7 Favorite iPhone 3D Touch Tricks

BY Gautam Prabhu

Published 7 May 2016

iPhone 6s - 3D Touch

When Apple introduced iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus with the 3D Touch as one of the tentpole features, I was quite excited.

Apple had revolutionalised user interface on mobile devices with multi-touch with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, and it felt like, 3D Touch, a new pressure-sensitive screen technology from Apple, was the start of a new interface revolution.

I must admit that 3D Touch isn’t as great or revolutionary I initially thought it would be. After using the iPhone 6s Plus for more than 8 months, here are the 7 3D Touch tips and tricks I use regularly. 

Favorite 3D Touch Tricks

#1. Read an Email Without Opening it

Mail is an excellent app to try out the 3D Touch interactions. One of my favorite 3D Touch features is the ability to press a message in the mailbox list to peek at the message contents and then swipe to the right to mark it as read. I get a lot of emails, and this feature helps me save a ton of time and achieve my goal of Inbox Zero. You can also swipe to the left to Delete or Archive the email, or swipe up to get more options such as “Reply All”, “Forward”, “Mark..” (which gives you an option to Flag or Move the email to the junk folder), “Notify” and “Move Message”. You can press deeper to see the full message.

iPhone 6s - 3D Touch Tricks - Peek - Mark as Unread

#2. Quickly Enable Low Power Mode

Ever since Apple has added Low Power Mode, I think I have become lazier when it comes to charging my iPhone. So I end up using Low Power Mode quickly frequently to get through the day. Here’s where the 3D Touch Quick Action for Battery Settings comes in handy. It is one of the fastest ways to quickly enable Low Power mode.

Press firmly on the Settings app icon to get Quick Action options, and then swipe up to the Battery option and release your finger, to jump to the Battery Settings. Tap on the On/Off toggle to enable Low Power mode.

iPhone 6s - 3D Touch Tips - Battery

#3. Quickly Take a Selfie

This is another useful 3D Touch shortcut. Press firmly on the Camera icon on the home screen to open the Quick Action menu. Then choose the option to take a photo or take a selfie. You also can choose to record a video or begin a slow-mo recording.

iPhone 6s - 3D Touch Tricks - Selfies Preview

#4. Quickly Preview Last Taken Photos

How often have you taken a photo, and then gone back to the Camera roll to see if you need to take another one? I do it many times, so I find this 3D Touch feature very helpful.

When you take a photo with the Camera app, you can press on the thumbnail in the bottom left-hand corner to peek at the last taken photo or video.

#5. Turn iOS Keyboard into Trackpad While Typing

When typing in any app, you can easily switch to a trackpad mode that allows you to move the cursor across the screen. Simply press down on the keyboard until the keys disappear and the keyboard turns a shade grey. When the keyboard changes into this trackpad, you can move the cursor by swiping your finger around the trackpad area. You also can press once to select a word, press twice to highlight a sentence or press three times to select a paragraph. When you are done, simply lift up your finger to return to the keyboard.

3D Touch - Keyboard Trackpad

#6. Preview Links

3D Touch also allows you to preview links from almost anywhere in iOS. When you see a link, simply press hard on the link and a pop-up preview of the site will appear. Once you are viewing the page, you can slide it upwards to access a menu that allows you to perform actions such as open the link, add it to a Reading List or Copy it. It is useful to have a quick look at the website to see if it is worth

#7. Check Message Without Sending Read Receipt

We have been hearing rumors that Apple will be giving us more granular control over who we want to send read receipts for iMessages. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet. But 3D Touch offers you a workaround. You can press a message to take a peek at it, but it won’t send a read receipt. If you want to engage in a conversation then you can swipe up, left or right to use quick actions.
You can also quickly switch to the previously used app by pressing firmly on the left edge of the screen and swiping to the right in one single motion or you can just release it to access the app switcher. But I keep forgetting to use it.
It may be gimmicky and a little confusing, but it offers some great ways to be more productive. It is certainly not a must-have as I had thought initially or a reason to buy iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus. But we hope Apple can make it more useful in iOS 10.
Do you use 3D Touch? If so, please let me know your favorite 3D Touch features in the comments section below.