3D Touch For iPhone

3D Touch, also known as Force Touch, first debuted on the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. Apple explains it as adding “an additional dimension to touch-based interaction”, and it’s activated by applying more pressure to your screen.

To help you take full advantage of this powerful feature, we thought we’d cover all the ways in which you can use 3D Touch on your iPhone.

Quickly Access Menus From App Icons

Instead of opening an app and then going about your business, some apps can display a small menu of options when you long press on its icon. For example, when long pressing the Instagram icon, you’ll see options to jump to your direct messages, view your activity, post a new photo or video, and fire up the camera inside Instagram.

Pro tip: If you have a folder full of apps, you can use this to open a specific app without needing to open the folder! Not every app has such a menu, and if it doesn’t, you’ll just see the option to share the app.

Jump To A Previously Opened App

Let’s say you’re looking up some information in Safari and need to jump back to Messages. While you can double tap the Home button to open your recent apps, you can also long press the far left side of the screen, and slide right to open into your most recently used app.

Grab A Peek

With 3D Touch, you can get a glimpse of everything from websites to locations to photos. For example, long pressing a link will display a little preview window. To bring a photo front and center, long press on it and simply let go when you’re done. If you want to do something with the item you’ve long pressed, just swipe up to reveal a list of options.

Enhanced Notifications

Long pressing on a notification will give you added functionality, such as the ability to reply to a text message or “like” a Facebook post. Heading over to Control Center, using 3D Touch on the bottom icons lets you do cool things like making the flashlight brighter or dimmer, starting a timer, or jumping into recording a slo-mo video or taking a selfie.

Other Cool Things You Can Do

In Messages:

  • Record a voice note by long pressing the microphone icon
  • Long press the send button to pop up a list of various effects to be added to your message
  • Quickly call or FaceTime someone after holding down their photo
  • From the main messages screen, long pressing a message will give you a preview of the most recent messages in that exchange

In Mail:

  • Long press an email to not only preview it, but swipe up to see options like reply, reply all, forward, notify me, etc.

In Reminders:

  • Pressing down on a reminder will pop up a menu with the ability to update the time or have your phone remind you when you’re at a specific location

In Photos:

  • See a photo come to life by holding it down. Your iPhone captures a second and a half before and after a picture has been taken, making this possible

In Camera:

  • Jump right into your most recent photos by long pressing the bottom left corner of the screen

How To Update Your 3D Touch Settings

Like a mouse or trackpad for your computer, you can easily adjust the sensitivity.

  • First, go to “Settings”, then “General”, “Accessibility”, and “3D Touch”.
  • By default, it’s set at “Medium”, but you can slide the bar to the left if you want it to take less pressure, or slide to the right if you want it to take more pressure.

Now that you know the ins and outs of 3D Touch, what’s your favorite use of it?

Mike Stenger
Mike Stenger is a writer out of sunny San Diego. When not on the interwebs, he's probably being dragged around town by his husky sled dog Zoey.