Guide to 3D Touch Features
Cassie Wallace
Cassie Wallace

Guide to 3D Touch Features

Cassie Wallace, Senior Product Manager

Introduced with iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, 3D Touch adds a third dimension to Multi Touch capabilities by basing actions on levels of sensitivity, or how firmly a user presses on the iPhone’s surface.

With the 3D Touch gesture comes two pre-built features (Quick Actions and Peek and Pop) that can be adopted with the use of Apple’s 3D Touch APIs, as well as the force property that gives developers access to the value of the pressure applied.

Here’s what you need to know for each:

Peek and Pop

Peek and Pop allows users to peek into an item, quickly reach important actions related to it, and seamlessly pop into the full view.


The feature consists of four interactions:

  • Hint: When a user begins to apply soft pressure to an element on their screen, a hint lets them know that 3D Touch functionality is available and narrows focus to that element.
  • Peek: The user can apply slightly more force to access a preview of the expanded version of the content the user sees currently on their screen.
  • Quick Actions: Panning up can display preview actions (for example: saving to favorites, adding to bag, or sharing.) Subactions are also available.
  • Pop: Applying firm pressure pops the user into the full view (the same as if they had tapped.)

Additionally, web developers can add tags to to enable Peek and Pop in Safari to allow users to preview link destinations.

Quick Actions

Users press the icon on their home screen to access Quick Actions, which function as a shortcut to provide direct access to key actions within your app.

Quick Actions allow users to access what they do most frequently in the app — such as searching, seeing new items, or taking a selfie.


A few things to keep in mind about Quick Actions:

  • Static/Dynamic: Actions can be static or dynamic based on context such as location or a change in the user’s settings. However, actions only update when the app is in the user’s foreground.
  • Icons: Actions can have icons (either from defaults provided by Apple or custom) that display in on the left or right of the quick actions. Icons provide value by giving users quicker recognition of key actions and adding visual interest.
  • Placement: Depending on the location of the app icon on the home screen, actions and icons display differently to ensure that the highest-value action is closest to the icon.

Pressure Sensitivity

While Apple’s pre-built features provide a standard way to make tasks easier and sometimes delightful for users, using UITouch force properties provides a way for developers to develop custom interactions. With a widened scope of possibility, developers can begin exploring new, innovative, and useful features for users.


Whether you decide to leverage Apple’s built-in features or develop your own, adding 3D Touch capabilities should be in the roadmap for every app. Most Apple apps are utilizing 3D Touch to enhance how users interact with content and with Instagram leading the way, many major apps like Facebook and Snapchat have also adopted quickly. 3D Touch has opened up powerful features that will soon become the standard and the user expectation for iOS applications.

Get started with the demo app and the Peek and Pop tutorial.