How to use long presses for ultimate productivity on iPhone and iPad

Long press Notes on iPhone

If you’re an iPhone or iPad owner, then it’s likely you know about the Long Press feature, also known as 3D touch or Press and Hold. This handy way of taking care of quick actions requires you to just touch and hold an app icon on your screen to pull up a list of actions you can perform.

The thing is, many people just don’t take advantage of this extremely useful feature. Maybe you’re a new iOS user and aren’t familiar with all it can do or maybe you simply forget it exists. Either way, you can take care of some tasks pretty quickly with a long press because it eliminates the need to open and navigate the app to do what you want.

So, if you’re ready to see how long presses can increase your productivity and save you time, let’s go!

Long press options for apps

Most apps offer some sort of shortcut with a long press. Some third-party apps may just give you a way to share or delete the app while others let you do more. And since the options with third-party apps vary, we’ll concentrate on Apple’s apps here.

Apple provides a long list of apps for its iPhone and iPad users. You can email, text, take notes, check your calendar, make phone calls, and the list goes on. And these are exactly the types of apps that deserve some shortcuts.

Here are the Apple apps you can use and the handiest long press actions you can take with them that you might not know about. They are in alphabetical order to make it easier for you to jump to one if needed.

App Store: Search, Redeem, Updates, Purchased. The Search option is ideal for jumping right to the search feature in the store and the Updates shortcut lets you see your full list of app updates much easier.

Apple Store: Shop [product], Orders, Find a Store. You can Shop specifically for a product like iPhone or Apple Watch and check the statuses of your recent Orders quickly.

Books: Search Book Store and book titles. A direct Search for a new novel comes in handy, but you can also pick up right where you left off in a recent book by tapping a title in the list.

App Store Apple Store Books - Long Press Shortcuts

Calendar: Add an Event quickly and easily with this Calendar long press shortcut.

Camera: Record Slo-mo, Take Photo, Record Video, Take Selfie. Each of these camera shortcuts let you capture a photo or video faster than opening the camera app and picking the action from there.

Clock: Create Alarm, Start Stopwatch. Like the Camera long press actions, the Clock lets you create an Alarm or start the Stopwatch quickly.

Calendar Camera Clock - Long Press Shortcuts

Contacts: Show My Info, Create New Contact. There’s no need to open the Contacts app to find your own card to share or to create a new contact; these shortcuts take you right where you need to be.

FaceTime: Favorites lets you FaceTime a contact with a tap. Plus, you can select Add Widget to add these FaceTime favorites to your Today Screen.

Files: Quickly open a recent file or add the widget to your Today Screen.

Contacts FaceTime Files - Long Press Shortcuts

Health: Summary, All Health Data, Browse, Medical ID.  These shortcuts give you easy ways to check your health information without opening Health and navigating.

Home: Create a New Scene for your smart home devices with a tap.

Keynote: New Presentation, Go to Keynote Remote. While tapping New Presentation is a convenient way to start a new slideshow, the Go to Keynote Remote action is the highlight of these shortcuts. Simply access the remote to control your presentation with a long press.

Health Home Keynote - Long Press Shortcuts

Mail: All Inboxes, VIP, Search, New Message. Create a new email or see what came in from your VIPs. You can also tap a contact to compose a message to them quickly or add the widget to your Today View.

Maps: Mark My Location, Send My Location, Search Nearby. Even though the Maps app is easy to use, these helpful shortcuts can shave some time off what you need to do.

Measure: Open the app right up to either the Measure or Level action for a helpful and fast tool.

Mail Maps Measure - Long Press Shortcuts

Messages: Create a new text message or open one of your recent conversations.

Music: Search or tap to play one of your playlists. The Music app long press also offers the Add Widget option for your Today View.

News: Check out what’s new in the news for Today or pick one of your favorite channels or topics.

Messages Music News - Long Press Shortcuts

Notes: New Note, New Checklist, New Photo, Scan Document. Each of these actions is convenient depending on what you need at the moment. So, keep these shortcuts in mind for Notes.

Numbers: Create a New Spreadsheet easily with the Numbers long press action.

Pages: Create a New Document with a Pages long press action.

Notes Numbers Pages - Long Press Shortcuts

Phone: View Most Recent Voicemail, Create New Contact, Search for Contact, View Most Recent Call. Along with these handy actions, you can tap to call one of your favorites and add the widget to Today View.

Photos: Most Recent, Favorites, One Year Ago, Search. Check out recent photo albums, search for a particular picture, or go back in time with a long press action for the Photos app.

Podcasts: Check for New Episodes or pick up right where you left off with one of your favorite podcasts.

Phone Photos Podcasts - Long Press Shortcuts

Reminders: Add a new reminder to one of your lists which are displayed nice and neat in the long press shortcut.

Safari: New Tab, New Private Tab, Show Bookmarks, Show Reading List. These are great shortcuts because they’re the most common actions for Safari.

Settings: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Cellular Data, Battery. If you need to enable or disable Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, using a long press shortcut is the easiest way to get to those settings. And the Battery option gets you to the Low Power Mode switch in a hurry when you need it.

Reminders Safari Settings - Long Press Shortcuts

Shortcuts: Create Shortcut, Gallery. You’ll see a few of your shortcuts that you can run with a tap. Or, simply create a new one or browse the Gallery.

TV: Check out shows you’ve recently added in the TV app.

Voice Memos: Listen to a recent recording or create a New Recording easily.

Shortcuts TV Voice Memos - Long Press Shortcuts

Wallet: Open a card from your wallet or check on your Last Transaction with one of these Wallet actions.

Watch: Pair a new Apple Watch with a tap-and-hold gesture.

Weather: Get your current conditions, pick another spot you have set up, or add a location to check the weather.

Wallet Watch Weather - Long Press Shortcuts

A couple of default Apple app are missing from this list, like Compass and Find My. These apps don’t currently offer any long press shortcut actions.

Wrapping it up

Obviously, some of the long press shortcuts you see here will be more useful than others. So, if you do things like creating calendar events or composing emails often, keep the long press gesture in mind. Or, if you want fast access to a playlist or your app updates, remember that you can get there fast.

Which of these long press shortcuts are a surprise to you? Which ones do you think you’ll use most? Do you already take advantage of these shortcuts? Share your thoughts with us below or on Twitter!