Understanding Pressure-Sensitive Touch on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

The arrival of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus introduced iPhone owners to new pressure-sensitive technology known as 3D Touch, essentially your phone recognizing force. Put another way, the amount of pressure you apply when touching the display changes the outcome of what happens on the screen.

For example, if you press against an email in your Mail inbox, you can peek at the message. Press harder and in Apple parlance you have been popped into the content itself (in this instance, you’d be able to do all the things that you’d do with a Mail message). Thus Apple coined the phrase peek and pop.

On the Home screen, you can use 3D Touch to employ shortcuts, including taking a selfie, marking a location in Maps, and searching for what’s nearby. Apple calls these shortcuts quick actions.

Also, you can use 3D Touch also in apps such as Mail or Notes to transform your onscreen keyboard into a trackpad.

This force-touch technology is baked into iOS 9 on the 6s and 6 Plus, so you’ll find yourself using it in many ways. And though there’s a bit of learning curve before you get the hang of it, you’ll get comfortable soon enough. Apple tries to help by giving you tactile feedback along the way.