In my in-depth iPhone 6s review, I made the bold claim that this year’s iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus represent Apple’s biggest ever upgrade compared to the models they replace. This is a curious claim on the surface, considering “S” upgrades are typically somewhat iterative iPhone updates that offer general performance enhancements along with one new flagship feature. In 2015, however, we’re not just talking about your typical performance enhancements — the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are the most powerful smartphones the world has ever seen by a huge margin, and the difference in performance compared to last year’s iPhones is huge. In fact, after more than a month with the new iPhone 6s, the insanely fast speed continues to surprise me.
Past examples of the aforementioned flagship feature include Siri and Touch ID, and this year 3D Touch is the star of the show. But iPhone users, I think we all need to just stop what we’re doing for a moment and chat about 3D Touch…
Thursday is my first day back at work after a nice, long, much-needed vacation, during which I did a fair amount of traveling. I was at an airport a total of six times, I made my way through five different U.S. states, and I came across plenty of people in the process. Following the launch of Apple’s new iPhones this past September, a good amount of those people were obviously iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus users.
As I observed them in passing, I noticed two interesting things.
First, I was surprised at how many people I saw using 3D Touch gestures. I wasn’t going out of my way to watch people use their phones, obvious, but I just happened to notice plenty of occasions where people were using 3D Touch. From passengers waiting outside a gate at the airport to people showing off Live Photos on a cliff side in the Smoky Mountains, iPhone 6s users were using 3D Touch.
This really surprised me. I think 3D Touch is a great feature that marks the first meaningful change in smartphone input since the capacitive touchscreen, so I’m glad to see so many people taking advantage of the functionality. I don’t think Apple has done a good job at all in communicating how and where 3D Touch works though, which is why I was so surprised to see it being used so widely.
But that lack of communication leads me to the second interesting thing I noticed: People seem to believe they have to summon the strength of 1,000 weight lifters in order to use 3D Touch.
Perhaps Apple foresaw this issue and it played a role in the company’s decision to rename “Force Touch” to “3D Touch.” Well if that’s the case, it didn’t work. People still seem to think they need to use a huge amount of pressure in order to trigger things like Peeks and Pops. I seriously thought I was going to see some users push their fingers straight through their iPhone screens.
So first, a public service announcement — 3D Touch does not need that much force to recognize a firm press. And beyond that, it’s time to make sure that people’s phones (and fingers) are safe from this misconception, which is apparently widespread.
When you get a new iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, here’s the first thing you should do after you set it up: Go into Settings > General > Accessibility and scroll down to 3D Touch. Open the 3D Touch menu and find the slider under “3D Touch Sensitivity,” then slide it all the way to “Light.” Then, underneath that slider, you’ll find a box where you can text how much pressure is needed to trigger things like Peeks and Pops. As you’ll soon find, it’s really not that much extra pressure.