3D Touch. Maybe you love it. Maybe you hate it. Maybe you don’t even know what it is. Regardless of how you feel or what you know about 3D Touch, it still seems to be on Apple’s chopping block. In fact, the upcoming iPhone XR doesn’t support true 3D Touch, and so we can't be sure how long this awesome feature will actually stick around.
But if you’re not sure what 3D Touch is, it’s basically a pressure sensitive feature found on newer iPhone displays. It allows users to apply pressure to the display in varying degrees and the phone recognizes this as input.
Because it’s so dynamic it has multiple possibilities. Generally it’s used for contextual content, much like right-clicking on a desktop computer. This can be helpful to bring up more actions.
Some games utilize it as well. For example, GRID Autosport uses it to control how hard or soft the accelerator is depressed in a virtual vehicle.
Another feature of 3D Touch is what Apple calls “Peek and Pop.” This unique navigation tool allows users to “peek” into content with a little pressure without fully opening the content.
If the user presses harder they will “pop” into the content. For example, in iMessage you can gently press on a message thread to peek at the contents of the thread. Any unread messages will remain unread while peeking. Press harder and the thread will open completely (pop).
Another example of peek and pop are links such as the ones found in Safari and Mail. You can peek to preview the Web content or pop into the page completely.
As useful as 3D Touch is, some users don’t know about it, don’t use it, or find it gimmicky. Some users appreciate its ability to add more actions to an element and it can be helpful in speeding up some tasks. Personally, I love 3D Touch and encourage users to try it out.
As you become accustomed to it you might find yourself wondering why you never used it before. There are quite a few cool things you can do with 3D Touch. Continue reading to learn 19 Awesome Things You Can Do with 3D Touch on iPhone.
19 Speed Dial Your Favorite Contacts
If you don’t feel like shouting at Siri in a busy store or just want to save time dialing your favorite… erm… Favorites.. 3D Touch has a solution for you! Rearrange your Favorites so the top four are the ones you use most. Now, those contacts will show up when you use 3D Touch on the Phone app icon. This will also work on the FaceTime app.
In addition to speed dialing, you’ll also see a contextual menu when pressing on the app icon. There are shortcuts to view your most recent email, add a new contact, search for an existing contact, or view your most recent call.
iMessage also supports 3D Touch, but instead of showing your favorite contacts it shows the three most recent threads and an option to compose a new message. 3D Touch expands beyond app icons. Try using 3D Touch on a favorite contact in the Phone or FaceTime apps, try peeking and popping in iMessage, and see some more options when you push down on voicemail messages.
18 Start Your Stopwatch
Use 3D Touch on the Clock app icon and you’ll see three options: Create alarm, start stopwatch, and start timer. They’re pretty straight forward, but they save you a couple of steps. If you want to start your stopwatch quickly this is a great way to do it as it starts instantly.
Once the stopwatch or timer is started you can 3D Touch the icon again and select stop. When you start a timer it automatically starts counting down with the most recently used amount of time. Create an alarm jumps right into it, allowing you to quickly title and setup your alarm.
17 Scan a Document in Notes
Apple’s Notes app lets you scan documents using the camera. Scanned images appear directly within your notes. To start a new note with a scanned document, just 3D Touch the Notes app icon and select “Scan Document.” You can also add a note with a photo, create a new checklist, or just start a new note. Additionally, your most recent (non-pinned) note will be shown.
Instead of taking a picture of that document you need for later, 3D touch on the notes app allows you to scan a document and save it in your notes. 3D touch on the notes icon also allows you to view your most recent note, create a new note or checklist or take a photo to save in notes. As with a lot of things, you can also peek and pop with any of your notes.
16 Send Your Location
Want to quickly send your location to someone. No problem. 3D Touch makes this quick and easy as well. Just locate your Maps app and 3D Touch the icon. Tap “Send My Location” and then choose how you want to share it (i.e. AirDrop, Messages, Mail, etc.). You can also choose to copy your location information to the clipboard, create a new note or reminder, or make a Shortcut using your current location.
Pressing the Maps icon will also let you search for nearby locations, mark your location on the map, and see upcoming destinations. Tap an upcoming destination to see it on the map and get directions.
15 Check the Weather
Check the weather without opening the Weather app by using 3D Touch on the Weather icon, which shows a quick view of the current temperature in your area. You’ll also see the weather conditions, chance of rain, and the low and high temperatures for the day. Tap on a city to see information for that location, or click “Add” to quickly add a new one.
14 Take a Selfie or Scan a QR Code
Instead of opening the Camera app, turning the camera to selfie mode, and gearing up for your shot, try using 3D Touch on the Camera icon and choosing “Take Selfie”. The camera opens with the front facing camera already on so you don’t have to wait.
3D Touching the Camera icon also allows you to quickly scan a QR code. No need to open a different app. The camera detects QR codes and will bring up a notification and options regarding the code. Of course, the QR scanner and the Camera app are the same thing since the app automatically detects QR mode. So this might be a little gimmick to let users know the feature's there.
You can also use 3D Touch on the Camera Control if you have it added to Control Center. It will bring up the same options: Take selfie, record video, scan QR code, and take portrait.
13 See Your Favorite Stocks
Want to quickly check your favorite stocks? 3D Touch the Stocks app to see a brief overview your top two favorite stocks. Tap one to open it in the app. You can also search to launch the app and look for other ticker symbols or ones already on your watchlist. To change what stocks show up using 3D Touch, manage your watchlist and rearrange it with your favorite two at the top of the list.
12 Quickly Rename Folders
Renaming folders probably hasn’t ever been considered difficult, but try using 3D Touch to make life a little easier. Instead of holding down on a folder and waiting for everything to wiggle, just 3D Touch the folder. An option to rename appears, so tap it and rename your folder. Easy.
11 Toggle Wireless On or Off
Use 3D Touch on the Settings icon and you’ll see a contextual menu with quick links to some of the most popular wireless features: Cellular Data, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. You’ll also see a battery link with a visualization of your current charge level.
Tap any of these to quickly make changes like turning off Bluetooth, connecting to a new Wi-Fi network, checking your cellular usage, toggling low power mode, or seeing your battery usage. It’s not groundbreaking, but it makes accessing some settings a little quicker (if you remember it’s there).
10 Change Flashlight Brightness
Did you know you can change the brightness level of your flashlight? In Control Center—if you’ve added the Flashlight Control—3D Touch the flashlight icon to see a slider. Now drag your finger up and down the slider to choose a desired brightness. You’re welcome.
9 Ping a Device Using Find My iPhone
Find My iPhone works with more than just iPhones. You can use it to find iPads, iPods, Macs, and even AirPods. If you have the Find My iPhone app installed on your iPhone, use 3D Touch on the icon to bring up a list of devices you can ping. Tap one to play a sound to help you locate any missing devices. Now you don’t have to ask anyone to call your phone only to discover it's in your hand.
8 See Your Activity Progress
View your daily activity by 3D Touching the Activity app icon. Not only can you view your Activity Rings, but there is also a menu for sharing your rings via Messages or Mail, viewing Workouts, shared activity, and seeing your monthly history.
7 Turn on Personal Hotspot
In Control Center, 3D Touch the wireless controls (airplane mode, cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth) to see a couple of more options You’ll see a button that lets you toggle your personal hotspot on and off, and button that lets you change your AirDrop permissions.
6 Change Your Display Settings
Back in Control Center, use 3D Touch on the brightness slider for a few more options. You can manually enable or disable Night Shift or True Tone using the buttons below the slider.
If you’re unfamiliar with these features, Night Shift makes the display warmer at night so that it’s easier on your eyes. True Tone analyzes the light's temperature around the phone to adjust the colors to match the lighting conditions. This gives the display a truer color in comparison to its surroundings. Just like looking at a white piece of paper may appear different depending on the light in the room.
5 Set a Timer
As mentioned earlier you can press the Clock icon and set a timer that way; but, that starts counting down using your most recent time. If you have the Timer Control added to Control Center, 3D Touch it and you’ll see a slider that lets you choose a timer as low as one minute or all the way up to two hours. You can start the timer without opening the Clock app, see the countdown, pause and resume your timer, or select a different amount of time all from the Control Center.
4 Move Cursor and Select Text
This is probably one of the best 3D Touch features. Simply 3D Touch on the keyboard and the letters will disappear letting you use the area like a trackpad. Now just drag around to move your cursor anywhere you want it.
Want to select text? Press hard again to select a word or double-press to select a sentence or even a paragraph. It’s just like using a mouse on a computer.
3 “Peek and Pop”
Peek and Pop was mentioned earlier a couple of times. But I wanted to reiterate it here since it’s one of Apple’s main features of 3D Touch. As a reminder, you soft press a message to peek into and press harder to pop it completely open. Peeking and popping is all over the place, so give it a try in your favorite apps and on links. Often you can swipe up while peeking for more options.
2 Quick Replies on Messages
Want to quickly reply to new messages across multiple threads? Peek into a message, swipe up to see a list of replies, and tap a reply to send it.
1 Run a Shortcut
In iOS 12, Apple updated the old Workflow app and renamed it Shortcuts. The app lets you create Shortcuts that can string together multiple actions into one tap or Siri command.
If Shortcuts is installed on your iPhone you can use 3D Touch on the app’s icon to select from the Shortcuts at the top of your Shortcuts library. Letting you quickly run your favorite Shortcuts with just a tap.
3D Touch isn’t dead yet. Who knows? Maybe if enough people use it Apple will show it some mercy. It can be a great tool or a fun gimmick, either way it’s worth trying out. Try it on everything. Try peeking on things and sliding them up for more options. Try using it while typing.
What are your thoughts on 3D Touch? Do you have any tips? Let us know in the comments and on social media. As always, thanks for reading!