6 reasons I couldn’t live without 3D Touch ever again

6 reasons I couldn't live without 3D Touch ever again

When I first unboxed my iPhone 6s Plus, I wasn’t completely sold on 3D Touch. For the first day or two, I had to keep reminding myself to use it. Now, only seven days in, there are certain everyday tasks that I can’t imagine performing any other way than with the help of 3D Touch.

These are my absolute favorite implementations:

Trackpad text selection

6 reasons I couldn't live without 3D Touch ever again

If you press down on the keyboard of the iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, you will enter trackpad mode. It is the most glorious way of editing text I’ve ever come across on a virtual keyboard.

I’ve never been a huge fan of editing text on iOS and how you have to attempt to perfectly position the cursor — which in my case always goes where I don’t want it to. Many times it ends up bringing up the text selection menu and I have to tap several times to get where I need to be.

With 3D Touch, I can just press harder on the keyboard and float the cursor right where I want it to be. It’s effortless and simple.

3D Touch’s trackpad mode is a godsend and something I can’t wait to use across all my iOS devices in the near future.

Safari link previews

6 reasons I couldn't live without 3D Touch ever again

Gently pressing on a link in Safari will cause a popup window with an entire preview of what that link contains. If you want to open it, just press harder and you’re automatically taken into it. Let go of the screen instead and you’re quickly returned to where you were.

I love this feature when reading long form articles. It lets me get a sense of context without having to navigate away from the page entirely.

Every once in a while I come across a page in Peek and Pop while reading an article that I want to remember to go back to later. In this instance, I lightly press and hold on the screen (no 3D Touch) and choose the Open in Background option.

This way it opens whatever link I’m interested in without pulling me away from what I’m doing. I can return to it later when I want. More often than not, I’ll stumble across it while cleaning up Safari tabs.

Reading entire text messages with Peek and Pop

6 reasons I couldn't live without 3D Touch ever again

I use read receipts for iMessages mainly to hold myself accountable to responding to people in a timely manner — sometimes I’m bad at that and if you’ve been a victim, I apologize in advance.

Part of the problem is that if I open a message to read it in its entirety but don’t have time to respond, the unread badge is now gone. The odds of me remembering to go back later and respond has dwindled significantly.

With the Peek and Pop feature of 3D Touch, I can press on a message and read it in its entirety while still leaving the unread badge unharmed. This way I can determine whether it’s something I need to respond to right now, or if it can wait until later.

If I need to respond, I can just press harder to launch the message immediately. If not, I just let go and it’s there for me when I have time.

Accessing multitasking, no Home button required

6 reasons I couldn't live without 3D Touch ever again

I’ve been wishing for years that Apple would do away with the Home button entirely. Part of that is me speaking from my repair background and my knowledge of Home button failure rates and issues.

3D Touch could be the beginning of a Home buttonless world, if Apple chooses to take that route. In the interim, I love that I can lightly apply pressure to the screen and swipe in from the left side to launch multitasking.

It took a few tries to get used to this action but now that I have, it seems so much more natural than lowering my thumb to the Home button.

Searching Photos.app

6 reasons I couldn't live without 3D Touch ever again

Over the past year, the Photos app and iCloud Photo Library have done strange things to my photo library, including putting pictures out of order in the All Photos section of the Albums tab (they’re fine in the Photos tab, which is an entirely strange issue worthy of its own article at a later date).

Anyways, the Albums tab is how I previously would scroll to find photos. Archaic I know, but it was what I was used to.

Ever since I’ve been able to contextually search for photos, I’ve trained myself to do that instead, and I find it much more efficient when looking through date ranges and photos taken at specific places.

Now I can press on the Photos app icon with 3D Touch and search through thousands of photos faster than ever. It’s completely changed how I interact with the Photos app, for the better.

New Safari tabs

6 reasons I couldn't live without 3D Touch ever again

I have a tendency to keep tons of Safari tabs open at once, and I like it that way. Using 3D Touch to press on the Safari app icon allows me to launch a new tab immediately. From there I can tap my way into whatever favorite or recent site I want.

This is also a great way to access a new Private tab quickly, if you use those.

Your favorite 3D Touch actions so far?

I use 3D Touch for other kinds of actions but these are the ones I’m finding indispensable and immensely useful. In some instances, they’ve completely changed how I use and interact with certain apps. That’s certainly the case in terms of the Photos app and how I sift through my pictures now.

I can’t imagine going back to life without 3D Touch. I’ve even caught myself trying to hard press the screen on my iPad Air 2 and expecting it to come to life. I can’t wait for the feature to come to the Air as it will be reason enough for me to upgrade.

Until then, I’m constantly on the hunt for other useful implementations of 3D Touch and can’t wait to see how different developers choose to implement the feature. I’d love to know what your favorite 3D Touch uses have been so far so be sure to let me know in the comments!


  1. I love everything about it and agree hat I can’t go back. I love peeking into mail, links, and messages. I love all the different peeking in maps, contact info, and everything else. I love it all, what can I say? It’s fantastic.

  2. If I were a 6S/6S Plus user, my favourite would be the App Switcher 3D Touch action from within an app or the homescreen. Though it’s not spot-on perfect. That’s 90% of the reason why I jailbreak my iPhones. I just hate using the overly fragile home button, or power/sleep button for that matter.

  3. Agree 100%. The only complaint I have with it is that when force-pressing the keyboard for the text cursor, the system always makes a key-press sound before engaging the cursor, so you are left wondering if you actually just typed a letter in the wrong spot as well. Infuriating!

  4. Did you know that multi-tasking can also be accessed with a simple hard press (a “pop” gesture) at the left edge of the screen. This is much simpler than a soft press then a swipe, especially when using the phone one-handed.

  5. I love the 3D touch on the maps app to select “Directions to Home”, and the 3D touch in the phone app for my top ~3 faves (it is faster then “hey siri call my wife”).

  6. I use Safari link peeks all the time.

    To then open it in the background, swipe up while in peek mode, then select open in background.

    Much better than letting go then lightly tapping.

  7. I love 3D touch and peek and pop. The biggest challenge is remembering to use it. Tweetbot has some awesome new implementations of it as well.

    I do wish it would give haptic feedback on the multitasking touch, though. And am I the only one having trouble getting Safari tab peek to work?

  8. Trackpad text selection is an iOS9 feature, and even works on my over 4 year old iPad 3.
    Without force touch you need to put 2 fingers down on the keyboard at once, the keyboard dims, and then slide them around to move the cursor.

    • I know 😉 I guess my point was 3D Touch makes it better. I’ve never been a two fingers gesture kind of person so this makes things way easier. I also think the fluidity and accuracy of the 3D Touch way seems better. Maybe that’s just my imagination.