Apple’s Mail is a great place to start trying out iOS’s time-saving 3D Touch interactions on your iPhone. With 3D Touch, not only can you create a new email and jump to your inboxes right from the Home screen but manage your emails more efficiently with in-app Peek and Pop gestures.
In this tutorial, you will learn about all the ways Mail takes advantage of 3D Touch to make you more productive by letting you preview emails, contacts, web links, as well as embedded dates and times, airline codes, package tracking numbers and more.
Jump to inboxes and start new emails from Home screen
With 3D Touch, you can launch into Mail’s unified or VIP inboxes, search and fire off a new email faster than ever before, right from the Home screen. To open your unified inbox, which combines new emails from all your accounts, press Mail’s icon on the Home screen and select All Inboxes in the shortcuts menu.
Select VIP to jump straight to your VIP folder, which includes only your important email correspondences with people who are marked as your VIP contacts. It’s nice that the All Inboxes and VIP options also give you an at-a-glance overview of the number of unread messages right in the shortcuts menu.
RELATED: How to set up email VIP list
Preview emails without opening them
In the message list, press an email lightly to peek at its contents. This permits you to quickly see the email without marking it as read or navigating away from your inbox. To pop the message open, just press a little deeper while peeking at it.
While peeking at an email, you can also swipe up to reveal hidden actions: Reply, Forward, Mark Read/Unread, Notify Me and Move Message. The ability to reply to an email or forward it while peeking is another great time-saver.
If you swipe left while peeking at an email, the Trash icon is revealed on the right side. To actually delete the message, drag your finger a little further to the left until the icon turns red, and then let go.
If you swipe right, you can also mark the email as unread.
The Mark Read/Unread item opens a sub-menu with the Flag, Mark as Read/Unread and Move to Junk options. If the email is already read, you’ll see the Mark as Unread option, and vice versa. By marking emails as spam (Move to Junk) you’re helping train Mail’s spam detection algorithm.
When you choose Notify Me, Mail will send you a push notification each time someone has replied to that message. Emails that you’ve selected to be notified about have a small bell icon next to them in the message list. To stop receiving notifications for an email thread, choose Stop Notifying Me while peeking at it.
Quickly reach your contacts
With 3D Touch, you can quickly preview your contacts anywhere you see their photos in Mail. After opening an email from someone in your Contacts, press lightly their profile photo at the top to bring up all the contact info you have for them.
This is cool because it lets you reply to the sender, reach them via SMS/iMessage, launch a FaceTime call or add their details to your address book—all while previewing their email and without navigating away from the message list.
Preview web links
When viewing an email, you can press an embedded web link lightly to open a preview of that webpage. You can then slide up to Open Link in Safari, Add to Reading List, or Copy the URL to the system clipboard.
You cannot, however, preview images attached to emails with 3D Touch. To open the URL in Safari, press the link harder while peeking at it.
Preview package tracking numbers
Thanks to the magic of iOS Data Detectors, Mail can automatically detect and turn package tracking numbers into actionable links. Pressing a tracking number lightly prompts Mail to determine the appropriate shipping service based on the tracking number format, and open a preview of the corresponding tracking webpage.
To reveal hidden options, slide up while previewing the tracking number. You can then Open Link, Add to Reading List in Safari or Copy the tracking webpage’s URL to the system clipboard. Or, press harder to pop the webpage open.
Preview flight numbers
iOS Data Detectors can also identify airline codes and flight numbers in your emails. Press a flight number lightly to instantly launch a preview of the flight. Then slide up to Copy the flight number to the system clipboard, or press a tad harder to launch a full-screen preview of the flight.
Flight previews include a flight number, the departing and arriving airport and terminal, a zoomable map with projected flight trajectory, information about any delays, an estimated arrival time with to-the-minute accuracy and whether the flight is arriving on time/early, has been delayed or landed.
All that information is updated in real-time, but only for most recent flights.
You can tap the departing/arriving abbreviation to reposition the map or tap the airplane icon to center it on how far along the route the flight currently is. Flights can also be previewed in Notes and Messages.
Preview dates and times
And lastly, iOS Data Detectors will turn dates and times in your emails into actionable links. Pressing lightly a date/time hyperlink in an email will launch a Calendar preview, as show below.
You can now slide up to Create Event based on the date/time, Show in Calendar or Copy the text to the clipboard. To open the selected date/time in the stock Calendar app without having to choose another option, press a little deeper.
More on 3D Touch: 15 ways to use it
More 3D Touch tips can be seen in Jeff’s video tutorial embedded below.
Are you a heavy 3D Touch user or do you still force yourself to remember using this feature? I’m using 3D Touch on my iPhone on a regular basis though not everywhere it’s available, and it’s definitely improved my mobile workflow.
The following tutorials that cover 3D Touch might be of interest to you:
- Eleven 3D Touch shortcuts in Messages for iPhone
- Nine ways 3D Touch makes you more productive in Safari
- Six 3D Touch shortcuts in iBooks for iPhone
- Five awesome 3D Touch tips that you may not know
Why not share your own 3D Touch tips and tricks in the comments? And while we’re at it, don’t forget you can send your tutorial submissions at [email protected].