Apple 3D Touch

Contributor(s): Eddie Lockhart

Apple 3D Touch is a hardware-based feature Apple introduced in iPhone 6s and 6s Plus devices running iOS 9 that perceives the amount of force a user puts on the touch screen to activate different functions.

With Apple 3D Touch, users can take actions without navigating away from the original screen they were on. Swiping or pushing on the screen with more pressure allows users to preview email or other content, access specific application functions from the home screen and more. Pressing on the left side of the screen, for instance, enables multitasking view, which allows users to swipe between open apps to find the one they need.

Peek and Pop are two of the main features of Apple 3D Touch. With Peek, users swipe up from the bottom of their screen, and a menu appears with a set of app-specific functions. In the Safari browser app, for example, the menu provides options such as opening a new website tab or copying the URL. The Pop function brings up a full-screen preview of content within an app, which users can access by applying more pressure to the screen.

Quick actions with 3D Touch allow users to access specific app functions from the home screen instead of actually launching the app. Pressing deeply on an app’s icon on the home screen opens a small window with a title, icon, and -- if the developer includes it -- a description of what the quick action does. Developers can set up quick actions to bypass certain aspects of the app, so users can access the functions they use the most. For example, quick actions on a GPS app can bring up directions to the user's home. In addition, the content that quick actions provide changes depending on the user's location or what they are using their phone to do.

With Apple 3D Touch, a tap of the keyboard in writing-intensive apps such as Notes turns the keyboard into a touch pad. Pressure-sensitive drawing with 3D Touch gives users the power to create lines with different thicknesses depending on how hard they push on the screen.  

This was last updated in November 2015

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How can 3D Touch make enterprise users more productive?
I love this. It's one more way that intuitive design is taking over UX and making devices even more usable. So many people don't realize the functions that existed before this (hold down the period on an iPhone and up pop .com, .net, .org and other options) that lots of folks will get left behind on this too. But having the ability to long press for more options is a dream when it comes to an even more robust mobile device.
I would be curious what kind of resources this requires from the device. How much memory is needed? Is there any latency with the types of presses?