Everything about 3D Touch on iPhones and How to Use

What is 3D Touch?

One of the newest features to grace the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus brings an extra dimension to touchscreen control that picks up not only where your finger is and how it moves, but also with how much pressure you’re applying. This feature, creatively dubbed “3D Touch“, works with multi-touch swiping, tapping and pinching, and also introduces Peek and Pop, which allows you to “peek” into the contents of an email or app without opening it full-screen. While this is excellent for expanding smartphone utility, there’s a catch: Not all apps support 3D Touch.

iPhone 3D Touch

Have you ever wished you could briefly pop in on an app, action list, contact, email, and so on without dropping what you’re currently doing? What if it were as easy as pressing a little more firmly on the glass, then letting go to instantly dismiss it? Just like that, you’re in and out — no time wasted. The days of hitting Back and Home keys between actions are coming to an end.

Using Peek and Pop

Peek works by pressing firmly on a compatible app, action or link. The screen blurs out and a window pops up with a list of options or additional information related to what you pressed. Pop works by pressing even more firmly on the object, which causes the Peek to stick on the screen after you let go.

You can also swipe up, left or right while Peeking to access additional options, depending on the app you’re using it in.

It’s as easy as three steps:

  1. Press on the element you want to Peek.
  2. When the screen blurs, press firmly on the element to Peek at it.
  3. While holding your finger on the screen, swipe up for quick actions. Sometimes, you can swipe left or right for actions such as deleting or sharing.

When you’re finished Peeking, simply let go to drop it. Optionally, you can press even more firmly to Pop the Peeked content into place so you can let go of the screen without losing it.

Examples of apps and scenarios where Peek and Pop is useful:

  • Email: Quickly Peek into emails without blowing them up full-screen.
  • Music: Peeking into an album provides a slew of options for organization and playback.
  • Calendar: Peek at an event for an option to accept calendar invitations.
  • Maps: Peeking a location gives you options for directions, linking to the target’s homepage, or calling the listed phone number.
  • Contacts: This opens up additional means of getting in touch with the contact you press.
  • Messages: Peek at contacts for other ways of getting in touch, or use it open up extra replies to text messages.
  • Photos: Access options to favorite, share, copy or delete an image.
  • Phone: Once again, peeking on a contact will give you extra ways to get a hold of them.
  • News: You can share, like or save articles by Peeking them.
  • Reminders: Peeking a reminder opens up extra actions.
  • Safari: Using Peek lets you open a URL in a new tab or add it to your reading list.
  • Notes: Peeking on a note opens up general options, such as moving or deleting it.
  • Find My Friends: Peeking a friend will give you options for directions and notifications.
  • FaceTime: Again, Peeking contacts will open up additional means of getting in touch.
  • iBooks: You can share a book or view it from the iBooks market.

Home Screen Uses

Along with the bevy of uses for Peek and Pop, 3D Touch has some interesting kinks you might be surprised to discover by accident. For example, you can press firmly on a Live Photo to animate it, or launch apps into specific modes from the home screen. Here are just a handful of examples:

  • Camera: You can launch the camera straight into selfie or video mode from the home screen.
  • Twitter: Deep-pressing this app lets you quickly jot down a new tweet or message.
  • Shazam: The drop-down list for this app includes the ability to Shazam Now.
  • Dropbox: You can quickly perform an upload without the muss and fuss of opening the app normally.
  • Evernote: Create a new note, take a photo, or set a reminder straight from the desktop.

Who Needs Widgets, Anyway?

3D Touch introduces a new way of looking at Android’s home screen widgets. Rather than having graphical interfaces that take up significant amounts of screen real estate, you can just firmly press on an app to access features that its Android counterpart might require a widget to do just as quickly.

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