As most iPhone and iPad users are aware, with every new iPhone iteration, Apple launches a new software version alongside it. This year, Apple brings hardware and software closer together than ever before with its introduction of 3D Touch, integrated into the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
What is 3D Touch?
3D Touch allows users to complete different actions based on the amount of pressure applied to the screen. Apple first introduced 3D Touch technology on the Apple Watch and new MacBook trackpads, dubbed Force Touch. Using the same principles as Force Touch, 3D Touch offers some welcome features and new interactions to a home screen iOS users have been familiar with for roughly nine years.
How does 3D Touch work?
Simply apply pressure to your new iPhone screen to perform different actions. When utilizing a 3D Touch action, you are reassured with a haptic vibration that confirms an action has initiated. When using 3D Touch on an enabled app, a mini menu with quick actions appears and the rest of the screen is blurred out, showing the 3D menu front and center, as in the picture below.
If an app is does not offer a 3D touch action, the haptic feedback will acknowledge pressure and give a slight notion of a 3D Touch action, but no action will be taken. This is most common with third party apps, though some major apps have already introduced 3D Touch features such as Instagram, Spark, Twitter and DropBox. As you would expect, Apple has updated its own apps such as Photos, Messages, Maps, and Camera to work with 3D Touch in iOS 9, the latest version of its mobile operating system.
What can I do with 3D Touch?
Let’s examine what we can do with 3D Touch within an app, such as Apple’s Mail.
- Light Press: Lightly pressing on an email will give you a focus effect and blur the background, shown in the photo on the left below.
- “Medium Press”: Pressing a little harder, or a medium press as I like to call it, will allow you to “peek” into the content of the email, best demonstrated in the middle photo below. From this view, you can swipe your finger to the left to “Delete” or “Archive” that email based on your inbox settings.
- Swiping to the right will mark the email as “Unread”. Swiping up will give you the option to “Reply”, “Reply All”, “Forward”, “Mark as Flagged or Move to Junk”, “Notify Me”, or “Move Message”. At this point, releasing the pressure will jump you back to the standard in box view.
- If you apply a little more force, or a hard press, you will open the email as we are accustomed to seeing it in Mail. See the far right photo below.
3D Touch is a welcome addition in the iPhone’s latest S series and can be useful in many circumstances like accessing the multitasking menu by applying medium pressure to the left side of the screen or turning the keyboard into a trackpad (see the picture below). As more and more third party apps build in 3D Touch features, I am sure I will break my old habits and integrate these shortcuts into how I use my device. But, like everything, practice makes perfect.
To see a full list of what you can do with 3D Touch, check out Apple’s Page here.
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