3D Touch is a feature on some iPhones that changes the way your phone behaves depending upon how hard you press with your finger.
Most iPhone models starting with the iPhone 6S have 3D Touch built in. The iPhone SE and iPhone XR do not have 3D Touch and are the lone exceptions, post-iPhone 6S.
3D Touch on is inconsistently implemented. Not all iPhone apps support it, and the best way to learn how it works is to perform hard and soft presses and see what happens.
3D Touch is a relatively new addition to the iPhone , and it gives you a whole new set of gestures for interacting with icons and information on the screen.
Essentially, 3D Touch lets your iPhone respond differently depending upon how hard you press on the screen.
Which iPhone models have 3D Touch
Apple introduced 3D Touch in 2015 for most new iPhone models starting with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus . But confusingly, not all iPhones released since then have 3D Touch. Here are the models that do come with the feature:
- iPhone 6S
- iPhone 6S Plus
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone X
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
No iPhones prior to the iPhone 6S , nor the iPhone SE and iPhone XR, have 3D Touch.
What 3D Touch actually does on an iPhone, and how to use it
3D Touch makes your iPhone pressure-sensitive, so it knows how hard you are pressing on the screen. In fact, 3D Touch has three distinct levels of sensitivity, and can perform three different actions depending upon how hard you press.
A normal, light press has the same effect it always has. You use a light tap to start apps and make selections in the same way as you are used to.
A harder press is sort of like using the right mouse button on a desktop computer. It triggers an alternate action. Press harder on an app icon, and you may get a custom menu of common actions that you can trigger without starting the app.
For example, 3D Touch the Clock app and you’ll be able to create an alarm, use the stopwatch, or trigger the timer. Not all apps have 3D Touch support, so you’ll need to experiment and see which of your apps respond to a harder press.
3D Touch has a special action for previewing in the Messages and Mail apps, and this is where the hardest press comes into play. Press on a message to see a pop-up window display a preview of the message Apple calls this a “peek.” Press even harder (3D Touch’s third sensitivity level) and the preview will “pop” open to take over the full screen.