How to Work With Text Using 3D Touch on iOS

Image c/o Agustín Ruiz, Flickr

I really like 3D Touch because it makes it even easier to achieve more complex tasks with a single touch. It is also useful when you are writing text using a 3D Touch compatible iPhone or iPad, because it lets you do the following:

The Trackpad

You can use 3D Touch as a virtual trackpad. Just hard press the virtual keyboard until it kind of grays out/disappears. Keep your finger pressed down and slide it around the keyboard area and you’ll find you have a touch sensitive trackpad that lets you quickly find what you need.


Using the virtual Trackpad you can position the insertion point where you want it and press once to select the word. Keeping your finger pressed down you can slide across the screen to select more words. When you have selected the words that you want, you can access the options by removing your finger and tapping gently on the selection.

Word, Sentence, Paragraph

Positoin the insertion point where you want it to be. Now you can select the following word, sentence or paragraph as follows:

  • Select a word

Now you are in this mode you can select a word just by hovering the cursor above it and pressing a little more deeply.

  • Select a sentence

If you can master the timing, you can also select a sentence by pressing more deeply twice – so press deeply once, relax slightly, and press deeply once again.

  • Select a paragraph

To select a paragraph just press deeply three times. (Press deeply once to select the word, relax, press deeply again to select the sentence, relax and press deeply once more to select the paragraph).

**NB: If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying — this is surprisingly easy once you get the rhythm right, but a little frustrating until you do.

Feature Request: Handwriting

You can send handwritten notes in Messages. Just turn your iPhone to landscape, tap the new squiggly line icon and you can use your finger to send handwritten notes. Given we now know Apple has this capability, I’d quite like it to be extended across Mail and other Apple apps. A finger-written emailed love note is still going to be more resonant than type, right?

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

2 Responses

  1. Terry says:

    No, not for me my handwriting is lousy.

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