Since it was rolled out last month, Apple’s iPhone 6S and 6S Plus have been selling like pancakes, thanks in part to a number of features including 3D Touch. This feature allows users to access Quick Actions from the home screen and Peek and Pop from within a variety of stock and third-party apps.

If you’re not yet familiar on how 3D Touch works, or want to know how to make it work better for you, check out this handy guide.

Quick Actions

Quick Actions serves as a shortcut to specific features within the app, and you can only use it on an app’s icon. For example, the Pinterest app includes quick access to trending pins, the search function, and board creation. While Instagram’s Quick Action lets you create a new post, view your activity, search, or send a direct message.

To trigger Quick Action, firmly press the app’s icon. When the menu appears, drag your finger to the shortcut option you would like to use, and the app will directly open to that selected feature. It may take a little bit of getting used to, as not pressing hard enough to pop up the shortcuts and feel a bit of haptic feedback, your phone will instead register a long press that allows you to enter the familiar mode wherein you can rearrange and delete apps on the same screen.

Peek and Pop

Peek and Pop is the 3D Touch action that occurs within an app. Doing a slight press will open a hovering window that allows you to “peek” at its content. Once you press a little harder, you will “po” at the actual content that you have been previewing.

You can use Peek and Pop in several ways, depending on what the app developer wants. For example, while inside the Dropbox app, you can peek into a folder and see what documents are inside it and then pop into the folder once you’ve located the file or document you’ve been looking for. In Tweetbot, you can press on a link in a tweet to peek at the web page it links to without having to open it in full web view.

To trigger Peek and Pop, lightly press on a link, message, email, folder, or whatever you would like to peek at. Press slightly harder on the screen if you want to pop into the content. You can exit a peek by simply lifting your finger off the screen.

You can also call up additional options while in the Peek view. Swipe up to to trigger a menu with available options like copying a link or replying to a message.

Turn Your Keyboard Into a Trackpad

Apple’s 3D Touch feature also lets you transform your onscreen keyboard into a trackpad so you can use a moveable cursor in text-based apps. You can use the trackpad for more precise action instead of touching and holding a word in an email to highlight it.

To access the trackpad functionality, press down anywhere on the keyboard until the keys blur out and you feel a bit of haptic feedback. Next, move your finger around on the trackpad to move the cursor. When you’re in this mode, pressing a bit harder on the trackpad will automatically start highlighting text.


With older iPhones, users are required to double tap the home button in order to call up the multitasking feature. Now in iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, 3D Touch lets users quickly navigate to the app switcher by pressing on the left side of the screen.

If you want to call up multitasking, press on the left side where the bezel and screen meet. A medium press pulls up just the most recent app you’ve used, while a harder press activates the full multitasking feature where you can swipe through all of your recently used apps.

Pressure-Sensitive Drawing

Drawing is somewhat more natural with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus because of its ability to sense how much pressure you are applying on the screen. It lets you create thinner or thicker lines depending on how much pressure you apply. This works perfectly with the drawing feature of the new Notes app and in other drawing apps that have been updated in order to take advantage of the 3D Touch feature.

Adjust 3D Touch Sensitivity


If in case you find it challenging to make 3D Touch to work for you, there is an adjustment setting that you can set for the sensitivity to trigger actions with a lighter or harder press. It may be advisable to adjust your settings to lighter for a while, until you get the hang of how it feels.

To adjust the pressure settings for 3D Touch, open the Settings app and then tap on General. Then, select Accessibility, and then 3D Touch from the available options. Then slide the bar to the left or right to adjust the sensitivity level. A preview is available for you to test the best sensitivity settings that will suit your needs.

Changing Messages, FaceTime, and Phone Call Contacts in Quick Actions

3D Touch lets users access a shortcut menu in Quick Actions to call, text, or FaceTime with certain contacts. Apple allows you to change the contacts listed in the 3D Touch Quick Action menu just by rearranging your list of Favorites in your Contacts app.

However, with FaceTime, Quick Action automatically calls up the three most recent people you’ve contacted within the app. It won’t allow you to manually change the list of contacts unless you activate a FaceTime call with someone.

Messages uses iOS 9’s Proactive Suggestions to provide you with the three contacts you are most likely to send a message to at a given time and location. While you are likely to get a specific contact into the list that you frequently send a message to, there is no option for you to manually select a particular person to be always listed in the Quick Actions menu.

Disabling 3D Touch

If you simply find 3D Touch to be frustrating, you can completely turn the feature off so you don’t have to worry about how hard you are supposed to press on the screen. To do this, open the Settings app, then tap on General. Now select Accessibility, and then 3D Touch from the available options. Toggle the 3D Touch switch to the off position to disable it.

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Saturday, November 21, 2015 at 6:41:02 AM and is filed under Tech Tips & Tricks.

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