3D Touch

iOS 9 contains a new QuickType feature that lets you slide two fingers on the iPad’s screen to activate a trackpad-esque mode. Called “easy text selection”, this feature lets iPad users control the cursor by sliding two fingers anywhere on the screen, including over the keyboard, to select, edit, and move text.

While easy text selection appeared in the initial iOS 9 beta for the iPhone, it was thereafter removed and has remained an iPad-only feature up until now. But, as has been highlighted by a user on Reddit, the easy text selection is making an iPhone comeback, as long as you own a new iPhone 6s.

That’s because easy text selection has been rolled into the new 3D Touch suite for the iPhone 6s. Indeed, you’ll be able to use the trackpad-like features on the iPhone, but only on the new iPhones.

In this video, I show you how easy text selection works on the iPad:

The easy text selection feature works a bit different than before. To enable the feature, you’ll need to press down on the keyboard in apps such as Notes, Mail, and Messages. Once you do, you can then use a cursor to easily select and manipulate text with precision.

easy text selection 3d touch

I know that some readers will be quick to accuse Apple of removing features to convince users to upgrade to the new iPhones, but to be fair, it was never quite ideal to slide two fingers on the small screen of the iPhone. Also, remember that the beta is just that, a beta. It’s not like Apple removed a feature from the public version of iOS just to include it as an iPhone 6s exclusive feature.

To be honest, this new feature is a perfect component for 3D Touch, and allows users to easily use the trackpad mode with one hand instead of two. On the iPad, a device that outright lacks 3D Touch and features much more real estate, it makes more sense to use two fingers.

What do you think?

  • Manuel Molina

    Seems that a person who goes from jailbroken iPhone to a non-jailbreak 6S’s will have a lot to look forward to. However, until Apple gives a springtomize like custom ability, I still see jailbreaking to be useful and needed. Apple needs to get their ideas from somewhere.

    • John

      Explain to me how some that that is actually still only legal in one country in the world is NEEDED rather than something that would be nice to have.

      • Manuel Molina

        A lot of the jailbreak tweak features are on iOS 9 and the device itself. Still, having the option is cool. For me personally, activator is needed badly. Besides that, I think I could live without a JB.

  • Tommy Gumbs

    This has been a staple jailbreak tweak for years now. How can you say this isnt another thing apple purposefully made excluse to the new phone? Thats fanboy crap.

    • It’s made exclusive, but I think it’s for a decent enough reason.

      • Tommy Gumbs

        We are talking about moving a cursor.

  • Well that sucks. I really got used that feature. I was disappointed when it disappeared. Hopefully I can get it back with a jailbreak tweak soon.

    • John

      How did you get used to something that was removed almost as quickly as it arrived…no doubt you raised your concern with Apple once it was removed from the developer beta, right?

    • haerondir

      You can already use the “new” feature with the Swipe Selector tweak, which has been around for ages. 

    • So it’s going to be back for iPhone 6 Plus? I really can’t comprehend why Apple removed this from final iOS 9.0. 6 Plus has large screen ffs!

  • Phil Randle

    I used Swipe Selection for many years when I was Jailbroken, and even I can see why Apple removed the option from non force touch iPhone’s. I would quite often get accidental presses while using Swipe Selection, it wouldn’t matter how much I adjusted the settings that was just going to be what happens when you have 2 types of input methods that are very close together.

    While a jailbreak tweak can afford not to work 100% all the time, Apple cant, they need to release features that don’t hamper the user experience and for a vast majority of users that what the beta1 keyboard would have done.

    3D Touch requires you to press into the keyboard to activate the trackpad mode, accidental presses wont be possible, and that is why this suits the 6S and 6S Plus only.

    • Wilber Alexander Flores

      you’re smart 🙂

    • Rohit Gupta

      I agree with you 100%.

    • John

      *standing ovation*

      Thank you. It’s refreshing to see someone with logic and reasoning here.

    • This never happened to me with the Pro version of SwipeSelection! It has all sorts of settings to customise the tweak and it was great. This is all just anecdotal evidence but I have never had any issues with it and look forward to trying it (or a similar tweak) once an iOS 9 jailbreak is released.

    • Zzyzxd

      I hardly had this issue with SwipeSelection free version. It worked as expected in most time.

      Btw, my personal opinion: 3D Touch’s 3 dimensions of pressure is more difficult to control than distinguishing swiping and single-tap.

    • mickey

      Why not keep this as an option (Apple) that is turned off by default rather than remove it completely? Obviously 3d touch gives you another method to activate that won’t interfere with touch input but there are a ton of us that have used SS without problems for years (and 3rd party keyboards?). Text selection is the most useful part of it to me and I can’t imagine people are accidentally activating that too often unless they typed really carelessly. For cursor movement opt for only the space bar area if you run into problems.

    • So why not make it an option? That excuse is just presuming the typical iUser is too stupid to think for themselves and disable it if they don’t like it…

      • Phil Randle

        I am sorry to break it to you, but the typical iPhone User (and I don’t think id be exaggerating here) but at least 60% can barely use a smartphone, my mother is not dumb, but she doesn’t look into Technology, and she often gets caught with ‘Do not disturb mode’ switched on accidentally and not receiving phone calls. Yes, its stupid, but a quick chat to a friend of mine who works at the Genius Bar said its a common among the average smartphone user.

        Point of this being, is there is a switch for DND Mode, and the average user doesn’t know its there, the same would happen with Trackpad mode, some would find it frustrating, and they would goto social media, put up with it until they can make it into a Genius Bar and then someone informs them how to turn it off.

        Most of those users buy Apple because they want them to make those user experience decisions, if you want the anything goes Android experience then Jailbreaking will always be there for that.

      • Solution isn’t to limit the software to a point of being inferior, move those toggles by default away from quick settings, or disable quick settings by default. Then those “accidental” situations wouldn’t be there.

        I did that for my mum on a OnePlus One, she’s loving it and having no issues despite her past hatred for non-iPhone after using a Samsung S1. She’ll probably still be hating Android if I didn’t do any pre-configuration ’cause it isn’t a piece of cake to setup (neither was the iPhone for her).

        If Apple can do all those pre-configurations in the software, those who can actually think for themselves would still be satisfied. But clearly Apple is just taking great advantage of the average joe’s ignorance when it comes to technology with extremely limited devices selling at premium price.

  • Chayuth

    Sliding 2 fingers is just counterintuitive. There’re more then 1 time that I ended up sliding when typing fast enough.

    • Manuel Molina

      As a trackpad with 2 fingers? It’s nice. To move the cursor with 1? It’s better. Having both options is most desired, of course.

  • haerondir

    The fact that you need an iPhone 6s to use that feature is BS. You could already do that on all iPhones and now you magically “need” 3D Touch to make use of it, that’s just Apple trying to take your money.

    • Guy

      I agree

  • Donovan

    Make it exactly like swipeselection, but with a deep press. Then in iOS10 gimme tinybar and you’ll have one jailbreaker less. Probably not but it’d still be great.

  • singhay559

    Without the jb community apple has no innovations

  • Guy

    To be honest this is just more Apple BS. Holding back features just to sell new devices. I’m getting tired of this.

    • Don’t all companies do this though?

      • Guy

        Apple is famous for crippling old old iPads and iPhones after new hardware is released. iOS 8 work fine and iPhone crippled my iPad mini 2.

      • Other companies don’t update their old tech at all and if they do its only for a year or so. iOS 9 can still be installed on the old 4 year 4S. Please name another company that does that?