Apple's 3D Touch feature seemed like a gimmick at first, but then slowly wormed its way into the hearts of iOS users. Some of us can't live without it on our iPhones.
Eye on Apple
By Jim Lynch, CIO
When Apple first announced 3D Touch I remember think that, while it looked cool, it also came across as a possible gimmick. After all, who really needed to push down on their phone’s screen to access app features and shortcuts? Well it turns out that quite a lot of people needed it but didn’t know it at the time.
I ran across an interesting thread in the MacRumors forum where iOS users shared their thoughts about 3D Touch and how they used it. I’ll share my thoughts below, but here’s a sample of some of what was said in the thread:
Hieveryone: ”I just wanted to take a minute to tout how necessary 3d touch is. I use every time I go to safari and opera browser. It makes things faster. I didn’t realize how imperative it was until today. I got a Samsung phone via their test drive program. And while the phone is premium and really good, not having 3D Touch makes it feel out dated.”
Applefan4: ”I use it for: Opening app manager (better and quicker than double tapping the home button once you get used to it). Moving cursor around by 3D touching the keyboard (amazing feature). Previewing messages in what’s app so it doesn’t appear as ‘read’”
Nordique: ”I thought it was a gimmick myself, from the moment it was rumoured on the then-nameless “9th gen iPhone.”
At launch I barely used it, and I still thought it was a gimmicky feature. I bought the 6s for the internal spec upgrades, namely the A9 and the 2GB of Ram…3D touch was still gimmicky to me then.
Today, I too feel similar to the OP at times…I now use it frequently and its my main method of switching apps. I don’t remember the last time I clicked the home button twice, sometimes I don’t even press the home button at all (just touch it for touch ID)…its pretty incredible how that change occurred.
When I go to my 6P or 5s, I often find myself wishing I could use 3D touch and sometimes find myself pressing into those screens by way of habit. That was the moment I realized I had converted to 3D touch use without even realizing it!
Its definitely a really cool feature.
Edit: Its surprisingly natural and simple to go into the multitask switcher; when multitasking between several apps I find its a lot faster to multitask with than pressing the home button twice. For example, 3D touch between Microsoft Word and Excel when doing work on the go and use the 3D touch to activate the cursor on the keyboard…it makes using a phone so much easier than before to do work. I feel productive when commuting on public transit now haha
Hopefully Apple really expands on this feature set with the next iPhone and the next iOS.”
Hek: ”I forget how much I use it till I go to my iPad Air 2 and it’s not there.”
Redheeler: ”I still use it all the time. Quick Look for Safari links and Mail messages, entering the app switcher, moving the cursor when typing text. It’s a great feature.”
GlenK: ”Love it and use it all the time. Love the email peek then slide the email to the trash right from the peek screen.”
TWD98j: ”Yes 3D Touch has been a game changer for me too. I use it mainly for…
– Shortcuts when opening apps
– Previewing messages and URLs
– Switching between apps
As of yet, I’m not sure whether 3D Touch is as much of a game changer as Touch ID was when it debuted on the 5S. But still, I do feel like I have been spoiled by it. For example, I have a regular 6 for my work phone and at least once per day I find myself pressing on the screen and then I suddenly remember that it doesn’t have 3D Touch. Actually 3D Touch is the reason I would not buy an iPad right now simply because Apple hasn’t brought 3D Touch to the iPad lineup yet and I don’t want to go back to an iOS device that doesn’t have 3D Touch just like I wouldn’t want to go back from Touch ID to passwords either.”
Rambo47: ”I also thought the fingerprint reader was a gimmick too, but now I can hardly imagine not unlocking my phone with anything but a single press of the home button. 3D Touch is turning out to be the same kind of thing. It’s just so convenient and streamlines using the phone in a ton of little ways. They add up to a smoother and more efficient way of doing things.”
Qbnkelt: ”I’d been relying on it more than I thought. On Monday I was able to finally dump my HORRIBLE work issued SGS5 and got my new work issued iPhone 6. Which of course hasn’t got 3D Touch.
I was SO LOST! I kept wanting to use it to peek at my messages or to correct a typo.
As with my experience with Apple products, the new features become so second nature so quickly that I find it difficult to go back without them.”
TheScribe: ”I have found one standout feature of 3D Touch over the last couple of weeks: voice recording. I recorded quite a few memos and the process is simple and almost immediate…quick unlock with Touch ID, slide up to and 3D Touch the voice memo app and then slide your fingertip to “new recording”. Boom! A top notch voice recorder.”
The first post in the thread pretty much echoes my own thoughts. I have been going back and forth between my old iPhone 6 Plus and my new iPhone 6s. The larger screen of the iPhone 6 Plus is fantastic, but I found myself eventually missing 3D Touch. Initially I thought 3D Touch wouldn’t matter to me but it turns out that it does matter.
I think 3D Touch is a “sleeper feature” in the sense that initially it seems like something that a user might not really care about, until he or she gets used to using it. Then when the user tries to use a phone without 3D Touch, he or she suddenly realizes that they miss the convenience of pressing on an app icon to access certain features or using 3D Touch as a trackpad to edit text. Or even using 3D Touch to press the bottom left part of the iPhone 6s screen to access multitasking instead of pressing the home button twice.
None of these 3D Touch features might seem critical to someone who hasn’t been using them in iOS, but they do make using an iPhone faster and easier. And it’s really the lack of that convenience you notice when you try to go back to an iPhone that doesn’t have 3D Touch built into it. Using older iPhones feels rather primitive compared to using 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s.
Tips on how to use 3D Touch on your iPhone 6s or 6s Plus
How to adjust 3D Touch settings
How to take a selfie How to enter the multitasking screen How to peek at Mail messages How to peek at an image in Photos How to activate a Live Photo wallpaper on your lock screen How peek at a video in a message How peek at a pin in Maps How peek at songs in albums in the Music app How to turn your iPhone’s keyboard into a trackpad
Once you get used to using 3D Touch on your iPhone, you might find it very hard indeed to live without it!
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