • Shadowelite123

      Hardly.

      • Abhijeet Gupta

        It is for those who use this feature

      • Shadowelite123

        Did you even care to acknowledge the reasons why they removed it? Of course not.

    • igobythisname

      Very true

    • Mr_Coldharbour

      More like 1 step backward 4 steps backwards even further.

  • h4nd0fg0d

    App switcher is utterly disfunctional on ios 11 beta 2. Just saying, fckrs, Apple.

    • techfreak23

      I thought I was the only one having issues. It’s completely broken and works half the time for closing apps

  • mickey

    Can’t I used this feature too much coming from using tweaks like zephyr/multitasking gestures/tage. It always took a little more effort to press at the right spot and pressure to activate it. Not sure why they would remove it since the average user doesn’t even know about it. Even if the 8 has a different way of activating it, they are leaving legacy phones in the dust.

  • Sleaka J

    I totally forgot it was even there.

  • Diego Milano

    I’ve never had any problems activating this by accident; Apple, why not just add a simple option to enable or disable this, FOR ONCE give the customer the option to customize the iOS experience, PLEASE!

  • Daniel Maia

    The one thing I used 3D Touch for. Everything else it does is merely a gimmick. What a shame.

  • The Fluffy Alpaca

    I honestly can’t remember the last time I double pressed the home button to invoke the app switcher. I tried it while reading the post, and it felt awful to double press the physical button of the 6s. They have to bring this feature back!

    • G0DLeᎦᎦ

      I’ll never update my 6s to iOS 11 if this feature is missing, unless there is an iOS 11 jailbreak and a tweak that brings back this feature.

  • Thomas Luxton

    maybe apple would introduce a curved screen in iPhone 8 and thus 3D app switcher is a little cumbersome to operate over the edges of the screen?

  • sg1969

    this gesture is stupid because most people are right handed, but it’s difficult to activate this while holding the phone with one hand. How hard is it to double press the home button, really?

  • Shadowelite123

    I honestly doubt the removal would mean an iPhone 8 exclusive feature. If anything, they are just having issue finding a worthy alternative due to their perfectionist style that they try to go for. Apple is almost never satisfied with their work so they are constantly making changes and then reverting back.

  • G0DLeᎦᎦ

    Welp, back to using assistive touch I guess….

  • paul

    I used it frequently. I’m making daily complaints and requests via Feedback for beta testers. Fingers crossed they are wise enough to add back as an option for iOS 11.

  • Riccardo Calamini

    For me was the best gesture from ages!!! Cannot believe they removed it!

  • Leenie

    I just installed iOS on my 7 plus and was the first thing I tried and noticed it was missing, even checked settings thinking that maybe there was an option to turn it on/off.
    I also used it all the time, specially when at the gym with the iphone in an armband, the only way to access everything w/o taking the phone out of the band and to move fast in between apps, since the home button doesn’t work if it’s covered with any material.

    Anyway… I’ll REALLY miss this little feature :-/

  • Patricio Zenteno

    I love using 3D Touch not only for switching apps but for other tasks as well. Now I fell more limited and I have to get used to pressing the home button. Bummer

  • Arcus Ang

    I want it back. Why they didn’t do any research before remove it… quite upset for this

  • Ben

    This is horrible!!!! Of course no one used this feature, because no one knew about it! Apple never informed users about this “hidden” functionality. I really want this feature back!

    • Lars

      Its a shame this feature was removed and was never highlighted, I didn’t even know about it until I watched a tips and tricks video. It really is a great feature for left hand phone users and is much easier to hold and slide the left edge of the phone to open the multitasking window than moving my thumb to the home button and double pressing that. This is one of the biggest reason why I haven’t updated to iOS 11 on my iPhone 7 in addition to the wifi, bluetooth, and brightness slider fiasco.

  • César Rodriguez

    This feature was incredible, if other people don’t like it maybe a way to activated and deactivated would be a great idea.

    P.S
    Please bring 3D Touch app switcher back