iPhone 6s/6s Plus: How to Use 3D Touch

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OK, so you have your lovely new iPhone 6s or 6s Plus in your hot little hands. You’ve been pressing on the screen like there’s no tomorrow, trying to figure out all of the interesting things you can do with 3D Touch. That’s not just me, right? 

In any case, 3D Touch allows us three new features—Peek, Pop, and Quick Actions. In addition to sounding like stuff that happened that year that you went to summer camp, these abilities do different things when you press with varying levels of force on your screen. In general, a Peek is a lighter press to preview something, like an email in your inbox or a website link; a deeper press on something you’ve previewed will Pop you into the full version of the item in question. 

My favorite usage for Peek is in Mail—if you press on an email, you’ll get a fast preview of its contents.

3D Touch: peek

While your finger is still on the screen, swipe left to delete or right to mark the message as read/unread.

3D Touch: Peek with gestures

3D Touch: Peek with gestures

You can also swipe up to get more options for what to do with the message.

You can reply, forward, and delete email with 3D Touch's Peek

If you then decide that you’d like to check out the entire email rather than its preview, just press a bit harder on the screen, and that’ll Pop into it.

So that’s my favorite new thing to do with the Peek/Pop functionality. Quick Actions, on the other hand, often involve app icons. For example, you can press with a little bit of force on the Phone app and get a convenient way to call your favorite folks. One of the coolest uses, though, involves pressing on the Maps app.

3D Touch: Pop with Maps

As you can see, doing so will bring up a quick menu, with choices such as routing yourself home, sending your location to someone else, or marking where you are (in case you need to remember where you parked, say).

Another one of my favorite things to do with Quick Actions is with the Safari app icon.

3D Touch: Pop with Mobile Safari

My favorite feature there—New Private Tab—saves quite a few steps from the way we’d do that previously, but it also will let you open your bookmarks or your Reading List quick as a wink, too. 

Oh, and one more thing. If you wanna adjust the sensitivity of 3D Touch, just open Settings> General> Accessibility> 3D Touch on your iPhone. There’s a pretty little image in there for you to practice the different options on, so you can get Peek and Pop to work exactly like you want ’em to.

3D Touch sensitivity settings

If you want to try out some 3D Touch-ready apps but aren't sure where to start, Bryan Chaffin put together a great list.

Peek. Pop. I’m still not sure if Apple’s new features sound more like Smurf names or something way more offensive than that. I guess they’ve left that particular decision up to us.

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Actually Push, Pop and Peek are very well understood operations for any data that is stored in a stack.

So I’m sure these terms are very familiar to the Apple engineers (and anyone who has taken computer science 101.) Once you grok the stack you can wield it’s power to get effect. You’ll even understand how those RPN calculators work!


Of course BBCode did not like the parentheses the “stack” link. Try this http://tinyurl.com/74pwxac



I hadn’t even thought about the ability to adjust the sensitivity on 3D Touch. Nice!

Although it is still taking some getting used to (it’s been 5 days already), the main challenge is attempting it with non-enabled apps.

And while all the kids in my summer camps were all perfectly well-behaved, to a person, not uttering so much as a naughty word, I appreciate and was going to make a similar comment to that of ctopher. Those names are also mildly reminiscent of the names of three breakfast cereal characters.

Melissa Holt

Hey, thanks, ctopher! That’s interesting info! I appreciate you mentioning that.

wab95, the first thing I did when I started using 3D Touch was change the sensitivity to “Light” (as you can see from my screenshot above). I’m still getting used to the setting too—I keep accidentally triggering it—but I find the “Light"option nicer to use than the default, even so.


What I should have added then was that I appreciate this article. I’ve never seen a 6s so while the commercials give me an idea how it works, your article gives me a better feel for the depth of the feature. Thanks!

Melissa Holt

Aw, thank YOU for reading! grin

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