Recently I saw an awesome concept video (embedded below) that shows off how far Apple could yet go to really make the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus’ 3D Touch display a useful tool that every iPhone MUST HAVE. The concept shows how Apple could implement 3D Touch into iOS’s Control Center.
Though the video is just a concept, it got me thinking about how infrequently I hear people talk about 3D Touch. Most people I know that have an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus rarely use the feature. With that in mind, I’ve put together this list of my top 3D Touch tips and tricks that, if you start using regularly, will make your iOS user experience that much better.
Apple introduces headline features aboard its new iPhones and then, when the next generation lands, said feature becomes standard and even starts appearing on other Apple products like the iPad and Apple’s MacBooks and iMac computers.
3D Touch will grow and develop with each new iteration of iPhone. In 2017 Apple will release an iPhone without a Home button, according to reports, and this iPhone will have an OLED display and an ALL-GLASS design as well. The technology that will allow the iPhone to no longer have a Home key is 3D Touch and the engineering that powers it. Apple’s technology is very sophisticated and has already started making its way to the company’s new MacBooks, where it lives inside the trackpad.
3D Touch is definitely an acquired taste, though — plenty of people I know seldom use the innovative display tech. But I think most of the reason behind this is because they’re unsure about what you can ACTUALLY do with it. Hence this article.
Before I get to my tips there are a few concepts you have to keep in mind regarding 3D Touch, specifically terminology related to its use:
Peek & Pop: Peek and Pop works within apps. As the name “Peek” suggests, the action allows you to quickly peek inside something. This something could be a link in an email or an email itself. For example, if you open the Mail app you no longer need to tap on a message to read it. You can Peek on it by applying pressure to the message and a preview window will pop up with the content of the email. Once you Peek on an element above you can then “Pop” it into place by simply pressing even harder. For example, if you Peek into an address so a map appears, just press a little harder to Pop into the actual Maps app. Similarly, when Peeking into an email, press a bit harder to Pop into the actual message where you can interact with it.
Quick Actions: Quick Actions are another series of actions the 3D Touch display allows for. Unlike Peek and Pop, which work inside apps, Quick Actions also work outside of apps right on the Home screen. I liken Quick Actions to contextual menus found on desktop operating systems. Force Touch on an app’s icon on the home screen to bring up the Quick Actions shortcut menu. Tap a menu item to carry out that command.
Go that? Good. Now here are my favorite 3D Touch tips…
3D Touch: Live Photos lock screen wallpaper
Believe it or not, this is one of the most frequent things people forget 3D Touch can do—it’s also one of the things with the biggest “wow” factor. iOS 9 ships with several “Live” wallpapers or of course you can use any Live Photos you’ve taken with your device. Set one of them as your lock screen wallpaper. Now whenever your phone is locked force touch on the wallpaper and it will spring to life. Yeah, it’s not as productive a tip as those that follow, but it’s still great eye candy to show off.
3D Touch: Get directors home quickly
If you’re an Apple Maps user you can use 3D Touch to quickly get directions home from your current location. All you need to do is force touch on the Maps icon so its quick actions list appears, then just tap Directions Home and Maps will open with directions from your current location to you home all ready.
3D Touch: Send a quick reply to a text
This is another excellent 3D Touch feature: you can send quick, pre-written replies to text messages. Simply force touch on the message thread and when a preview of the message come up, swipe the preview up to see pre-written replies. You can also create a custom pre-written reply for future use. Tap on the reply you want and it will automatically be sent.
3D Touch: Respond via other means to an email
Sometimes you get an email, but it’s just easier to respond to the person another way, such as by sending them a text of phoning them. With 3D Touch you can do all that right from the email message. In their message force touch on the circle with their image or initials in it. A quick action menu will appear with all the alternate ways, including text, phone, FaceTime, and other email addresses you can contact them by. Tap on one of the options to begin communication.
3D Touch: Save images from a web page
3D Touch is perfect if you browse the web a lot on your iPhone and like saving images you find. With 3D Touch you simply have to force touch the image, which will cause it to be called out on your screen. Then tap the Save Image quick action button and the image will be saved to your camera roll.
3D Touch: Turn the keyboard into a trackpad
This is my FAVORITE 3D Touch tip. You can turn your iPhone’s keyboard into a trackpad to you can more accurately move the cursor around your screen in text fields. That’s right, no more having to tap the space between text to position (and usually miss) where you want your cursor to go. To turn your keyboard into a trackpad simply force touch it and all they keys will flatten out. Then just drag your finger over the trapped and you’ll see it’s controlling the cursor higher up on your screen.