3D Touch Can Be a Big Time Saver, Here’s How to Get Started

3 minute read
| Quick Tip

3D Touch is one of those invisible new benefits in recent iPhones. If you don’t know about it, chances are you might never come across it. But if you give 3D Touch a try, even make it a habit, it can enhance lots of tiny little interactions, adding up to one big benefit.

If you aren’t sure where to start with 3D Touch, though, there are plenty of Apple and third-party apps that make good use of it. Give these a try.

Apple’s Keyboard

I use 3D Touch on Apple’s keyboard probably dozens of times a day, if not more. The first time you 3D Touch anywhere on the keyboard, you can start dragging the cursor around to place it in a specific spot. It’s a great way to get exact placement without fidgeting with your finger.

But, if you don’t lift your finger after that first 3D Touch and do it again, you’ll select the adjacent full word. 3D Touch one more time without lifting, and you’ll select the entire sentence surrounding the cursor. These extra actions take a little practice, but they’re darn handy once you get them down.

Notification Center

Force-press on top (x) in Notification Center to clear all Notifications, not just for one day or one app.

Clear All Notifications with 3D Touch

Clear All Notifications with 3D Touch

Safari

3D Touch Safari on your homescreen for a quick way to create a new regular or private tab.

Music

Apple Music supports a variety of 3D Touch features, but my favorite is the popup menu you get on any song while browsing music. You can:

  • add the song to a playlist
  • start a station
  • add it to Up Next in your queue
  • “Love” the song to trigger Apple Music recommendation magic
3D Touch options in Music

3D Touch options in Music

Tweetbot

Tweetbot makes great use of 3D Touch. Use it on a tweet to glance at replies and take a few actions, use it on someone’s icon to glance at their profile, and on a photo in your timeline. The homescreen icon has a couple key shortcuts, too, like tweeting the last photo you shot and opening straight to your stats.

Slack

If you use Slack to its fullest in at least one team, 3D Touch the homescreen icon for a few killer shortcuts:

  • Open the messages & files search for your current team
  • Open the channels & DMs picker
  • Switch back to the last team you used
3D Touch Options in Slack

3D Touch Options in Slack

Day One

The homescreen icon has a few handy shortcuts, as well as a widget that displays “on this day” photos from your camera roll that you can tap to create an entry.

Messages

The icon has quick shortcuts for messaging some of your recent contacts. But if you 3D Touch on a conversation in messages, you’ll get shortcuts for starting FaceTime calls, email, and a good ol’ fashioned phone call.

Airmail

The app icon has shortcuts, my favorite which takes you straight to an Attachments view across all your messages.

Waze

Quickly create directions to home or work right from the app icon.

Lyft

Ditto.

FXNOW

3D Touch the app icon to play a random Simpsons episode if you’re a subscriber, or clips if you aren’t. You heard me.

3D Touch options with FXNOW

App Switcher

3D Touch on the left side of the screen to activate the App Switcher. This one might be tricky to master. But since it can be used anywhere along the left side, it’s handy if you own a Plus model or you’re prone to changing your grip on your iPhone.

Give Peek & Pop a whirl

Lots of apps have adopted this feature as a quick way to preview and take action on content. Try it on emails in Mail, articles in Apple News and Newsify, notes in Evernote, and links in just about any app.

Fantastical 2

Use 3D Touch on a day in the calendar to quickly start creating an event for that day. Use it on an event in the list to preview it’s details and take a handful of actions.

A good start for now

This list could go on for miles, but I’m sure you get the idea. Make a point to give 3D Touch a try in a couple places, and it can quickly catch on as a new habit. Just like when we all raced to hold the Option and Command keys while clicking around in OS X macOS to see what happened, 3D Touch has plenty of surprise, time-saving perks waiting around iOS for you.

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