Back in my early Mac days, when I was hungrily learning my way around the OS, I remember the little joys of exploring all the tricks and time-savers that holding the Option key would unlock. These hidden perks usually weren’t documented anywhere; you had to just click around while holding the Option key or find a blog post round up like the ones I used to write.
3D Touch on an iPhone 6S or later is the new Option key.
Like the perks of the Option key on macOS, the handy and time-saving gestures of 3D Touch are hidden, yet pretty easy to discover if you just take a second. I find them all over the place, from Airmail‘s icon, to notes in Evernote, to individual days in Timepage.
My favorite is using it on Apple’s stock keyboard—it allows you to drag the cursor around and place it right where you want. On iPad, place two finders on the keyboard to get the same effect. This also works on the emoji keyboard.
Just like switching to use Option more often in my Mac workflow, it simply took a little time for me to get natural with 3D Touch. Now, I’m not saying it’s for every situation or feature. In Airmail, I can swipe left to trash and right to archive—using a 3D Touch, swiping up a little, then tapping archive or trash from the options that appear below, doesn’t stack up very well.
But a 3D Touch on a day in Timepage has a ‘Clear My Schedule’ option for that day. When selecting multiple items in Photos, or picking a photo in many in-app photo pickers, I can 3D Touch one to preview it instead of killing the current action. I’ve even come to prefer 3D Touching links in Safari and Tweetbot, as it feels faster than waiting for the in-app browser to slide in and load the page. Plus, getting out of the page is a simple lift of the thumb, which also feels faster than moving to tap Done.
It was fun exploring where Apple and developers hid all sorts of Option key perks. Feels like that little torch has been passed on to iOS with 3D Touch. I like it.