3D Touch Tips

Now that we’ve had the new iPhone 6s for about a week, it’s time to share a few more 3D Touch tips that we’ve picked up over the last few days. By now, everyone knows about the basic 3D Touch features, but there remain a few usage scenarios that continue to fly under the radar. In this post and video walkthrough, we’ll examine five different 3D Touch gestures that can help make your life easier when using your iPhone 6s. 

3D Touch Safari Tabs to preview a tab

You can quickly preview a Safari tab by opening the tab view, followed by a 3D Touch of the tab that you wish to preview. The same peek and pop paradigm that we’re all used to by now is supported. Press lightly to perform a peek to get a brief look at the tab, and press harder to perform a pop and fully open the tab.

Peek inside a message thread without triggering read receipts

If you peek inside of a message thread containing unread messages, you won’t trigger read receipts or mark the message as unread. You still may not be able to view the full breadth of the conversation without opening it fully, but it’s worth a shot.

Peek inside a message thread and swipe up to access quick replies

When you peek inside of a Messages app thread, you can swipe up to view canned responses for quick replies.

3D Touch Contact pictures for quick contact links

If you 3D Touch a contact picture inside of the Messages app, Mail app, Contacts app, etc., you can view a quick shortcut menu containing all of that contact’s info. This menu allows you to quickly initiate calls, messages, and emails. You can also tap the name of the contact to be taken directly to the contact’s general info page.

Select Text using 3D Touch

This, to me, is the best tip in the list. I can’t say that I discovered it on my own, as I found it while browsing MacRumor’s forums. It’s basically the same principal as when you use trackpad mode when the keyboard is displayed to highlight editable text, but this allows you to quickly highlight non-editibale text on a website or elsewhere.

When you tap on a word to select it, don’t let your finger off the screen. Instead 3D Touch while the word is highlighted and then slide your finger to go directly into highlighting mode. This allows you to highlight text in a single motion. It’s quicker than the old method of highlighting a word and using the blue drag handles to select the rest of the text you wish to highlight.

More to come


Of course, there will inevitably be more 3D Touch discoveries in the coming days and weeks. In fact, I already found another after I finished this post: you can peek and pop the roll up display inside the stock Weather app to preview different weather locations.

What’s your favorite 3D Touch gesture thus far? Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts.

  • Fanboy 

    i luv my 6s

  • When in an app 3d touch left side of screen and slide finger to center of screen to open multitasking menu.

    • James G

      This one is really tough and I’m not getting a good success rate. What’s your experience?

      • It definitely took a while to get the hang of. I would say I get 8 out of 10 now days. Hardest part is making sure you don’t press on anything else that activates with 3d touch because it will prioritize that over the multitasking one.

        There’s actually two different ways to use; you can press and once the screen zooms out to multitasking slowly slide to open into all apps; or you can press and quickly slide across to open the last app that was open.

      • John

        Totally agree but the latest beta of 9.1 makes it a bit easier.

      • Jamessmooth

        Agreed. It takes me a few times to activate it. I’ve said this before in other threads, but I really believe they need to implement it from the right side of the screen.

  • ttluv2004

    Safari, 3D Touch on Favorite/Bookmarked site to preview the page before open it.

  • Really appreciate the iMessage being left unread with Peek.

    • Fanboy 

      Guys should start preparing themselves to be left on “Delivered” more often now..

  • besrate hogsa

    here is a new tip
    touch the icon and watch what happens

  • Micrones

    Personally the existing 3D touch uses are a waste of time and lackluster, By properly timing some actions, 3D touch took a longer time and was a repetitive process compared to opening the app directly and this applies to a few apps and actions as well.
    For instance, the time it took me to access the contact details in messages by pressing in 3D touch was longer compared to opening the contacts directly from the messages app. 3D touch is merely adding a layer of complexity to some apps action.
    i am not saying 3D touch is a waste entirely but it is certainly not necessary for every app and some actions.
    Every action or process does not have to be 3D touched
    Maybe app developers will do a better job of using it.

    • besrate hogsa

      3D Touch

      I’m all for convenience, for faster ways of accomplishing repetitive
      tasks, but 3D Touch —the Apple Watch-like feature that responds to
      “light” and “deep” presses of the screen —sounds like work. It literally
      adds a third dimension to the OS, so instead of just tapping and
      swiping, now I have to remember which features require a light press and
      which need more force. Whoops, wrong one. Now I go back? And press
      again? Wait, which one did I do the first time? I feel like somewhere
      Steve Jobs is throwing a major tantrum over this.

      • Micrones

        We agree on that for sure.
        I am sure the excitement will wear out soon for a lot of people Mine has.
        It takes a few seconds more to perform some actions instead of diving in like i usually do.
        Some of the messages and mails peeks are so unnecessary.

      • You can also disable 3D touch. It is not mandatory to peek. You can still use the phone the old way as it doesn’t stop you from using it the way you want to.

      • Highlander

        That is not the point and an unnecessary comment. Just like saying : don’t let the door hit you on your way out…

        The point of the criticism is so that apple fixes it and makes it more convenient. The technology is there. This is nothing new, this has been on the jailbroken iphones for a long time. The reality is it was cumbersome and didn’t save time, but the fact that they are trying to save you some time is good…

        The hitting on the contact pic on the messages list and bringing that pop up is interesting and that does save time. I miss bitesms call button when you got a text.. way easier… when the jailbreak comes out i am sure a lot of improvement will come with it for really useful action on 3d touch.

      • zeman tamy

        Velox was good tweak i used to use on my iphone long time ago

      • If you’ve used 3D touch, you wouldn’t be making this comment. Everything that Apple includes is not based on you having to ‘remember’ – the tech is designed to be intuitive. Not one 6S user has found 3D touch to be a nuisance. It has turned into something very essential and enhanced means of interaction to a huge extent.
        Leave Jobs alone, its been a couple of years since his death and the iphone is still the best selling phone on the planet, every single year.

      • zeman tamy

        You use words like intuitive, essential, enhanced
        I say to you 3D touch is a piece of useless crap that we will do without
        I don’t call this streamlined, I call this unnecessary complication
        I own iPhone 6 plus and i am not a follower
        I speak my mind, THAT IS RARE THIS DAYS

      • Unnecessary? In what way? How come your comment has no info on why it is useless tech bundled in the phone? Are you aware that it can be disabled?
        You own jackshit, because thats not the reason you own an i6 plus. You own it for its features, not found on any other phone. You are another android user pretending to be an iphone user.
        If you’re gonna ‘speak your mind’ at least try to explain why its ‘useless tech’ and fools like you are unable to disable it, if not needed.

      • zeman tamy

        you’re the fool to think that way

      • Says the fool who can’t explain why 3D touch is “piece of useless crap”

    • Linton Findlay

      Not got my 6s yet, but from what I’ve seen and demoed I completely agree. A lot of the actions, especially home screen ones seem pointless, I did hope that they would be actions to complete without having to open the app, instead of opening a specific part of an app

      • zeman tamy

        I am for that

    • Jake Platt

      Its more practical on the Apple Watch because the screen size is limited so many force touch actions are necessary and open up options not available otherwise. But yes, on iPhone it only seems to open up options that would be accessible by simply opening up the app. For it to become more practical it needs to allow for the user to access deeper shortcuts or allow actions not otherwise accessible, rather than just basic actions that are the equivalent to simply just opening the app.

  • Briggamortis

    Id like to see some on/off toggles when force touching on settings and also weather info when force touching on the stock weather app

  • William Melendez

    Thanks . The preview text message without sending the “read” message is awesome !!!!! I didn’t know that.

  • jay

    I tried it for one week and went back to my iPhone 6p just works for me and 3D Touch isn’t really something I need

    • Andres

      What about the better cameras, twice as fast processor, 2 gigs of ram, and a more solid construction? Those must not be important enough to keep using the 6s

      • jay

        There are so many good things but my iPhone still works good for me. I don’t play games or big in making pictures

      • jay

        Camera ? Still makes good picture. Ram is not important because I don’t play games or so.

      • jay

        The iPhone 6s is overall a brand new phone. Everything is new but my iPhone still makes me happy

  • Andres

    You can also 3D Touch a photo in safari to peek it. And if you pop it, it’ll load up the full size image. Try it with the picture at the top of Jeff’s post.

  • swhitlow

    I think it would be great to have a tweak (once the 6s is jail broken) that calls the 3D Touch with “normal” taps vs having to invoke the “forced touch” tap. In other words, when I tap on any message, I want to “peek” I to it. I want the pop up menu to come up with safari because I normally will be searching for something. I think it would be cool to not have to wait for the 3D Touch but just to have it on with most apps no matter what. Just a future tweak suggestion for any developers who might be reading this. 😉

    • Well, if it were that easy 3D touch wouldn’t have been invented. They could’ve just issued it as a firmware update that works on the 6S only. The vibration and the depth of touch is an essential part of 3D – you can’t replicate it by just pressing on the screen as you can’t time ‘presses’ without vibration feedback.

  • Mitchell Flores

    I’m on 9.1 beta, the safari tab preview and selecting text isn’t working for me?

    Edit: nvm it takes some time to getting use to

  • DbzFan4Lyfe

    3D Touch camera inside messages to take a quick selfie or video

  • TheShade247

    3D Touch also works great on Google searches for sneek peak