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What Can You Do With 3D Touch On An iPhone

Apple has released this fall the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S devices, the first iPhone devices that feature 3D Touch, a technology which detects how hard you are pressing on the display. By pressing harder on the screen, this will trigger some actions, or some new options will pop-up.

When you tap the screen, the glass bends a little bit and a capacitive sensor under the glass measures the distance between the sensor and your finger in order to determine how hard you’ve pressed.

Adjusting The Sensitivity Or Turning It Off

By going to your iPhone’s Settings->General->Accesibility->3D Touch, you will be able to disable or enable the 3D touch and control how sensitive it is. Keep in mind that new types of applications, especially games, will come with new input schemes that allow you to use the 3D Touch in different ways.

Using The Keyboard Touchpad

The 3D touch allows you to re-position the text cursor with ease while typing. So, instead of touching somewhere in the block of the text you’re typing, you can use the 3D touch to be more precise.

You will just need to hard-press anywhere on the touch keyboard and the letters will vanish from the key, which means that it’s now a touchpad and it allows you to move the cursor around the text box. Just lift your finger when you’re done and the letters will reappear.

Activating Quick Actions On The Home Screen

Most of the applications made by Apple now include “Quick Actions” that you can access right from the home screen. At the same time, there are many third party applications which come with the quick actions feature.

With other words, instead of opening an application and do a specific action, you can do that action directly from the home screen. For example, by hard-pressing the Clock application, you will see shortcuts to options such as “Start Timer” or “Create Alarm”. By hard-pressing some social media or instant messaging applications you will see some options such as: new message, new post etc.

If an application doesn’t support the quick actions feature, a menu will not appear after you hard-press the icon.

Switching Between Applications

Instead of double-pressing the Home button twice to open the application switcher, you can just hard-press the left edge of the screen and swipe to the right. This will quickly switch to a previous application.

Draw Using The Pressure Sensitivity

3D Touch also allows you to draw using the pressure-sensitivity. However, keep in mind that not all the applications support this feature at the moment. On your iPhone, you will be able to open the Notes application, create a new note and tap on the “draw” icon from the bottom of the note and start drawing using your finger. You will be able to make the lines thicker by pressing down harder, like you are drawing on a paper.

Peeking and Swiping Up

The guys from Apple are trying to create some new interaction methods which they’ve named “Peek” and “Pop”. These two interaction methods are supported by many applications owned by Apple and, at the same time, third party applications are starting to support them also.

In order to use the “peek” feature, you will need to hard-press on something (an email message in the Mail application, a photo in the Camera application, a link in the Safari web browser etc). Once you do this, that email, photo or link will appear in a little preview pane, which allows you to take a “peek” at them without having to leave the current screen. At the same time, while peeking you will be able to swipe up in order to have access to more actions.

Playing Live Photos

If you’ve taken some live photos, you will be able to open the Photos application and hard-press a photo to have it animate. It is good to know that those live photos can also be used as an animated lock screen. Apple includes a few default live photos, but you can take your own live photos and use them as your lock screen. Keep in mind that these won’t always appear animated on your lock screen. You will need to hard-press on your lock screen after setting a live photo as your back ground.


The 3D Touch feature is actually a new type of input and it is up to the developers of the applications if they want to use it or not. We’re sure that in the future there will be more and more applications and games that will support this feature.

What are your thoughts about 3D Touch feature? Are you using it on your iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus device?

Costea Lestoc
Costea Lestoc
I began writing as a professional on my personal blog and then discovered my true calling, which is writing about SEO, technology and gadgets in general. I am a technical writer, author and blogger since 2005. An industry watcher that stays on top of the latest features, extremely passionate about juicy tech news and everything related to gadgets.
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