So, you just bought a shiny new iPhone 6S or 6S Plus, and you’re wondering what on earth 3D Touch is and what it can do. Or maybe you’re on the fence and still thinking about upgrading, but don’t know if 3D Touch is worth it or not. Well you have come to the right place because we’re going to explain how 3D Touch will make navigating iOS 9 that much easier.
Before we get into what you can do with 3D Touch, let’s first explain exactly what it is. In a nutshell, the new iPhone can now sense how much pressure you’re applying to the display. You’re already familiar with tapping, swiping, and pinching. 3D Touch brings two new gestures called Peek and Pop. A Peek can be initiated with a light press, while a Pop can be initiated with a harder press. Peek might be used for looking at information from an app without actually opening it, while Pop could be used to initiate a direct shortcut within an app.
Related: Hands on: iPhone 6S and 6S Plus
It’s also important to understand that 3D Touch is only available on the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus because it’s hardware related. This technology is built into the display, so older iPhones will not get 3D Touch, even after upgrading to iOS 9.
Select text using a virtual trackpad
Normally when you want to select text to copy, you have to move your fingers away from the keyboard to the upper portion of the display and jump through a few hoops in order to select the exact text you want. Things are a lot easier with 3D Touch.
While typing any message or email using the iOS keyboard, just lightly press on the keyboard with one finger and it becomes a trackpad of sorts. Just slide your finger around to move the cursor. If you want to highlight text, just press a little harder while continuing to slide your finger. This might be the coolest feature of 3D Touch.
Select a shortcut to a specific section of an app from the home screen
Normally when you want to open an app, you press the icon on the home screen. Then you might need to open up a menu to navigate to something more specific. This can be time consuming. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easier way?
With 3D Touch, you can now initiate a Quick Action by opening an app directly to the particular section you want. Just hard press on an icon from your home screen for a pop up of options that you can select as a shortcut to the specific action. For example, instead of pressing the Phone app icon to open the app and navigate to the contact for your spouse, you can simply hard press on the Phone app icon, and select your spouse from the popup menu to make that call more efficiently.
Quick Actions also works with the Camera, iMessage, and Maps apps too. Just hard press on the Camera app from the home screen, and you will be able to select either Take Selfie, Record Video, Record Slo-mo, or Take Photo to go to that specific action. Hard pressing on the iMessage icon will give you New Message and a list of your favorite contacts, and hard pressing on Maps will give you Directions Home, Mark My Location, Send My Location, and Search Nearby.
Next page: 5 more handy 3D Touch tips