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3D Touch on the iPhone 6S: Five things you need to know

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3D Touch on the iPhone 6S: Five things you need to know

The S iterations of the iPhone are always minimal upgrades: the phone looks the same, it's just got some minor software adjustments and maybe a better camera. But the iPhone 6S has one major new feature: 3D Touch.

This has the potential to change how we use the phone. Want to know how? Read on for everything you need to know.

1 It's essentially the same as Force Touch

iphone 6s launch force touch

While Apple calls it 3D Touch, it's essentially the same as Force Touch on the Apple Watch and MacBook.

Why rechristen it? It makes it sound like a new feature, rather than something it's recycled. And it does work slightly differently too.

Instead of having two levels of pressure-sensitivity – like on the Apple Watch and MacBook – it has three.

In other words, it can differentiate between a tap, a press and a firmer press. This opens up all kinds of possibilities for apps...

2 Peek

iphone 6s 3d touch official

The first level of pressure allows you to 'peek'. This lets you preview part of an app without opening it.

For example, emails. Lightly press and hold on a message and a smaller, temporary window will appear on top of your inbox, showing you the contents of the message.

From inside this window you can read the message and view attachments, without actually opening the message. It should make for far quicker email browsing.

3 Pop

iphone 6s 3d touch trio

The next level is called Pop. If you peek at the email and decide it is something you need to reply to, just press a little harder and you'll pop right into it, as if you'd opened the email in the first place.

From here you can reply, forward it on, and do everything else as if you'd opened the email.

These peek and pop actions work throughout the OS. If someone texts you an address, you can peek it to see its location, and pop to open it in Maps.

Or peek a photo to preview it, and pop to open it in the photo editor.

Third-party apps can also use these controls. On the Instagram app, for example, you'll be able to peek to view a photo, and pop to like it.

4 Quick actions

iphone 6s force touch quick actions

But that's not all. Apple has also added quick actions. These are gesture- and button-based shortcuts that make it much quicker to achieve what you want to do.

If you've peeked at an email, for example, you can fling it into the trash by swiping left, or mark it an unread by swiping right.

In Safari, if you peek at a web link and then swipe up, you'll see buttons that let you copy the link or open it in a new tab.

Quick actions also work on the home screen. App makers can define these as they want.

For example, peeking on the camera app icon will reveal a drop-down menu with options like take selfie, record video etc. You can select them without having to open the app first.

5 Other uses

iphone 6s force touch draw

Pressure sensitivity isn't just limited to apps and navigating menus. You can also use it to draw – press harder, and the line will be thicker and darker.

Plus it'll come in handy for scrubbing through videos – press harder, and you'll go faster.

3D Touch will be available only on the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Both will go on sale on September 25th, with prices starting at £539. Pre-orders start tomorrow.

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